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Jen Hadfield wins TS Eliot poetry prize


Congratulations to Jen Hadfield, the Scottish poet who has just won the TS Eliot Prize for poetry. I had the pleasure of meeting Jen Hadfield in 2006 when she came to the AbeBooks HQ in Victoria. She was charming, youthful and extremely sparky. She spent 15 months in Canada – writing, travelling and performing her own work before heading back to Shetland where he now lives. She also took part in the UK leg of the AbeBooks-sponsored Random Acts of Poetry event in 2006.

Hadfield won for Nigh-No-Place, her second book of poetry written in Shetland and also while travelling across Canada. It includes poems such as Paternoster, which is the Lord’s Prayer as spoken by a draught horse and Ten-Minute Break Haiku, Hadfield’s response to working in a fish factory.

I’m not sure working in a fish factory would inspire me to write poetry. My friend and Victoria-based poet, Wendy Morton, tells me this is her favourite Jen Hadfield poem…..

Melodeon on the Road Home

I love your slut dog,
as silent with his three print spots
as a musical primer.
He sags like a melodeon
across my spread knees.
When I did my fingers
into the butterfly hollows
in his chest, he pushes my breasts
apart with stiff legs.
Isn’t it good to be hearing your dog’s tune
on the broad curve out of town,
a poem starting,
pattering the breathless little keys.
To see more than me, I flick
the headlamps to high beam
and it’s as if I pulled an organ stop–
black light wobbling
in the wrinkles of the road,
high angelus of tree.

Check out her work on the BBC.

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Richard Davies

One Response to “Jen Hadfield wins TS Eliot poetry prize”

  1. Beth Carswell

    Re: “I’m not sure working in a fish factory would inspire me to write poetry.”

    I agree, but I imagine taking a break while working in a fish factory would be fairly magical.

    Also, thanks to Jen Hadfield for making me go look up what a melodeon was – what a beautiful instrument!

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