Black poet lands the prize of a lifetime

Roger Robinson wins £25,000 TS Eliot award

TALENT: Roger Robinson

A BRITISH-Trinidadian dub poet has won “the prize most poets want to win.” Roger Robinson has been awarded the coveted TS Eliot prize for his collection A Portable Paradise.

The only poetry award judged solely by established poets, the £25,000 TS Eliot prize has been described by the former poet laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, as “the prize most poets want to win.”

One of the judges said of Robinson’s work in The Guardian: “It came down to how moving the personal poems were and how relatable and accessible his poetry about his family was, alongside the more political parts about black history, Grenfell and the NHS.

“There is a wonderful balance of the public and the personal in this collection. It is passionate and sociologically engaged, without being rigorous about it – there was a strong sense of humanity to the book.

“Poets have always written about injustices like racism and misogyny because poetry is a great medium for that as it engages all of our faculties, our abilities as humans, our empathies. When people are overtaken about rationality, they forget humanity and pity. Poetry reminds us of those traits again.”

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