Sharon Olds Wins TS Eliot Poetry Prize For Stag's Leap

End Of A Marriage Leads To Top Poetry Prize

A collection of poems about the end of a marriage has won this year's TS Eliot Prize.

Sharon Olds, 70, penned Stag's Leap after her husband left her following 30 years together.

The marriage ended when she was 55, but Olds told her children she would not publish anything about the divorce for at least 10 years.

Sharon Old's collection was described as a "tremendous book of grace" by Carol Ann Duffy

The poems, which describe everything from the moment she hears her marriage is over to later running into her ex-husband with his new partner, were inspired by the name of the once-couple's favourite wine.

San Francisco-born Olds has previously said that the publication of the collection, 15 years after the divorce, finally allowed her to move on.

"Something did shift. Definitely, yes - there was a sense of completion," she recently told The Observer.

The book was chosen from a record 131 submissions for this year's £15,000 prize.

Poet and playwright Carol Ann Duffy, who chaired the judging panel, said: "From over 130 collections, we were particularly impressed by the strong presence of women on the list and were unanimous in awarding the 2012 TS Eliot Prize to Sharon Olds' Stag's Leap, a tremendous book of grace and gallantry which crowns the career of a world-class poet."

Olds is the first female US poet to win the prize, now celebrating its 20th anniversary and launched to honour the Poetry Book Society's founding poet.

Her previous collection, One Secret Thing, explored themes of war, family relationships and the death of her mother - and was also shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.

The prize is awarded to the best new collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland each year.


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