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Hadfield on Today


The Today programme’s interview with Jen Hadfield is here, along with all the recordings they’ve done of the other shortlisted writers. Worth a listen. She sounds a touch tired. Good on her!

Seeing the shortlist again just emphasises how stunning a success this is for her. Not just for her, but for the younger poetry generation(s). Somehow having the faces there gives it all the more impact. There’s almost something of a Dr Who moment to it, not only because Jen Hadfield is the youngest TS Eliot prizewinner ever, but because of how young she looks next to everyone else. (She’s only three or so years younger than me, but somehow it feels like she younger still.)

There’s certainly a sense of excitement around the UK poetry world — or at least the corners I frequent, virtual and otherwise — about this award. A sense of something genuinely fresh happening. Todd Swift says it’s the next best thing to an Obama moment, which feels accurate, overblown and very slightly churlish all in one to me.

Here are some links to other bloggers’ perspectives: Katy Evans-Bush, Rob Mackenzie, Matt Merritt (I’ll add to this if and as I spot any more).

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Leon Basin permalink
    14/01/2009 11:10

    Hey, what is up fellow writer! How are you doing?

  2. Rachel Fox permalink
    14/01/2009 20:11

    Handy link, ta. Like a lot of poets JH sounds quite uncomfortable being interviewed – she came over very well though, all the same. She sounded very gentle.

    I had read a review of the mass TS reading that made me want to listen to Maxwell so it was handy to find him on there too. I liked the bit about ‘I haven’t got a brother’. As has been said to me….’but how would it read on the page though’..? Well enough for the judges I suppose.

  3. Rob permalink
    16/01/2009 08:47

    I thought Jen did well on ‘Today’- great reading and a very articulate interview. It must have been hard to do. I’d guess that winning the TS Eliot Prize and suddenly being thrown into the media spotlight, when you’re not used to that at all, must carry a deal deal of pressure. But, if she was nervous, I didn’t notice.

  4. Rachel Fox permalink
    16/01/2009 12:38

    I agree – she didn’t sound nervous at all. When I said ‘uncomfortable’ I was talking more about a feeling I have noticed when listening to other poets being interviewed too (although it’s a feeling you can still hear it I think…tone of voice, hesitation…all those things). It’s like the questions and the medium are somehow just not up to the task in hand…though they may try their best. Five minutes on a radio show and a lot to squeeze in!

    All writers get asked a lot of the same questions (about inspiration and so on) but often for a lot of poets, I think, it is even harder to talk about these things in snippets that can fit into, a show like this. She did brilliantly – all these things (and a late night) considered. I really enjoyed listening to the whole piece and once again well done to her!

  5. Andrew Philip permalink
    16/01/2009 14:05

    Yes, she came across well. But I thought she sounded slightly like somebody who could have done with several more hours of sleep before going into the studio. Can’t imagine why …

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