Today's letter from the Editor
Today's Matrices
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

2nd Line server support - Microsoft certified

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large organisa...

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teacher required with Early Years...

Welsh LSA vacancy - Cardiff, immediate start!

£55 - £65 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The J...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

Page 3 Profile: Alice Oswald, poet

A poet?! You have 10 seconds before I switch off… 10, 9 –

Wait! Give Alice Oswald a chance. This very smart woman deserves a moment of your time, and there’s even a bit of juice to this particular story.

OK, you have my attention.

She’s the first poet to win the £25,000 Warwick Prize for Writing for her work Memorial, which was awarded, unsurprisingly, by the University of Warwick. As well as the money, Oswald will be able to take up a short placement at the institution, although this Oxford University Classics graduate isn’t exactly in dire need of any more education. 

Classics you say?

Yup – and it heavily informed her winning text, which is a reworking of Homer’s Iliad. The original epic poem (which basically means a really long narrative about a nation’s heroes) tells the story of the Trojan War.

Why bother reworking it? Sounds a bit lazy to me…

Far from it. Professor Ian Sansom, who was the chair of the competition’s judges and therefore probably knows what he’s talking about, said: “My fellow judges and I were thrilled by its imaginative and intellectual ambition.”

You might remember Seamus Heaney translated Beowulf, another famous epic poem, and won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 1996. So it seems that re-jigging is a winning formula when it comes to poetry.

OK, enough poetry talk. Got any gossip? 

Well, despite being a gardener and living on a sleepy estate in Devon, Oswald isn’t afraid to prod the literary establishment. In 2011, Memorial was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize, the World Cup of poetry, but Oswald withdrew the book. She was protesting against the sponsorship of the Poetry Book Society, which runs the award, by an investment bank after the organisation lost its Arts Council Funding. She said: “I think poetry should be questioning, not endorsing such institutions.”

Well, I suppose she does seem noble in a bookish way…

Yes, and humble too. When her win was announced, she said: “I’m very surprised and grateful, both to the judges and to Homer.”

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?