Last night, Joelle Taylor won the TS Eliot poetry prize for C+nto & Othered Poems, praised by judges as “a blazing book of rage and light”. The news was announced by the T.S. Eliot Foundation and Chair of the Judges Glynn Maxwell described “Joelle Taylor’s C+nto and Othered Poems (as) a grand opera of liberation from the shadows of indifference and oppression... Joelle originates in performance... this collection proves that at the top level, there’s very little difference between that, and what’s on the page.” C+nto enters the private lives of women from the butch counterculture, telling the inside story of the protests they led in the ‘90s to reclaim their bodies as their own – their difficult balance between survival and self-expression. History, magic, rebellion, party and sermon vibrate through Joelle Taylor’s cantos to uncover these underground communities forged by women. Part-memoir and part-conjecture, Taylor explores sexuality and gender in poetry that is lyrical, expansive, imagistic, epic and intimate. C+nto is a love poem, a riot, a late night, and an honouring.
Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright and author. A former UK slam champion, she founded SLAMbassadors, the UK’s youth slam championships, in 2001. Taylor is a fellow of the RSA and the host and co-curator of Out-Spoken, the UK’s premier poetry and music club, currently resident at the Southbank Centre. Taylor is the author of three poetry collections. Her documentary Butch was recently featured on BBC Radio 4.
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