Poet Ditches Famed Contest Over Hedge Fund Backing

Poetry should question, not endorse, such firms: Alice Oswald
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Dec 7, 2011 3:42 AM CST
What would TS Eliot say?   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A highly regarded British poet is dropping out of a prestigious poetry contest because a hedge fund management firm is a major sponsor. Alice Oswald was considered a prime contender for the $22,000 TS Eliot Prize for her new collection, Memorial, a retelling of the Iliad. She won the prize in 2002 for another collection. "I'm uncomfortable about the fact that Aurum Funds, an investment company which exclusively manages funds of hedge funds, is sponsoring the administration of the Eliot Prize," Oswald said in a statement. "I think poetry should be questioning, not endorsing, such institutions and for that reason I'm withdrawing from the Eliot shortlist."

The Poetry Book Society, facing a loss of funding because of government budget cuts, recently announced a three-year sponsorship from Aurum Funds to pay for its prize. Neither the society nor Aurum responded to Oswald's statement, reports the Guardian.

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