Corpus is delighted to announce that Tara Lee (DPhil English) has been named winner of Wolfson College’s Jon Stallworthy Poetry Prize 2021.
The competition, set up in memory of the late Professor Jon Stallworthy, is open each year to any student enrolled in postgraduate studies at the University. This year's theme was 'Scrolls'. As per tradition, the prize was awarded on 18 January, which was Stallworthy's birthday. The shortlisted poems were recited at the award event, after which the jury, made up of Oxford University's Professor of Poetry Alice Oswald and Professor Bernard O'Donoghue, contemporary Irish poet and academic, announced the winner.
About the winning poem Kusōzu, Alice Oswald said it was an "eerie image of the body unscrolling and decomposing on a Japanese scroll".
She laughs in a green shade,
kimono spread out unfastened,
wisteria blossoms falling.
She is preoccupied.
The death of a noble lady
and the decay of the body –
nine stages as the handscroll reveals.
We have seen the first stage.
Now a bloated form swells to blue,
it bleeds at the seams,
the skin slips and marbles,
blooming with microflora,
the eyes are toys for sparrows,
skinny dogs gnaw at its many openings,
reeds sway over broken bones,
then even the reeds wither.
announces the inscription
like so many black birds
gathered into pleats.
At the end of my days,
may I gladly unfold myself.
May I say to the silken earth that holds me,
‘Because I love you,
I am giving you back to yourself.’
To watch the award event click here