Derek Walcott wins TS Eliot poetry prize

Derek Walcott Walcott has had a long and distinguished career

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Caribbean poet Derek Walcott has won this year's prestigious TS Eliot Prize for Poetry for his latest collection, White Egrets.

Walcott, 81, was up against several other well-known poets including Simon Armitage and Seamus Heaney.

Judges' chair Anne Stevenson said the judges had found it difficult to choose a winner.

But they concluded White Egrets "was a moving, risk-taking and technically flawless book by a great poet."

The collection includes two poems written to Barack Obama.

Walcott wins £15,000, while his fellow nominees pick up cheques for £1,000 each.

The writer's previous collections include In A Green Night: Poems 1948 - 1960 and his epic work, Omeros, which draws on Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.

He won the Nobel prize for literature in 1992.

The other nominees were Annie Freud, John Haynes, Pascale Petit, Robin Robertson, Fiona Sampson, Brian Turner and Sam Willetts.

Previous winners of the prize include Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Seamus Heaney.

The TS Eliot prize was inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society's 40th birthday and honour its founding poet.

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