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TS Eliot prize shortlist joins conflict and reconciliation in the Middle East

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Ruth Padels exploration of religious understanding, Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth, and Kevin Powers Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting, drawing on his Iraq war service, among the 10-strong shortlist

From Ruth Padels venture to the Middle East to Kevin Powers glimpse into the life of a soldier in Iraq, the shortlist for the prestigious TS Eliot prize for poetry spans continents to reflect musicality, mastery and ambition.

This morning, the Poetry Book Society announced that Padels Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth, in which the award-winning British poet looks at the common ground shared between Christianity, Judaism and Islam, finding that Making is our defence against the dark, had been shortlisted for the prize alongside Iraq veteran Powers debut collection Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting. I tell her, writes Powers, how Pvt. Bartle says, offhand/ That war is just us/ Making little pieces of metal/ Pass through each other.

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