T. S. Eliot Prize
Forward Prize for Poetry Best Collection
While Downriver contains the English urban pastoral and hymns to the Northern deities for which Sean O’Brien is justly celebrated, the poet has always been more a singer than even his many admirers have sometimes conceded: here, that lyric note is sounded more openly than ever before.
With Downriver, his fifth collection, O’Brien has produced his most various and mature work yet. This is a poetry of both delicacy and gravity, assuagement as well as agitation, rivers that start in hell but later fall as rain – and will only strengthen his reputation as one of the most gifted English poets at work today.