Jacob Polley

Jacob Polley (born 1975) is an English poet from Carlisle, Cumbria, United Kingdom.

His first four books of poems, all published by Picador, are The Brink (2003), Little Gods (2006), The Havocs (2012), and Jackself (2016). Jackself won the 2016 T. S. Eliot Prize.

He graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University in 1997.

Polley won an Eric Gregory Award, and the BBC Radio 4/Arts Council ‘First Verse’ Award, in 2002. His first book, The Brink(Picador 2003), was a Poetry Book Society Choice, and went on to be shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prizeand the John Llewellyn Rhys prize.

Polley was selected as one of the Next Generation Poets in 2004.

His second book, Little Gods (Picador 2006), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

Jacob Polley’s first novel, Talk of the Town, was published in June 2009 by Picador. The book went on to win the 2010 Somerset Maugham Award and was also shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize.

The Havocs (2012), his third book of poetry, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and won the 2012 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. It was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and for the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2012.

Jacob was the 2011 Arts Queensland Poet-in-Residence and is now a lecturer in Creative Writing at St. Andrews University.


  • Salvage (Northern Lights, 2000)
  • The Brink (London: Picador, 2003)
  • In the Return (Darlington Borough Council, 2005)
  • Little Gods (London: Picador, 2006)
  • Talk of the Town (London: Picador, 2009)
  • The Havocs (London: Picador, 2012)
  • Jackself (London: Picador, 2016)

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