Alice Oswald lives in Dartington, Devon, and works as a gardener on the Dartington Estate. She trained as a classicist and was the recipient of an Eric Gregory Award in 1994. Her first collection of poetry, The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile (1996), includes poems reflecting her love of gardening and the entertaining long poem, 'The Men of Gotham'. This collection won a Forward Poetry Prize (Best First Collection) in 1996, and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize in 1997.
Her second collection, Dart (2002), is a long work which combines verse and prose, and tells the story of the River Dart in Devon. To write this poem, she spent three years collecting information about the river and talking to people who use the river in their daily lives. The result is a highly original dream-like poem told from a variety of perspectives. Jeanette Winterson called it a "… moving, changing poem, as fast-flowing as the river and as deep… a celebration of difference…" (The Times, 27 July 2002). Dart won the TS Eliot Prize in 2002.
In 2004, Alice Oswald was named as one of the Poetry Book Society's 'Next Generation' poets. Her collection, Woods etc., was published in 2005, and was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) and the TS Eliot Prize. In 2007, her poem 'Dunt' won the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Single Poem).