The £15,000 prize money is donated by TS Eliot's widow Valerie
Derek Walcott has won of the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry with his collection White Egrets.
Inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society's 40th birthday and honour its founding poet, the award comes with a £15,000 cash prize, the largest in British poetry.
Speaking on Today, the poet said it was an "honour" to receive the prize.
In the run up to the announcement, the Today programme is playing extracts of the shortlisted poets reading their own works.
You can hear extended readings below and the winner will be announced on the evening of Monday 24 January.
Born in 1930 in Saint Lucia, Derek Walcott is a poet, playwright and writer, who Robert Graves once said, "handles English with a closer understanding of its inner magic than most, if not any, of his contemporaries".
Among his themes are the continuing impact of colonialism and the symbolism of myths.
Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.
Sam Willetts, who was born in 1962, has been praised by one reviewer as "a poet who has something to say and the talent to express it".
He has worked as a teacher, journalist and travel writer.
His first poetry collection, New Light from the Old Dark, which deals with, among things, his experiences during a decade of heroin addiction and recovery, was published in 2009.
Californian born poet Brian Turner is a former soldier, who served for seven years, part of which time was spent as an infantry team leader in Iraq.
His first collection, Here, Bullet, was inspired by his time on the front line, and went on to win numerous prestigious awards.
John Haynes has had a long career in education, and lectured at Nigeria's Ahmadu Bello University in the 1970s and 80s, where he founded the literary journal, Saiwa. After returning to the UK in the 80s he has continued teaching, writing and publishing and his poems have appeared widely.
His book length poem Letter to Patience won the Costa Poetry Prize in 2006.