New York poet unanimous winner of £15,000 prize as judges praise 'grace and chivalry' in her writing
Duffy's fellow judges were the Northern Irish poet-classicist Michael Longley and the poet and editor David Morley.
The "stag's leap" of the title of the collection refers to Olds's husband's leap for freedom – but also, perhaps, her own gradual attainment of a new equilibrium.
Two thousand people attended the readings confirming, said Duffy, poetry's place "as our national art. The other poets on the shortlist were Simon Armitage, Paul Farley, Jacob Polley and Sean Borrodale.
Duffy said she was delighted to see how proficient the poets had become at performing their poetry to a large audience. "Ten years ago I think they would have been muttering into their jacket sleeves," she said.
Olds, who lives in New York and was born in San Francisco in 1942, received a cheque for £15,000 donated posthumously by Valerie Eliot, who died last year. The shortlisted poets each received £1,000.
The prize is run by the Poetry Book Society and supported by the TS Eliot estate and Aurum, an investment management company.