It’s the first year the prestigious prize has gone to an explicitly Buddhist poet.
You’ll find her interview on-line at www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/oct/28/keats-shelley-buddhist-poet. To quote one paragraph -
"Maitreyabandhu, who has been ordained into the Western Buddhist Order for 19 years, says his love of poetry began when a friend read him the first five verses of Shelley's Mask of Anarchy. 'It was one of those moments when one discovers a new ecstasy, even a new calling. After that I read and re-read Shelley and Keats obsessively and used their poetry to explore ancient Buddhist themes,' he said. 'WH Auden says, "The primary function of poetry, as of all the arts, is to make us more aware of ourselves and the world around us". The same could be said of Buddhism. I approach poetry, in one sense as a distillation of peak experience, in another as finding meaning in the everyday – as such, poetry has become another strand of my spiritual practice.'"