Raymond Antrobus

Raymond Antrobus’s debut collection, The Perseverance, won the Ted Hughes Award, the Rathbones Folio Prize, and the Somerset Maugham Award, and was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, among others. Born in London, Raymond is currently based between London and New Orleans.

Praise

  • “Powerful. . . . Antrobus beautifully pays witness to the legacy of colonialism while providing another gripping meditation on language and communication.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Raymond Antrobus [has a] depth of awareness, originality, and empathy—all turned inside out and refracted into prism-like hues of insight.”

    Foreword Reviews

  • “In All The Names Given, the essential tension is knowledge. Knowledge of self, knowledge of others. These poems make the sublime leap or union of witness to with-ness, so their knowledge is not speculative but holds together, beautiful and fraught, the broken burden of honesty: love. Antrobus is a phenomenal poet.”

    —Ishion Hutchinson, author of House of Lords and Commons

  • “[Antrobus] reckons with his own ancestry, conflicting racial and cultural identities, and chronicles the damages of colonialism.”

    CITY Magazine

  • “This collection is a brave, tender and generous piece of music, where family is a cord forever troubled by the process of being named. With a knife-like precision, All the Names Given manages to caption the speaker’s dance with the ghosts of his bloodline, offering us a haunting study on what we can find in the silences of history when history is recognized as more than a noun, when recognized as something alive and kinetic, something constantly in conversation with the present. I can’t wait to see how this timely book ripples through our world.”

    —Camonghne Felix, author of Build Yourself a Boat

  • “What a beautiful book Raymond Antrobus has written! I love it. So much pain, so much tenderness, so much music and invention and passion in All The Names Given. Truly, it is terrific. Antrobus has a special gift of making music from stories and giving his lyrics gravity and urgency that’s inimitable.”

    —Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic

  • “These poems are revelations. This collection is so obviously at the forefront of a new canon whose singular and evocative approach to lyricism and imagistic play demonstrates not only the necessity of our multilingual and multimodal realities, but ‘the volume of their power,’ too.”

    —Meg Day, author of Last Psalm at Sea Level

  • “Raymond Antrobus’s compelling debut, The Perseverance, confronts deeply rooted prejudice against deaf people.”

    The Guardian

  • The Perseverance relates Antrobus’s experiences of being biracial and d/Deaf in sharp and beautiful poems. . . . These poems are expressive and beautiful and will leave readers thinking differently about sound and silence.”

    —BuzzFeed

  • “Antrobus can be gentle, tactile, and pointed in this book—which collects into an affirmation, a pronouncement.”

    —The Millions, "Best Poetry Books of March"

  • “Outstanding.”

    —Chicago Review of Books

  • “Antrobus’s evocative, musical honesty is unforgettable.”

    Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

  • “Innovative and urgent. . . . Deserves a wide readership.”

    BookPage

  • “Emotionally textured and sonically charged. . . . the poem [‘Sound Machine’] gyrates through interrogations of grief and ancestry twinned with a brooded meditation on masculinity and selfhood.”

    —Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth, We're Briefly Gorgeous

  • “This book is a gift, for how it repurposes my understanding of treacherous feelings, and shapes them into something worth sticking around for.”

    —Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Fortune For Your Disaster

  • The Perseverance is an insightful, frank and intimate rumination on language, identity, heritage, loss and the art of communication. . . . These are courageous autobiographical poems of praise, difficulties, testimony and love.”

    —Malika Booker, author of Pepper Seed

  • “A memorable collection . . . Antrobus interlaces wit and pathos as he examines his identity as a deaf British Jamaican man in a world between sign language and speech.”

    The Sunday Times

  • “At every turn, Antrobus pushes back against flattening, against the tidy narrative—an invidious Ted Hughes poem gets radically revised, an aunt’s misheard utterance becomes ‘a faint fog horn, a lost river.’ It’s magic, the way this poet is able to bring together so much—deafness, race, masculinity, a mother’s dementia, a father’s demise—with such dexterity.”

    —Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf

  • The Perseverance starts off like a modern-day Milton (‘Echo’), ends with ‘Happy Birthday Moon,’ a tender, deceptively simple pantoum about the author’s father (a keystone of the book), and ranges everywhere in between. It channels Danez Smith, Malika Booker, and Caroline Bird in formal poems, erasures, free verse, innovative use of Makaton symbols, translation, prose, and a blackout version of Ted Hughes’ ‘Deaf School’; probably the best poem I read all year, and it doesn’t even have any words in it.”

    —Will Barrett, Poetry School Books of the Year