Raymond Antrobus

Raymond Antrobus was born in London to an English mother and Jamaican father. He was awarded the 2017 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, judged by Ocean Vuong, as well as the 2019 Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award. His second full-length collection of poems, All The Names Given, is forthcoming from Tin House and Picador in 2021. Raymond is currently based between London and Oklahoma City.

Praise

  • Exquisite.

    —The New York Times Book Review

  • Deeply personal, emotionally striking, with memorable turns of phrase.

    —Chicago Review of Books

  • Bold and tender. . . . These voice and narrative-driven poems bear
    witness to the gaps in language, speaking, and understanding—moving
    seamlessly through new poetic and visual forms in the pursuit of
    bridging and speaking to these gaps.

    —The Arkansas International

  • Antrobus never sits inside darkness. It’s not so much that he is overly sentimental or naively optimistic. Rather, Antrobus is able to juxtapose the most troubling moments with vignettes of wonder and wisdom. . . . Antrobus burst onto the scene with two incredible collections this year. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of both The Perseverance and All The Names Given. This is a poet you’re going to want to follow.

    —The Poetry Question

  • 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.

    —Camoghne 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

  • A fluidly written understanding of self, history, and oppression from a fast-rising poet.

    —Library Journal, Starred Review

  • Deaf poet Raymond Antrobus’s powerful collection winds readers between text and image, sound and silence, while tackling questions about identity, family and trauma. . . . bold and direct, these poems are stunning in their generosity: two hands open, offering abundance.

    —Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

  • 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

  • Intimate and searching.

    —The New York Times Book Review

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

    —The Guardian

  • Remarkable. Antrobus, who was born deaf, writes about grief, race and violence in lines that are startlingly immediate and provocative.

    —The Washington Post

  • 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

  • Stunning.

    —New York Public Library

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

    —The Millions

  • Outstanding.

    —Chicago Review of Books

  • 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

  • Honest, raw and striking…. Antrobus captures the feeling of isolation that comes with navigating a world not made for everyone who exists within it.

    —Arkansas International

  • Clear, unflinching. . . . We expand our comprehension of humanness in encountering these poems, and recognize the limits of language that is only spoken and heard—The Perseverance is language embodied and utterly present.

    —Orion Magazine, Khadijah Queen Recommends

  • An extraordinary debut.

    —Entropy Magazine

  • An affecting, accessible, and astonishingly raw collection of poems.

    —October Hill Magazine

  • 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

  • Insightful.

    —Cool Hunting

  • A poet who traverses a diversity of worlds.

    —Colorlines

  • 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

  • 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

  • Antrobus’s evocative, musical honesty is unforgettable.

    —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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

    —BookPage