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. He was also awarded the 2017 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and the 2019 Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award. Born in London, Raymond is currently based between London and Oklahoma City.

Praise

  • “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

  • “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