Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts

Events Items

PBS Autumn Showcase: Raymond Antrobus and Hannah Lowe reading and 'in conversation' with John Challis

Date/Time: Thursday 25th November 2021, 7pm to 8pm

Venue: Via YouTube - details to be sent on booking

Raymond Antrobus’ astonishing debut collection, The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins, 2018), won both the Rathbone Folio Prize and the Ted Hughes Award, amongst many other accolades; the poet’s much anticipated second collection, All The Names Given (Picador, 2021), the PBS Autumn Recommendation, continues his essential investigation into language, miscommunication, place, and memory. The poems travel through space, shifting between England, South Africa, Jamaica, and the American South, and move fluently from family history, through the lust of adolescence, and finally into a vivid and complex array of marriage poems — with the poet older, wiser, and more accepting of love’s fragility.

‘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

‘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

Hannah Lowe’s third full-length collection The Kids (Bloodaxe, 2021) is the PBS Autumn Choice. Across these deeply felt poems, Lowe interrogates the acts of teaching and learning with empathy and humour. Social class, gender and race – and their fundamental intersection with education – are investigated with an ever critical and introspective eye. The sonnet is re-energised, becoming a classroom, a memory box and even a mind itself as ‘The Kids’ learn and negotiate their own unknown futures. These boisterous and musical poems explore and explode the universal experience of what it is to be taught, and to teach, ultimately reaching out and speaking to the child in all of us.

‘The poems in The Kids fizz and chat with all the vitality and longing of the classes they conjure. Funny, moving, sometimes painful and always questioning, they capture teachers and their students learning life from each other in profound and unexpected ways. A joy to read.’ Liz Berry

‘These sequences of stories are a refreshing update to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and To Sir with Love. Each of Lowe’s sonnets is a blackboard chalked with the tales of earnest teachers, of cheeky and lovable students, of being mentored to become a poet and of motherhood and learning to instruct again. Lowe makes the sonnet exciting for our age through its urgent, its compassionate, its wonderfully humorous address of the personal and the social.’ Daljit Nagra

John Challis' debut full-length collection The Resurrectionists is published by Bloodaxe this year. He is a Research Associate at NCLA, Newcastle University.

The event is free to attend, and all welcome.

Hannah Lowe