Raymond Antrobus, a 33-year-old British Jamaican poet, has been awarded the Ted Hughes Award for poetry, despite the fact he strongly challenged Ted Hughes’ own poem which describes a class of deaf children as “alert and simple”. Antrobus won the award for his debut collection of poems called The Perseverance, which covers his struggles growing up deaf, the death of his father, and his biracial heritage.
The young poet works as a teacher and has performed at Glastonbury Festival. His winning of the Ted Hughes Award also sees him awarded with £5,000 and his debut collection has been longlisted for this year’s Folio prize. Many of his poems tackle the struggles deaf people encounter in everyday life, and Dear Hearing World describes the discrimination Antrobus felt in the education system. One line reads: “I was a broken speaker, you were never a broken interpreter.” The poem Echo recalls how he couldn’t hear the last part of his surname, and thought it was ‘Antrob’. “And no one knew what I was missing / until a doctor gave me a handful of Lego / and said to put a brick on the table / every time I heard a sound,” it reads.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write, I was slow to start walking. No one knew why this was happening until a phone started ringing in my mum’s house and my mum said I was completely oblivious to this phone. She just looked at me and she looked at the phone ringing and she heard it really loudly and I was completely unmoved, I didn’t react.”
His collection also challenges Ted Hughes’ own poem, Deaf School, which describes the children as “Alert and simple”. Antrobus redacts Hughes’ poem with black lines and writes his own verses. “Ted is alert and simple. / Ted lacked a subtle wavering aura of sound / and responses to Sound.”
Antrobus’ work has been critically acclaimed, with the poet Clare Shaw calling his book “universally relevant.” Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson described it as “the most engaging collection of poems we have read in a long time.” Rev Canon Mark Oakley stated that Antrobus was “passionate but speaking from his scars not his wounds – this is a poet you sense very deeply that you can trust.”
Born in Perth, Western Australia, Hewett was raised on a sheep and wheat farm. She was initially home educated before attending Perth College, aged 15. While the college was run by Anglican nuns, Hewett was an atheist and remained so her entire life.
Since then Molly has published a book of her poetry, influenced by vulnerable and touching moments working in the NHS, and more recently written her memoir, How To Treat People.
Molly’s empathy and passion for nursing is beautifully displayed in rich and lyrical language in both her poetry and prose. Her writing is a much needed honest and fascinating insight into the underappreciated and underrepresented backbone of the UK’s Nation Health Service.
Find her recital at the 2013 Royal College of Nursing congress below along with links to her books.
Scholars have discovered definitive proof that all works currently attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer, including The Canterbury Tales were actually written by Chaucer’s wife, Philiipa Roet.
His humour and eccentric way with words made Ivor a truly unique individual- often his stories are fantastical and absolute nonsense, with a twist of unnerving dourness.
His surreal observations are often seen as childlike, with stories that are often tinged with a dark naivety and whimsy.
Check out Beautiful Cosmos below, a lyrical poem written for the only woman in his life to truly understand him- Phyllis King- who co-wrote, and was another driving force behind his success.
Jane Broadis, a primary school teacher in the UK, posted the inspiring poem on Twitter where it went viral within the day, reaching 47k retweets and 158k Likes so far. The young author, known only as ‘AO’, wrote the poem about their struggles with dyslexia- most importantly about people’s perceptions of those with dyslexia. It is a surprising, clever, and thought-provoking poem, and thousands of people fell in love with it all over the internet.
See for yourself below!