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Since the Ledbury Poetry Critics programme was founded in 2017, the percentage of poetry criticism by reviewers of colour in the UK press has more than doubled. Graduates of the programme are now to be found in positions of influence across UK media, whilst Ledbury Critic Mary Jean Chan became the first-ever poet of colour to win the Costa Prize for Poetry in 2020.
In this discussion, chaired by Ledbury Poetry Critics co-founders and RSL Fellows Sandeep Parmar and Sarah Howe, we explore poetry from creative and critical perspectives. Streamed live from the UK and the USA, Kwame Dawes, Paisley Rekdal, and Anthony Anaxagorou will interrogate how review culture shapes global poetics, for better and for worse. In a conversation interspersed with readings and by 4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE, our panel of poets and critics will discuss the ways in which the language of reviewing can, and must, evolve.
Sarah Howe is a British poet and academic. Her first book, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus, 2015), won the T S Eliot Prize and The Sunday Times / PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. She has performed her work at festivals internationally and on BBC Radio.
Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet, published in POETRY, The Poetry Review, New Statesman and Granta. His second collection was shortlisted for the 2019 T.S. Eliot Prize and was a Telegraph and Guardian poetry book of the year.
Sandeep Parmar FRSL FRSA is Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool. Her books include Reading Mina Loy’s Autobiographies: Myth of the Modern, an edition of the Collected Poems of Hope Mirrlees (Carcanet, 2011), and two books of her own poetry.
Kwame Dawes spent most of his childhood in Jamaica. He currently serves as the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His most recent collection of poems is City of Bones: A Testament (2017).
Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; a hybrid-genre photo-text entitled Intimate; and six books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos; Six Girls Without Pant; The Invention of the Kaleidoscope; Animal Eye, winner of the UNT Rilke Prize; and Imaginary Vessels, which was a finalist for the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Prize, and Nightingale. Her book, The Broken Country, won the 2016 AWP Nonfiction Prize, and her newest work of nonfiction, Appropriate: A Provocation, was published by W.W. Norton in 2021.
4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE is a collective whose radical polyphonic style showcases the daring of their individual writing. The authors are: Roshni Goyate, Sharan Hunjan, Sheena Patel and Sunnah Khan. Their acclaimed joint collection was published in 2020 by Rough Trade Books.
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