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Raymond Antrobus

Widely published poet & spoken word educator. Exploring deafness, identity & emotional literacy

Born and based in London, England, UK

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About

Raymond Antrobus is a Jamaican, British poet, performer and hearing aid user, born and bred in East London, Hackney.

His poems have been published in magazines and literary journals such as The Rialto and Magma Poetry.

He is currently one of six London Laureates, a Complete Works III fellow and one of the world’s first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word education (Goldsmith’s University).

His second collection - Shapes & Disfigurements Of Raymond Antrobus - is published by Burning Eye Books.

Raymond has read and performed his poetry at festivals (Glastonbury) and universities (Oxford). He has also read internationally.


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Bibliography

The Ten Anthology, 2017, Bloodaxe

To Sweeten Bitter, 2017

Shapes & Disfigurements Of Raymond Antrobus, 2012, Burning Eye Publishing

Extract: Jamaican British

after Arron Samuels

 

Some people would deny that I’m Jamaican British.

Angelo nose. Hair straight. No way I can be Jamaican British.

 

They think I say I’m black when I say Jamaican British

but the English boys at school made me choose Jamaican, British?

 

Half-caste, half mule, house slave - Jamaican British.

Light skin, straight male, privileged - Jamaican British.

 

Eat the callaloo, the jerk chicken - I’m Jamaican

British don’t know how to serve our dishes, they enslaved us.

 

In school I fought a boy in the lunch hall - Jamaican.

At home told Dad that I hate dem, all dem Jamaicans - I’m British.

 

He laughed and said you cannot love sugar and hate your sweetness,

then took me straight to Jamaica - passport British.

 

Cousins in Kingston called me Ja-English,

proud to have someone in their family – British.

 

Plantation lineage, World War services, how do I serve Jamaican British?

When knowing how to war is Jamaican

British.

Extract: Echo

Oral speech was deemed as superior in order to communicate with God--History Of Deaf Education (British Sign Language Zone)


My ear amps whistle
like they are singing to Echo, Goddess of Noise
wailing for her return as a ravelled knot
of tongues of blaring birds, of consonant crumbs
of dull door bells, of sounds swamped
in my misty hearing aid tubes.
 

Gaudi believed in holy sound
and built a cathedral to contain it
pulling hearing men from their faded
knees like Atheism is a kind of Deafness.
 

Who would turn down God?
 

Even though I have not heard
the golden decibel of angels
I have been living in a noiseless
palace where the doorbell is pulsating
light and I am able to answer.