literature & poetry

d/Deaf Republic: Poets on d/Deafness

Part of Poetry International

Multi-award winning poets Raymond Antrobus, Ilya Kaminsky and Carcanet debutante Lisa Kelly share the stage to perform their latest work.

Antrobus reads from Ted Hughes Award-winning, Forward Prize-nominated The Perseverance.

Elegies for the poet’s father weave into narratives around learning to speak as a child experiencing deafness, and expand to a contemporary sphere in which enduring prejudice towards the d/Deaf community leads to the most catastrophic of circumstances.

Kaminsky reads from Poetry Book Society choice and Forward Prize-nominated Deaf Republic, in which a fabled town witnesses the killing of a deaf boy and in response, the town’s citizens refuse to hear any more with their dissent coordinated by sign language.

Lisa Kelly reads from debut collection A Map Towards Fluency, which considers words, the power they impart, the power their absence withholds and the importance of mis-hearing and mis-remembering.

The event explores both the poets’ personal experiences of d/Deafness as well as looking at a wider political and historical context in which d/Deaf communities have been marginalised.

Raymond Antrobus was born in Hackney to an English mother and Jamaican father. He is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Complete Works III and Jerwood Compton Poetry.

He is one of the world’s first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word Education from Goldsmiths, University of London, and is a founding member of Chill Pill and the Keats House Poets Forum.

He has had residencies in deaf and hearing schools around London, as well as Pupil Referral Units. In 2018 he was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Award by the Poetry Society (judged by Ocean Vuong).

Ilya Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union and is now an American citizen. He is the author of two poetry collections – Dancing in Odessa and Deaf Republic – and co-editor of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry.

He has received a Whiting Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was named a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.

Deaf Republic is a 2019 Poetry Book Society Choice and has been shortlisted for the 2019 Forward Prize for Best Collection

Lisa Kelly’s first collection, A Map Towards Fluency, was published by Carcanet in June.

Her poems have appeared in Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back and Carcanet’s New Poetries VII.

Her pamphlets are Philip Levine’s Good Ear and Bloodhound. Kelly has single-sided deafness through childhood mumps. She is also half Danish on her mother’s side.

She has been longlisted twice for the Bridport Prize, and twice for the National Poetry Competition.

Dates & times

19 Oct 2019
Approximate run time: 75 mins
Run times may vary, find out more
    • Sat 19 October 2019
      • 1:30 pm
        British Sign Language / Speech to Text


Purcell Room


Booking fee: £3.00 (Members £0.00)

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need to know

Age recommendation
For ages 16+

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Multi-buy discount
Book three or more literature and poetry events in the same transaction and receive a 25% discount. Selected events only.

Access information
This event is British Sign Language interpreted (BSL) and Speech-to-Text transcribed (STT).

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