Raymond Antrobus is being considered to receive the title of Young Poet Laureate for London. Some sites refer to him as “Jamaican-born, raised in London” and others (such as this one from The Gleaner) as being a “second-generation Jamaican born and bred in East London.” Regardless of the labels, the poet claims that he owes his aesthetics to his Jamaican heritage:
Raymond Antrobus continues to be in strong contention to be named Young Poet Laureate for London – a position awarded annually to a poet age 21-30 living in the United Kingdom capital.
Antrobus, a second-generation Jamaican born and bred in East London, has been redefining what it means to be a poet in the 21st century through monologues, which Calabash co-founder Kwame Dawes describes as stunning studies of voice and substance.
While he only visits Jamaica occasionally, the young poet says he owes his graceful and finely crafted lyric poems, another characterisation penned by Dawes, to his Jamaican heritage. “It influences my work because I know in a world where each nation has its story, I don’t think I’d be doing my job well if I didn’t understand the significance of being the son of a Jamaican man as well as an English woman. My parents had a difficult relationship, and so do their nations. These stories are significant,” he said in response to questions from The Gleaner.
Explaining his Jamaican roots, Antrobus disclosed that his father, who died last year, migrated to England in the ’60s to work. While he describes his relationship with Jamaica as complicated, the performer and hearing-aid user says he wants to spend more time in Jamaica so he can become more connected to his father’s homeland.
[Photo above by Genny Rumancik (from https://twitter.com/raymondantrobus)]
See Antrobus’s page at http://www.raymondantrobus.com/