Our warmest congratulations to Raymond Antrobus, whose third chapbook of poems, To Sweeten Bitter, was just published (Out-Spoken Press, 10 April 2017).
R.A. Villanueva writes: ‘Consider the name of Raymond Antrobus’ extraordinary collection of poems for a moment: To Sweeten Bitter. It’s a phrase of infinite possibility and tender worry, open and searching, wanting and volatile. And in this sense, it serves as a kind of secret refrain for us, a haunted current that charges after each line and image, each heart-fraught question (“you think you’re going / to go free?”) and tentative hope (“there is always enough time / in our lives to see / what we must see”). Here, a father laughs “you cannot love sugar and hate your sweetness” and a son reckons with all that might mean “in the scratched light” of history and the “turning / and the losing of myself.” Derek Walcott once reflected that “I have never separated the writing of poetry from prayer;” these poems— in all their urgent beauty—affirm that faith, embody it.’
Raymond Antrobus is a British-Jamaican poet, performer and educator, born and bred in East London, Hackney. He is one of the world’s first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word education from Goldsmiths University. His poems have been published in magazines and literary journals such as POETRY magazine (US), Poetry Review, The Rialto, Magma Poetry, Oxford Diaspora’s Programme, British Council Literature, Shooter Literary Journal, The Missing Slate, Morning Star, Media Diversified, The Deaf Poet’s Society and forthcoming in Wasafiri, University Of Arkansas Press, and Bloodaxe, Ten Anthology. [Excerpt from http://www.raymondantrobus.com/bio/]
Source of book review: http://www.outspokenldn.com/shop/tsb