Raymond Antrobus, who was born in Jamaica and raised in East London, is considered a strong contender to receive the title of Young Poet Laureate for London. The position is awarded each year to a poet between the ages of 21 and 30 who is living in the capital city of the United Kingdom. Antrobus is trying to redefine what it means to be a 21st-century poet through the use of monologues. Although he visits Jamaica only occasionally, he says that his poems, characterized as “graceful,” “finely crafted,” and “stunning” by Kwame Dawes, the co-founder of the Calabash Literary Festival, come via his Jamaican heritage. His father was Jamaican and his mother was English, and Antrobus cites his family as an influence on his work because he became aware that each of the two nations had its own story to tell. He notes that his parents had a “difficult relationship,” as do their home countries, and he believes the stories are significant. Antrobus says his own relationship with Jamaica is “complicate” but he wants to spend more time on the island to create stronger links with the homeland of his father.
Poems by Antrobus have been published in numerous magazines and literary journals, and he has read and performed his poetry at festivals and universities worldwide. His work has also appeared on BBC Radio 4 and The Guardian newspaper.
Photo Credit – Genny Rumancik