Brookes Teaching Fellow named as a Next Generation Poet

Monday, 03 November 2014

Hannah Lowe

Brookes Teaching Fellow in Creative Writing, Hannah Lowe, has been named as a ‘Next Generation Poet’ by the Poetry Book Society.

The list represents the most exciting new voices in poetry, published over the last decade and inclusion in the past has launched the careers of many of today’s leading British and Irish poets, including Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage.

The list of twenty poets, which is drawn up only once a decade, was selected from 241 submissions from poetry publishers.

Hannah says that receiving the award was especially important for her as she was a late starter as a poet:”I didn’t write anything until I was 30," she says. “Lots of the writers in this generation 2014 are the writers I was reading five years ago, thinking: ‘I want to be like you’, and so to be in their esteemed company is fantastic.”

For me poetry is closer to music and art than it is necessarily to fiction.

Hannah Lowe, Oxford Brookes Teaching Fellow in Creative Writing

The collection for which she was selected for the award was called ChicK, which was the nickname of her Chinese-Jamaican father. She felt compelled to write about him and his elusive presence in her youth and she eventually found her poetic voice.

She says writing poetry is like rediscovering her love of creativity from childhood.

“For me poetry is closer to music and art than it is necessarily to fiction," she says, “The poetry I love and try and write is always strongly visual. I try to paint with words. When I write, I think ‘this is the image that’s in my head and how can I make you see it as well?’ And that’s what a painter does.

Poetry is also strongly musical, not that prose fiction can’t be, but poetry lends itself more to that. For me it has always overlapped those things I loved as a child – painting and playing music and so to come to poetry later in life it really is like rediscovering the things that I let go when I was younger.”

When asked about the future of poetry in the next ten years, Hannah believes there will be ever more diversity. She says: “I think there’s a broader range of voices than ever in this next 2014 list, so for example Kei Miller who has just won the Forward poetry prize is a Caribbean voice. And the spoken word has become more and more popular, so the presence of a voice like Kate Tempest is interesting. I expect there will be more of this kind of poetry, which is closer to rapping.

With regard to her own future direction, Hannah says: "In terms of my own writing, I have an interest in the experimental, and thematically, I think writing from the left-wing and anti-racist perspective, which was there in Chick, will continue to guide my work. I am also more and more interested in subversive histories - writing against the main grain of history - so my new pamphlet, for example, tells a different story about British migration challenging the centrality of the Windrush in post-war Caribbean migration.”

Hannah Lowe’s new work Ormonde will be launched on 4 November.

Hannah will be reading her work at the Reading Poetry Festival on 7–9 November as part of an Oxford Brookes event.