Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

A Stranger At Home: Migration In Hannah Lowe's Poetry

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Book EML seminar

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Clerici G.29, Clerici bulding , Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site


Born in Essex to an English mother and a Chinese-Jamaican father, Hannah Lowe explores through her poetry the inner conflicts of the multicultural or multi-ethnic self, blending fiction with family history and social reality. Drawing on memories of her Chinese-Jamaican father who emigrated to England in the 1940s, and her own childhood growing up in a multicultural area of London, her first collection, Chick, is a narrative of family love and regrets, centred on the disavowal of the father on the grounds of his racial difference. In her second collection, Chan, Lowe retells the migration story of the early Jamaican immigrants arriving via the Ormonde,focusing on the feelings of hope, disillusionments and alienation experienced by those in diaspora through merging fiction with life history. On one hand, her poetry responds to the canon of black British writing since the 1950s; on the other, itdraws our attention to the necessary, creative tension between poetic form and voice, between history and re-imagination. Moreover, her mapping of working class lives in Britain prompts the reader to reflect on the issue of class in contemporaryliterature. Writing in the context of the postwar British literature which saw a rise in immigrant narratives and multicultural voices, her representation of race has raised essential questions on identity, class divides and multiculturalism.

Dr Jennifer Wong was raised in Hong Kong. She studied English at Oxford University and earned an MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. She is currently a PhD student in poetry and poetics at Oxford Brookes University. She is the author of Goldfish (Chameleon Press, 2013) and Summer Cicadas (Chameleon Press 2006), and her new collection is titled Diary of a Miu Miu Salesgirl (Bitter Lemon Press, 2019). She has also published poetry in journals, including the Rialto, Oxford Poetry, and the UCityReview, and anthologies, including Eight Hong Kong Poets (Chameleon Press, 2015) and Becoming Poets: The Asian English Experience (Peter Lang, 2014). She is a book reviewer and translator, and her work has appeared in Poetry London, Poetry Review, and the Asian Review of Books, among other publications. She has taught creative writing at Oxford Brookes University and courses at the Poetry School and City Lit.