Oxford Brookes welcomes celebrated Jamaican poet Ishion Hutchinson

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Ishion Hutchinson

Award-winning Jamaican poet and essayist Ishion Hutchinson recently shared his work with students and guests of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre on 16 February. Ishion has published two collections of poetry: Far District (2010) and House of Lords and Commons (2017).

Amongst other prizes, Ishion has been awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize from the Academy of American Poets. He lectures on a graduate writing course at Cornell University in New York.

His poems explore the lush landscapes of the Caribbean, and the weight of the region’s colonial history. Ishion’s work ranges across Greek mythology, the work of John Milton, Derek Walcott and the rhythms of Bob Marley’s maverick producer, Lee Scratch Perry. His poetry explores the power of the language of resistance in various socio-political contexts, including the racial politics of present-day America.

“I give a voice to the disaffected,” Ishion explained, “because the level of injustice that still exists today is astounding. Being alive, being in this moment, I am fortunate to be in this position, which means that there is no place for inertia.”

He offered his audience glimpses of his poetic journey from the beaches and flora of Port Antonio, Jamaica. 

Dr Niall Munro, Director of Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, said: “It was a real privilege for us to host Ishion and hear him read from his startling, powerful poetry. His is a captivating and necessary voice, since - amongst many other things - his work reminds us of the violent legacy of colonialism whilst speaking directly to the continuing problems of race relations in the here and now.”

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