In this episode, the poet, editor and translator Chris Beckett talks to Niall Munro about his latest book, Tenderfoot. Chris discusses growing up in Ethiopia and questions of privilege, perceptions of Ethiopia and a responsibility he feels to write about the place and its people. Chris also talks about how he portrays his nascent sexuality and how he reflects on Ethiopia then and now after numerous trips back to the country in recent years. You can read more of Chris's thoughts about writing the book in his blog entry for the Carcanet website.
Chris has published two collections with Carcanet, Ethiopia Boy in 2013, a sequence of praise poems about his childhood crush Abebe, and Tenderfoot in July this year. He co-translated and edited the first ever anthology of Ethiopian Amharic poetry, Songs We Learn from Trees, also out from Carcanet earlier this year. Chris’s partner is Japanese painter and sculptor, Isao Miura. Together they published a book of drawings and poems in 2014, Sketches from the Poem Road, after Matsuo Bashō’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and led to a wonderful exhibition of sculpture, paintings and paper installation at the Glass Tank in 2016 at Oxford Brookes University.
'Good Bread', 'Inglizawi Negn!', 'When I Was Ten, I Started Watching Men' and 'In the Lion Gardens' are all © Chris Beckett and reprinted with the permission of Carcanet Press from Tenderfoot (2020).