Hafsah, Anthony and Yomi illustrate the breadth of what poetry can be today. Through activism, theatre and other disciplines the three poets express their practice through a multitude of ways, opening poetry up to a wide range of audiences. Each has produced outstanding work to date and has been chosen for their potential at these critical points in their individual careers, when the support provided from the Fellowship could make the most difference.
They were selected from a strong field of nominees by poet Malika Booker; poet, editor and Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow 2017/18 Jane Commane; Jan Kofi-Tsekpo, Relationship Manager, Literature for Arts Council England; Jon Opie, Deputy Director of Jerwood Arts; Debris Stevenson, Grimepoet; and Nathalie Teitler, Project Manager for Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships. Nominations were made by a pool of over 200 specialists nationally including poets, publishers, editors, literary development agencies, artists, funders and festival organisers.
As selectors we were very impressed with the quality and breath of the submissions. The incredible work we saw pushed the boundaries of poetry into unimaginable spaces, by being experimental, cross arts, community focused, risky, and necessary. We are delighted to have selected these three exceptional poets who particularly encapsulate and exemplify these qualities in their poetic practice – Malika Booker