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The Perseverance

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  643 ratings  ·  108 reviews
The Perseverance is the remarkable debut book by British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus. Ranging across history and continents, these poems operate in the spaces in between, their haunting lyrics creating new, hybrid territories.

The Perseverance is a book of loss, contested language and praise, where elegies for the poet’s father sit alongside meditations on the d/Deaf exp
Paperback, 91 pages
Published October 1st 2018 by Penned in the Margins
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  643 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book of poetry, focused on the Deaf (dealing with hearing loss since birth) and deaf (dealing with hearing loss later in life) experience. The poems are intensely emotional and intensely intelligent, and are not only about conversation and its difficulties, but are also in conversation with each other, with past poems (what were you thinking, Ted Hughes?), history, and society's treatment of the d/Deaf. Just look at these lines from the middle of 'I Move through London Like a Hot ...more
(3.5) Antrobus is a British-Jamaican poet with an MA in Spoken Word Education who has held multiple residencies in London schools and works as a freelance teacher and poet. His poems dwell on the uneasiness of bearing a hybrid identity – he’s biracial and deaf but functional in the hearing world – and reflect on the loss of his father and the intricacies of Deaf history.

I was previously unaware of the difference between “deaf” and “Deaf,” but it’s explained in the book’s endnotes: Deaf refers to
Diane S ☔
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf-2021
Thoughts soon.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
[3.5] The Perseverance was an eye-opening read: it broadened my understanding of the d/Deaf experience. The collection is a personal and historical exploration of the subject, ranging from the author’s own observations to e.g. the representation of a deaf character in Dickens. These confessional-type poems employ an array of styles, predominantly free verse in various shapes. I am somewhat allergic to the way publishers market minority literature along the trendy lines of ‘these poems operate in ...more
Jackie Law
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it

I am a one-word question,
a one-man
patience test.


What language
would we speak
without ears?”

Raymond Antrobus is: a poet; a teacher; a son; British Jamaican; Deaf. All of these attributes colour his writing in this, his latest poetry collection.

The Perseverance explores not only experiences lived, or shared with the author, but also the effects of heritage and culture across generations. He writes of how language is used and how this varies in time and place. What does not change is the n
It’s not that often I put a poetry collection on my ‘eye-opening’ shelf on Goodreads, but this one really was. Raymond Antrobus is a Deaf mixed race Jamaican-British poet, and this collection explores both these aspects of his identity compellingly (and his relationship with his father too). I learnt a lot within the poems, as well as through looking up things that were new to me (one poem is an erasure of a Ted Hughes poem about a deaf school, so I looked it up - quite shocking). There is an in ...more
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
an absolutely incredible collection concerning the d/Deaf experience.

honorable mentions include: 'Happy Birthday Moon', 'Two Guns in the Sky for Daniel Harris', 'I want the Confidence of', and 'Closure'.

thank you past sophie for spontaneously picking this up.
James Murphy
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Think of listening to jazz as hearing behind the notes. Think of reading poetry as finding emotion and understanding behind and between the words. This is especially true in Antrobus's poems about his now dead father and about his own deafness in which so much can be misheard or unheard. His poetry is about the blanks in his life left by family loss and by the lost words of everyday communication. Reading The Perseverance, though, I realize he hasn't misunderstood. ...more
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Own voice to the max. I absolutely loved the representation of life as a deaf person in this collection. It it raw, vulnerable, sometimes uncomfortable, but fantastic to say the least. So many topics are coverEd in gorgeous heartfelt words that flow so easily. Just wonderful poetry that is one of a kind. Adding the pictures of signs is everything. I would read this again and again. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Courtney O'Donnell
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best collection of poems I’ve ever read!!!! Most prominent themes are disability and blackness, written in the cleverest, most moving, gripping manner. I refused to take a break and read it in one sitting, but I’ve dog-eared my favourites to revisit with a fresh mind. Raymond Antrobus is so so so intelligent and creative - I have a new favourite poet. I loved this 🥺
Katie {awonderfulbook}
This is my favourite poetry collection so far this year. In style, it reminds me of Danez Smith's Don't Call Us Dead, which I read last year and loved very much. Indeed, Antrobus has a poem here that echoes Smith's "Dear White America". I don't know that the poems in this collection are quite as arresting as Smith's poems, but they are really, really good too.

Antrobus is British-Jamaican and a member of the D/deaf community. He writes about D/deafness, race, and grief about his father's death in
Tara June Winch
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
incredible. deep. just the best poetry book you'll read this decade, more. ...more
David Harris
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my third (of four) reviews as part of shadow judging the The Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award. I am part of the Shadow Panel which will make its own choice from the shortlist for the award.

The Perseverance (named, Antrobus explains in a note, after the London pub where his father used to drink) is a collection of twenty nine poems. In form they range from traditional poems to paragraphs of poetic text to scattered, bare words. There is a dense, angry re
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2020
Living between two cultures is not always easy, but it is something that British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus has had to live with, but it is not the only divide he has to manage, he is also deaf so he has to live in his quiet world and interact with the loud world. He has expressed these multifaceted identities in the poems in the book.

There are poems about his father, memories from his childhood and his later dementia. The collection is named after the pub that he sat outside while his fathe
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this debut collection, Antrobus explores different aspects of his identity, particularly being d/Deaf and being Jamaican-British. This book also delves into Deaf history, and looks at relationships between fathers and sons. I particularly admired Antrobus's focus on Deaf women in history, as I find I rarely see male poets writing about female historical figures. I found this collection witty, precise, and full of carefully controlled rage. Many of my favourite poems were about some aspect of ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, u-n-i
I think it's difficult to rate poetry collections but I did enjoy this, it had a few really good poems that were amazing and a few that were just okay. Interested to see where the discussion at uni with this will go. ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Firstly, I want to say thank you to FMCM Associates and The Sunday Times/ University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Awards for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I need to admit that poetry is not something that I read regularly and is not something that I would pick up for myself as a general rule. When I was asked to review this, I was apprehensive as it is not something I would read. However, I would like to read more poetry so I thought I would give it a go
Dana Elizabeth
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm never sure how to review poetry which I enjoy, because my main thoughts about poetry I love are incoherent. To avoid trying to articulate myself, this collection is very good.

My fave poems in the collection are "Echo", "The Perseverance", "Two Guns in the Sky for Daniel Harris", "Miami" and "Happy Birthday Moon."
bella gaia
Jun 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This was just completely exceptional. Antrobus touches on so many topics with such sensitivity and freshness in this slim volume, from deafness to masculinity to language to communication to family to ethnicity. It works as a collection in the best possible way; each individual poem would be outstanding in isolation, but together they form a sort of harmony that is just fantastic. I cannot recommend this collection highly enough, utterly brilliant.
Maebh Howell
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Incredible stuff - it is rare that I speed through a book of poetry like I did with this collection. Such raw and visceral writing yet so beautifully cohesive - I’m so excited to read more of Antrobus’ work
Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Nowadays, instead of violence, / I write until everything goes / quiet. No one can tell me / anything about this radiance."
Raymond The Antrobus Perseverance is a collection of poems that vibrate and reverberate through the pages and into the palms. The language of the body weaves through the language of grief, of loss, of identity and out pours a torrent of colors the likes which those who "benefit from audio supremacy" are often unable/unwilling or unlikely to see. This collection's critique
Dan Power
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
explores the d/Deaf experience with such clarity and high-definition that even the absences and white spaces become words with presence in themselves
Jay Moran
This is an upcoming title I was lucky enough to get an early copy of. This is a brilliant collection, discussing the multiple facets of identity, such as race (the author is of mixed heritage, English and Jamaican), disability, gender etc, and the isolation those identities can/do bring. Antrobus honestly and nakedly describes the fear and ignorance he's encountered due to his race and deafness, sometimes separately, other times combined. It's a passionate, raw account of the erasure of the d/De ...more
Linda Hill
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
An anthology of writing on the theme of d/Deaf.

The Perseverance is an eclectic collection that truly took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting quite such a perfectly poised balance of personal experience and international cultural and historical references. This style lodges the writing within both familiar and unknown eras and events for the reader, making it an immersive experience. I thoroughly appreciated the illustrations that accompany some of the work because they give a credence to another
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Deaf voices go missing like sound in space and I have left earth to find them.”
Em Power
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
wow! i had probably read like 80% of this out of order but never finished it in its entirety. one of the few poems i hadn't read was 'dementia' which was deeply hurtful to me. :) i have woefully overannotated the perseverance - as in the titular poem, not the book itself, which just highlights how overannotated the former is - and thats on parents who have issues with alcoholism.

top tier poetry book best bit was definitely the reference to caroline bird in the notes section tho

Chris Baker
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, reviewed
It should be no surprise that a d/Deaf poet conjures a powerful sound world. The resonance of these poems oscillates between the voices of Antrobus' family - Jamacain patois, British market stall - his father's sound system tinkering and his own experinces of language and miscommunication (he couldn't hear, and thus pronounce, the second half of his own surname as a child). It bleeds between Jamaica and Britain, d/Deaf and 'hearing', old and young generations. At his most expansive Antrobus spea ...more
Mattea Gernentz
Mar 01, 2021 rated it liked it
"Gaudí believed in holy sound / and built a cathedral to contain it, / pulling hearing men from their knees / as though Deafness is a kind of Atheism. / Who would turn down God?" (13).

[Probably about 3.5 stars.] I honestly love that Antrobus won the Ted Hughes Prize with a book that blacks out an entire atrocious Ted Hughes poem. That's iconic. Also, very very interesting points were made on ableism in relation to Charles Dickens and Alexander Graham Bell (who was, surprise, a eugenicist). On a
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
The Perseverance provides unique insight into Deaf culture and life as a Jamaican-British person. It is the sort of insight only poetry can provide; no conventional narrative prose can tap into the author's emotions like poetry can. It is also a varied collection, describing not only Antrobus' own experiences, but those of fellow Deaf people, and even some of Deaf historical figures.

Form-wise, I can't say I find Antrobus' poetry to be anything revolutionary; it is mostly raw and free-form, in th
I saw Raymond Antrobus live a few weeks ago, and he’s amazing! I know I’ve read books with deaf characters before, but I don’t think I’ve read much poetry. One thing that really stood out to me in this collection was how much it draws on current affairs. I had no idea bout some of the events that he drew on to inspire his poems, but it was still a feeling I recognise—of caring about the news and what it has to say and who is its victims and who are its protagonists, and who is silent. The fact t ...more
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Raymond Antrobus is a deaf poet and teacher. He has won the Ted Hughes Award and became the first poet to be awarded the Rathbones Folio Prize. About Can Bears Ski?, his first picture book, he says, "It's the book I could see myself reaching for as a child, and I can't wait to have it exist in the world.” He lives in England. ...more

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