Antrobus, Raymond: The Perseverance
Tin House Books, paperback
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Publisher Marketing: Winner of the Ted Hughes Award, the Rathbones Folio Prize, and the Somerset Maugham Award. Shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. A Poetry Book of the Year at The Guardian, The Sunday Times, and Poetry School.
In this extraordinary debut collection, award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus interrogates anger, grief, illness, vulnerability, deafness, and race through a commanding engagement with language, tongues, listening, and sound. In the wake of his father's death, the speaker in Raymond Antrobus's The Perseverance travels to Gaudi's cathedral in Barcelona. Ruminating on the idea of silence and sound, he wonders whether acoustics really can bring us closer to God. As he receives information through his hearing aid technology, he considers how deaf people are included in this idea: "Even though," he says, "I have not heard / the golden decibel of angels, / I have been living in a noiseless / palace where the doorbell is pulsating / light and I am able to answer." So begins a stunning examination of a d/Deaf experience alongside meditations on loss, grief, education, and language, both spoken and signed. With a global scope and a deep intimacy, Antrobus draws on family and historical figures to create a chorus of voices: on the page, in our mouths, in our hands and ears. The Perseverance is a book about communication and connection, about cultural inheritance, about identity in a hearing world that takes everything for granted, about the dangers we may find--both individually and as a society--if we fail to understand each other.