I am always applying for reader copies from various of places due to my job. Then, every so often a book arrives at work. I then say to myself, “Self. What did you order this time?” A while back I ordered The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus. From what I can tell this might be a reissue, however, the copy I have says it is due late March/early April 2021.
I picked this powerful poetry collection about life, family, and an individual’s struggles one day at lunch. It was sitting on the shelf above my computer, the white spine just peeking out from the other larger, darker spines of books that are placed there. And from page one there was beautiful, emotional, and thought-provoking poems. The text is clear and for the most part, the theme/feeling/subject comes alive with little having to “dig for it.” However, it is still poetic and takes symbolism, fact and experiences of the poet, his family, and others he knows/meets into consideration.
At first, since I had not read anything about the collection (I try to go into a poetry collection with little to no knowledge of subject or author), I thought “Is the poet deaf?” And yes, he is a deaf poet and teacher. But he is more that that. His mother is English and his father Jamaican. These three elements of his life, plus family and friends all come to life on the pages you read.
By the end I felt like I was reading a diary of Antrobus or overhearing a conversation he was having with himself. He is telling you his story; is the narrator of his story; but at the same time, he is telling his father’s story as well. I would like to read about his relationship with his mother and siblings. His poetry is personal and relatable. And young adult to adults can enjoy. However, the only real complaint I have is that there are one or two of the poems that feel “disjointed” or “out of place” as I felt they had language use tht did not flow with the others. Yet, this is one of the reasons this is a great collection. You can take away from it whatever you want.