Filigree: Contemporary Black British Poetry
Filigree, a new anthology of contemporary Black British poetry published by Peepal Tree Press, a leader in Caribbean and Black British Literature, will be launched on 23 November 2019 at King’s College, London. It follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, RED (2010) which has been described by Michael Rosen as, “a major contribution to the diverse cultures of blackness.” Filigree’s inclusion of fresh voices from a younger generation of Black British poets illustrates Inscribe’s commitment to producing groundbreaking anthologies. Included are young Poet Laureate’s of London, Poets from the Octavia collective, Barbican Young Poets and The Complete Works as well as a wealth of other recognisable names.
Filigree typically refers to the finer elements of craftwork, the parts that are subtle; our Filigree anthology contains work that plays with the possibilities that the word suggests. Writers were invited to contemplate the ‘unspoken essential’ and ‘intangible tangible. ’Award winning poet Hannah Lowe author of Chick and Chan describes what came in response as “testimonies and remembrances… poems of resistance and bombast, and hymns of love of all kinds” forming a collection which explores and celebrates the delicate and finer elements of Black British literature.
In the anthology’s preface, Dorothy Wang writes, “most (white) poets and poetry scholars assume, consciously or not, that the only poetic interiority that matters is a white interiority. Thus, the endless poems by the white poets with every emotion and quotidian observation presented to the reader as if they were profound and universal truths, applicable to all mankind.” Filigree defies this assumption, forces its readers to challenge their ideas of poetic interiority, and celebrates the variety of poetry produced by these poets. Throughout the anthology’s journey, editor Nii Parkes says he has, “revelled in the quirky turns of phrase and argument, the contemporary yet timeless imagery, the boldness of much of the work. At each turn I am more and more convinced of a future for British poets of colour embroidered with the finest of prizes and widespread critical recognition.” Filigree includes compelling work from established Black British poets residing inside and outside the UK, as well as new and emerging voices of Inscribe poets who have been nurtured and supported by the Inscribe Writer Development Programme.
Editor: Nii Parkes
Nii Ayikwei Parkes is an author, performance poet, and socio-cultural commentator and advocate for African writing. He is the author of the poetry chapbooks: eyes of a boy, lips of a man (1999), M is for Madrigal (2004) and Ballast (2009), an imagination of the slave trade by balloon. His novel Tail of the Blue Bird (Jonathan Cape, 2009) has been hailed by the Financial Times as “a beautifully written fable…grappling with urgent issues”. Parkes has led forums internationally and has sat on discussion panels for BBC Radio with literary heavyweights such as Booker winner, Margaret Atwood. In 2007, he was awarded Ghana’s National ACRAG award for poetry and literary advocacy.
Foreword: Dorothy Wang
Dorothy Wang is Professor in the American Studies Program and Faculty Affiliate in the English Department at Williams College (Massachusetts). Her monograph
of and co-founded the "Race and Poetry and Poetics in the UK"
(RAPAPUK) research initiative, She has also published on Asian Australian
University Press, 2013) received the Association for Asian American Studies'
award for best book of literary criticism in 2016, garnered honorable
mention in the Poetry Foundation's inaugural Pegasus Awards for Criticism in
2014, and was named one of The New Yorker's "The Books We
Loved in 2016." The first national conference on race and creative writing
in the United States was named Thinking Its Presence (2014)
Inscribe, is a successful professional writer development programme run by Inscribe Publications Manager Kadija George, FRSA and Programmes Manager Dorothea Smartt, both published poets. With its roots in Peepal Tree’s practice of editorial development, Inscribe began as a project to develop specific writers of African and Asian descent in Yorkshire. It was created in 2004 by Kadija (George) Sesay and joined in 2008 by Dorothea Smartt, taking the ACE funded programme, national. An essential aspect of the programme is their series to publish emerging and new writers.
About Peepal Tree Press
Peepal Tree Press is the home of the best in Caribbean and Black British fiction, poetry, literary criticism, memoirs and historical studies. In 2017, Peepal Tree won the Clarissa Luard Award for Independent Publishers, which recognises excellence and creativity in literary publishing. Based in Leeds, it is an independent company, founded in 1985, and features both new writers and established voices. In 2009, Peepal Tree launched the ‘Caribbean Modern Classics Series’, which restores to print essential classic books from the 1950’s and 60’s. Peepal Tree's focus is on what George Lamming calls the Caribbean nation, wherever it is in the world, though they are also concerned with Black British writing.
For more information and bookings, please contact: