Books

RENDANG 

Will Harris takes British poetry into new waters: RENDANG is an astonishing debut. These questing poems rend and render, they tear and they give. Slipping between the everyday and the unreal, between crystalline lyric and a roving, essayistic expansiveness, their shapeshifting delves into the self and its precarious foundations. Unregarded details open out onto dizzying historical vistas. Humdrum encounters leave the subject irrevocably changed. Across nation, race and time, what binds us together, or pulls us apart? You would struggle to find a keener mind at work in the form than Harris’s, and yet these poems are as loving as they are contemplative, passionate in their political commitments. Many are heart-stopping: the kind of poem that makes you put down the book for a while just to breathe. –Sarah Howe

A startlingly radical and progressive poetic journey, RENDANG takes the reader from West Sumatra to Planet Mongo via the Gray’s Inn Road, through Indonesian artefacts and issues of gentrification. RENDANG is an urgent comment on what it means to be a person now; a dissection of and love letter to the histories, places, and things that make us. Through a ludic voice, an adept and complex language play, shifting perspectives, and a masterful command of form, Will Harris creates a poetry that dissects the ambivalences, difficulties, and voices of a contemporary landscape. A significant collection from one of the most exciting young writers in the UK.

Published by Granta on 6 February 2020.

Mixed-Race Superman

Mixed-Race Superman is typical of what I have come to expect of Will Harris’s writing: inclusive, expansive, nuanced, rigorous, fiercely intelligent, yet wearing that intelligence lightly. The comparisons he makes between Obama and Keanu, Greek myth and American pop culture, alt-right theory and classic philosophy, Superman and Neo are startling, rich, illustrious and utterly, utterly brilliant. This is to be read and re-read, digested, dissected and celebrated. –Inua Ellams

Zany, exuberant and highly original. –Emily Eakin, The New York Times Book Review

Mixed-Race Superman is a reflection on the lives of two very different supermen: Barack Obama and Keanu Reeves.

In an era where a man endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan can sit in the White House, Will Harris argues that the mixed-race background of each gave them a shapelessness that was a form of resistance.

Drawing on his own personal experience and examining the way that these two men have been embedded in our collective consciousness, Harris asks what they can teach us about race and heroism.

Published by Peninsula Press in the UK in 2018 and in an expanded edition by Melville House in the US in 2019.

All this is implied

all this implied

** Joint winner of the London Review Bookshop Pamphlet of the Year 2017 ** Shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award 2018 by the National Library of Scotland **

Brilliant poet – troubling and tender. For the price of a (London) pint you can buy yourself a more lasting moral hangover. –Ed Doegar 

The real McCoy –Christina Patterson, The Guardian

The new generation’s standout name –Tristram Fane-Saunders, The Daily Telegraph

In All this is implied, Will Harris pursues, among other things, the complexities of a mixed inheritance, the ‘opposite currents in his blood’. This debut chapbook of poems scrutinises how we see and are seen, the recurrent desire to transcend the self and its history, and the impossibility of doing so.

All this is implied is available to buy here. You can also read more about it in two interviews: one with the ghost of Hartley Coleridge and the other with Gladstone’s Library.

Published by HappenStance in 2017.

Ten: Poets of the New Generation

ten poets

The Complete Works project has changed the literary world measurably, letting in variety not just of race, sex and cultural identity but also of voice, form, attitude, outlook and experience… a wonderfully accessible showcase for thrilling new talent and, overall, a joy to read. –Bidisha, The Poetry Review

Ten: Poets of the New Generation presents the work of ten exciting British poets from diverse backgrounds. It is the third anthology from The Complete Works poetry mentoring scheme, a national programme supporting exceptional black and Asian poets founded by the writer Bernardine Evaristo in 2007. The poets included are: Raymond Antrobus, Omikemi Natacha Bryan, Leonardo Boix, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Will Harris, Ian Humphreys, Jennifer Lee Tsai, Momtaza Mehri, Yomi Sode and Degna Stone.