Signs, Music: Poems (Paperback)

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Signs, Music: Poems (Paperback)

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Acclaimed poet Raymond Antrobus returns with Signs, Music, a stunning book of poetry that captures imminent fatherhood and the arrival of a child.


Structured as a two-part sequence poem, Signs, Music explores the before and after of becoming a father with tenderness and care—the cognitive and emotional dissonances between the “hypothetical” and the “real” of fatherhood, the ways our own parents shape the parents we become, and how fraught with emotion, curiosity, and recollection this irreversible transition to fatherhood makes one’s inner landscape.



At once searching and bright, deeply rooted and buoyant, Raymond Antrobus’s Signs, Music is a moving record of the changes and challenges encompassing new parenthood and the inevitable cycles of life, death, birth, renewal and legacy—a testament to the joy, uncertainty, and incredible love that come with bringing new life into the world.
Raymond Antrobus was born in London, Hackney, to an English mother and Jamaican father. He is the author of two other poetry collections, The Perseverance and All The Names Given. He is a recipient of the Ted Hughes Award, the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the T.S Eliot Prize, Griffin Prize and the Forward Prize. In 2018 he was awarded The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize (judged by Ocean Vuong) for his poem Sound Machine. He has also published two children's picture books, Can Bears Ski? and Terrible Horses and hosted a number of award-winning radio documentaries including “Inventions In Sound” (BBC Radio 4, 2021). He is a Cave Canem graduate in the US, a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature in the UK, and divides his time between England and New Orleans.
Product Details ISBN: 9781959030799
ISBN-10: 1959030795
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: September 17th, 2024
Pages: 88
Language: English
Raymond Antrobus's Signs, Music is unlike any poetry about becoming a father I've read. A report from two different countries—the land before birth and afterwards—the strength of this book comes from what it lets stand: half-thoughts, snatched conversations, hard memories. Caffeinated anticipation gives way to exhaustion and wonder, and a darker strain of introspection. The transition from fatherlessness to fatherhood isn't smoothed over, but the son's birth allows for a reconfiguration of relationships—with Antrobus's mother, with the city he grew up in. ‘They’ve always been here,’ he writes. ‘I’m just / moving slowly enough to see them.’ Here is a book of slow seeing which reaches a level of genuine intimacy.

— Will Harris, author of RENDANG and Brother Poem

Signs, Music wades devotedly through weathers of joy, grief, wonderment and terror—all of which arise as fleetingly on the page as they do in the throes of new parenthood. Vulnerable and hopeful, though never expectant of certainty or utopia, Signs, Music is a prayer for a world that might yet look tenderly upon young black life.

— Victoria Adukwei Bulley, author of Quiet

In this honest, witty and humane book, Antrobus brilliantly pins down the before and after of parenthood—and the uncrossable gap between the two. These poems manage to look both backwards and forwards: at who we were, who we are and who we hope to be.
— .Joe Dunthorne, author of O Positive