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Filigree: Contemporary Black British Poetry

Edited by Nii Ayikwei Parkes and with a preface by Professor Dorothy Wang. Filigree is published under the INSCRIBE imprint, managed by Kadija Sesay.


Various Authors: Filigree, Kadija Sesay, Nii Ayikwei Parkes
Inscribe, Anthologies, Poetry
Date published
1 Nov 2018

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, work that is delicate, that responds to the idea of edging, to a comment on the marginalisation of the darker voice. Filigree includes work from established Black British poets residing inside and outside the UK; new and younger emerging voices of Black Britain and Black poets who have made it their home as well as a selection of poets the Inscribe project has nurtured and continue to support.

“I finished this new anthology of black poets in Britain with ‘ghee on my lips’ as Roger Robinson writes in ‘Repast’, with a sated appetite, but wanting more – more of the lives that came spinning from its pages. There are testimonies and remembrances here, poems of resistance and bombast, and hymns of love of all kinds. But what struck me most is the varied and accomplished craft of these writers – the link with poetics and traditions past, but always with an eye to renewal and invention.”
Hannah Lowe

“How precious is poetry? Why does language sparkle when our ears becomes our eyes? What if we could wear only poems and punctuate it with our nakedness? There is something about blackness that will always remind me of gravity. How else to explain that we are everywhere. Why should an ocean come between us? History is nothing but a map from the past to the present. Black poets are not simply dreamers, instead we are explorers mapping our faith and turning evidence into something all can see. Hold a book of poems by black poets in your hands and the sun will never say farewell to one’s shadow. What nourishes the spirit also feeds the heart. We hunger for words as if we once invented taste. Now comes a book filled with splendor; this is black light come to illuminate the world. Whatever breaks in these poems is something shaped by craft and all things beautiful.”
E. Ethelbert Miller

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Various Authors: Filigree

Tolu Agbelusi – Sui Anukka – Raymond Antrobus – Lynne E Blackwood – Siddhartha Bose (Sid) – Victoria Bulley – Michael Campbell – Nana-Essi Casely-Hayford – Maya Chowdhry – Rishi Dastidar – Tishani Doshi – Zena Edwards – Samatar Elmi – Christina Fonthes – Patricia Foster – Kat François – Nandita Ghose – Nikheel Gorolay – Keith Jarrett – Maggie Harris – Joshua Idehen – Sumia Jamaa – Pete Kalu – Fawzia Kane – Rachel Long – Adam Lowe – Nick Makoha – Roy Mcfarlane – Ronnie McGrath – Momtaza Mehri – Sai Murray – Selina Nwulu – Louisa Adjoa Parker – Aisha Phoenix – Barsa Ray – Akila Richards – Maureen Roberts – Roger Robinson – Selina Rodrigues – Seni Seneviratne – Ioney Smallhorne – Degna Stone – Hugh Stultz – Ruth Sutoyé – Keisha Thompson – Gemma Weekes

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Kadija Sesay

Kadija Sesay is a literary activist of Sierra Leonean descent. She read West African studies at Birmingham University, then became a freelance journalist. In the mid-1990s she worked for the Centreprise Literature Development Project as the Black Literature Development Co-ordinator, and set up the newspaper Calabash. In 2001 she founded SABLE LitMag.

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Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Nii Ayikwei Parkes is a Ghanaian-British writer and editor who has won acclaim as a children's author, poet, broadcaster and novelist. Winner of multiple international awards including the ACRAG award, his novel Tail of the Blue Bird won France's two major prizes for translated fiction – Prix Baudelaire and Prix Laure Bataillon – in 2014. Nii Ayikwei is the founder of flipped eye publishing, a leading small press, serves on the boards of World Literature Today and the AKO Caine Prize, and was chair of judges for the 2020 Commonwealth Prize. Currently Producer of Literature and Talks at Brighton Festival, he is the author of two collections of poetry The Makings of You (2010) and The Geez (2020), both published by Peepal Tree Press.

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