Will Harris is a poet and critic from London. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Mixed-Race Superman and All This Is Implied, and winner of the LRB Bookshop Poetry Pick for best pamphlet. He received a Poetry Fellowship from the Arts Foundation in 2019 and was shortlisted for the 2017 Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize and the 2018 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem for 'SAY' (Poetry Review). He has published with the Guardian, the London Review of Books, Granta, the Poetry Review, and the White Review, among others.A rising star of contemporary British poetry reflects on race, culture, memory and identity in his first full-length collectionGraceful and, at times, devastatingWill 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... Many are heart-stopping: the kind of poem that makes you put down the book for a while just to breatheHarris's poems turn the utterance back to ourselves, opening a dialogue between us, our modernity, the depth of our loss and the weight of our remembering. Where epithets rend memory from the moment, the artefacts of wounds heal themselves through a weft of irony, weaving language into a hard-earned scarThe best... With withering sleight of hand, Harris takes facile expectations of poets of colour and gleefully turns them inside out... These poems are disquisitions on the labour of poet-making, the delicate task of constructing a persona both on and off the page in a culture market currently inclined to reduce you to your ethno-cultural background... RENDANG is a wonder, and we are lucky to have it'RENDANG offers sonorous, capacious, porous poetics. This is poetry that singsHarris's witty and eloquent debut won the Felix Dennis Prize for best first collection, and is shortlisted for the TS Eliot award. The scenes he draws, from dreams and real life, are captivating and inhabit a broad range of forms between which this young poet moves with graceSets the standard for modern poetryHarris writes with a piercing clarity and intelligence, his voice warm as it crisply ruminates on big issues such as our shared cultures and identities, as well as more intimate momentsThere isn't a single poem in this collection that isn't cut through with sardonic humour and an absolutely unique, sideways-glancing toneWINNER OF THE FELIX DENNIS PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST COLLECTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE T.S. ELIOT PRIZE FOR POETRY 2020
A startlingly radical and surreal poetic journey, RENDANG takes the reader from West Sumatra to Planet Mongo via Gray's Inn Road, alighting on Indonesian artefacts, gentrification, and citizenry. 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 adept and complex language play, a ludic voice, and a masterful command of form, Will Harris creates a poetry that charts the ambivalences, difficulties, and voices of our contemporary landscape.