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“I’m a poet because I want to go away, to be a fugitive, to slide away from the world that’s proposed.”

A poet, scholar and writer

On Blackness as an atmospheric condition

The physical body of colour in a world built of whiteness that is oblivious to itself

On knowing the names of things

How prescriptive language and lack of time is weaponised to waste our lives

Why I Write

Creating a mental landscape that can sustain life in difficult times

Jason Allen-Paisant in conversation with John Siddique

The poet and academic Jason Allen-Paisant has just won the T.S.Eliot Prize. In this conversation recorded with the poet John Siddique last year, he reflects on how spending time alone with trees as a child led him to become the poet he is today and reflects on how silence and chaos help him to write.

Biography

Jason Allen-Paisant is a scholar, poet, and writer whose work explores embodied experience in the context of Afro-diasporic history. His collection, Thinking with Trees, was named an Irish Times Poetry Book of the Year in 2021. His work has appeared in Granta, The Guardian, The Poetry Review, Callaloo, New Poetries VIII, The BBC, and in More Fiya: A New Collection of Black British Poetry. 

Allen-Paisant’s latest collection is Self-Portrait as Othello. He has been the recipient of a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. He holds a Doctorate in Medieval and Modern Languages from the University of Oxford. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, American Studies, and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester.

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