The Perseverance | Raymond Antrobus | Review

“What? I am a one – word question, a one – man patience test. What? What language would we speak without ears?”





The Perseverance is a book of loss, contested language and praise, where elegies for the poet’s father sit alongside meditations on the d/Deaf experience.


Firstly, I want to say thank you to FMCM Associates and The Sunday Times/ University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Awards for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I need to admit that poetry is not something that I read regularly and is not something that I would pick up for myself as a general rule. When I was asked to review this, I was apprehensive as it is not something I would read. However, I would like to read more poetry so I thought I would give it a go. I actually really enjoyed this collection, the poems were so raw and full of the poets emotions. Amongst my favourites were: Echo, The Perseverance, Deaf School and Miami Airport. Please don’t misunderstand me, I enjoyed all the poems in this book however the ones listed above were the ones that stood out to me.

Echo; I enjoyed the raw emotion that you could just feel radiating from this poem. You could tell that the poet had put his heart and soul into this and we knew exactly how he was feeling. The Perseverance; the emotion of loss in this book is so apparent, it is a beautiful poem, one in which I want to reach into the book and give the poet a big hug. Miami Airport; a poem which for me screamed discrimination and lack of awareness. Through writing poems like this the poet is spreading the awareness that people should have. I, for one, am certainly more aware and careful in relation to deaf people now I have read this book. Deaf School; wow. A poem with no words, but which speaks volumes. This is such a powerful part of the book which still resonates with me now even though I finished reading this collection of poems a couple of days ago.

Another thing that baffled me with this collection is that at the end the poet explains the difference between Deaf and deaf. Yes there is a difference. “Deaf” people are those born Deaf, who learn to sign before spoken language is learnt. It is part of who they are. “deaf” is in relation to those people who become deaf later on in life. I thought this was fascinating, and the use of this throughout the poetry collection was wonderful.

Whilst I am not somebody that reads poetry on a regular basis I would 100% recommend that you pick this book up. This poetry collection will stay with me for a very long time and it has definitely made me want to pick more up from now on.

“Sign has no future or past; it is a present language.”

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