A knife is pulled. An Uber driver is racially abused on the day of the Brexit referendum. A father bathes his son in ice water. A schoolboy drives a drawing pin into a map of the world. The threat of violence is never far away in Anthony Anaxagorou’s breakthrough collection After the Formalities. Technically achieved, emotionally transformative and razor-sharp, these are poems that confront and contradict; poems in which the scholarly synthesises with the streetwise, and global histories are told through the lens of one family. Anaxagorou ‘speaks against the darkness’, tracking the male body under pressure from political and historical forces, and celebrates the precarious joy of parenthood. The title poem is a meditation on racism and race science that draws on the poet’s Cypriot heritage and is as uncomfortable as it is virtuosic. Elsewhere, in a sequence of prose poems that shimmer with lyric grace, he writes, ‘I’m your father & the only person keeping you alive.
Anthony appeared at the first two Verve Festivals, performing at and producing the wonderful OutSpoken Press Showcase event and delivering workshops on both occasions. Then at the 2019 festival he delivered our inaugural Verve Performance Lecture to a full house and donated a poem to Verve Poetry Press’s Anthology Eighty-Four in aid of CALM’s attempts to reduce male suicide in the UK. Needless to say, we’re MASSIVE fans!
Date: 2nd September 2019
Extent: 90 pp