…though having written that headline I’m suddenly stuck by the notion that the word ‘introducing’ is redundant, so much noise are this latest cohort of The Complete Works making, both in the UK and on shores farther away.
But on the off-chance that you are unfamiliar with their work, I’m delighted that we’ll be sharing some of their poems with you on Fridays over the next two months.
Of course I am biased, but they really are a superbly talented and gifted collection of poets, each with unique voices, directly addressing some of the most urgent issues of now, in ways that will surprise and delight you. And lest you think that it will be all fireworks, in editing this selection, I was newly struck by the ways in which they can all find moments of stillness and plangency too, how they can take you inside a moment to really show you what’s going on.
You’ll note that I as of yet haven’t mentioned the word ‘diversity’. I take it as read that, while things are getting better in terms of the relevant publishing statistics, there is still work to do to ensure that British poetry truly reflects the cacophony of voices these isles really are.
But beyond that I want to note: diversity is not just about reading and publishing writers not like you, but the opening up of spaces and territories within which talent can revel in freedom and bring us back news of what we should be concerned about, what we should be celebrating, and the people we could be.
Rishi Dastidar’s poetry has been published by the Financial Times, Tate Modern and the Southbank Centre amongst many others, and was in Ten: The New Wave (Bloodaxe, 2014). A fellow of The Complete Works, he was longlisted in the 2016 National Poetry Competition and his debut collection Ticker-tape is now available from Nine Arches Press. He is a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine, a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, and also serves as a trustee of writing development charity Spread The Word. Twitter @BetaRish