... Anaxagorou is British of Cypriot descent; a complicated position, as Cyprus is a place that is often ‘omitted’ from a ‘list[s of] Britain’s ex-colonies’; a name that, upon hearing it, his ‘Mates would say where?’ (‘Ecumene’). It is lonely to be placed at the fringe of the fringe of an Empire’s history, where one might only ‘[find] myself a murmur’, even in corrective post-colonial histories (‘Four Small Indiscretions’). Again and again, Anaxagorou recounts being asked about where he is really from, and such is the relentlessness of this line of inquiry that it sometimes seems he is asking himself the question.
But he knows the answer, even as a racist outside a KFC drives ‘his skull into [the narrator’s] like a belief’ (‘After the Formalities’). Indeed, this is the answer: a story of inter-generational trauma, tumbling from his grandparents down to him, that he maps out quite expertly. But is there healing in this? Possibly, possibly not. Put another way: does an untold story of survival, once told, become ‘myth or ganglion’? (‘Ecumene’)
This is an excerpt of a review by Nick Mulgrew of Anthony Anaxagorou's After the Formalities. For more information on Anaxagorou at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.