Raymond Antrobus

Raymond Antrobus was born in London to an English mother and a Jamaican father. The author of The Perseverance, he won the Ted Hughes Award and the Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award. Raymond also became the first poet to be awarded the Rathbone Folio Prize. His upcoming publications include the children’s picture book Can Bears Ski? (Walker Books), and his follow up poetry collection, All The Names Given, will be published by Picador in Autumn 2021.

Raymond Antrobus

Photo: Suki Dhanda


Poetry Centre Stage »

Reading: Raymond Antrobus, Volha Hapeyeva

Thu 11 March | 19:30 - 20:30 | FREE | StAnza Online


The Perseverance
‘Love is the man overstanding’ Peter Tosh

I wait outside THE PERSEVERANCE.
Just popping in here a minute. 
I’d heard him say it many times before
like all kids with a drinking father,
watch him disappear
into smoke and laughter.

There is no such thing as too much laughter,
my father says, drinking in THE PERSEVERANCE
until everything disappears —
I’m outside counting minutes,
waiting for the man, my father
to finish his shot and take me home before

it gets dark. We’ve been here before,
no such thing as too much laughter
unless you’re my mother without my father,
working weekends while THE PERSEVERANCE
spits him out for a minute.
He gives me 50p to make me disappear.

50p in my hand, I disappear
like a coin in a parking meter before
the time runs out. How many minutes
will I lose listening to the laughter
spilling from THE PERSEVERANCE
while strangers ask, where is your father?

I stare at the doors and say, my father
is working. Strangers who don’t disappear
but hug me for my perseverance.
Dad said this will be the last time before,
while the TV spilled canned laughter,
us, on the sofa in his council flat, knowing any minute

the yams will boil, any minute,
I will eat again with my father,
who cooks and serves laughter
good as any Jamaican who disappeared
from the Island I tasted before
overstanding our heat and perseverance.

I still hear popping in for a minute, see him disappear.
We lose our fathers before we know it.
I am still outside THE PERSEVERANCE, listening for the laughter.


Raymond Antrobus

From The Perserverance (Penned in the Margins, 2018)