The three recipients of the 2019/2020 Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships have been announced: Hafsah Aneela Bashir, Anthony Joseph and Yomi Sode. They were selected from nominations, made by over 200 literary specialists including poets, publishers, editors, literary development agencies, artists, funders and festival organisers. Each fellow will receive £15,000, a year long mentorship, and a range of support and advice focusing on their poetic craft.
Funded by the interest from a 1964 bequest to the Arts Council, made by one of the first directors of the Poetry Book Society, the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships aim to help poets reach wider audiences. It was founded to allow poets time to develop their work and practice; all in a pressure-free environment. The 2018/2019 fellows achieved great successes over the last year; these were Raymond Antrobus, whose collection The Perseverance was featured as our PBS Winter Choice 2018; Jane Comman, writer of Assembly Lines, and Jackie Hagan, whose poetry is featured in this anthology.
Deputy Director of Jerwood Arts, Jon Opie explained the reason for choosing this year's Fellowship recipients:
“The Fellowships were conceived three years ago to reward outstanding poets. We also wanted to showcase the breadth of poetic practice and open up a conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing poets in the UK today. Hafsah, Anthony and Yomi completely embody the principles of the Fellowships and we are excited for what they might achieve over the coming year.”
Interestingly, Bashir, Joseph and Sode are all multi-disciplinarians, Bashir and Sode are poets and playwrights, while Joseph is a novelist and musician. Both Bashir and Joseph aim to explore the relationship between poetry and film, while Sode hopes to focus solely on his poetry, having spent the last few years on theatre work.
If you'd like to find out more about the new Jerwood fellows and their work, Anthony Joseph's poetry can be read in this anthology, alongside other contemporary Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora poets, while Yomi Sode's work is featured in Ten: poets of the new generation, an anthology showcasing the work of poets on The Complete Works poetry mentoring scheme.