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The Kids - Hannah Lowe

The Kids

By: Hannah Lowe

Paperback | 16 September 2021

At a Glance

Paperback


$23.50

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Winner of the 2021 Costa Book of the Year and the 2021 Costa Poetry Award. Selected as Poetry Book Society Choice for Autumn 2021 and shortlisted for the 2021 T S Eliot Prize.

Hannah Lowe taught for a decade in an inner-city London sixth form. At the heart of this book of compassionate and energetic sonnets are fictionalised portraits of ‘The Kids’ , the students she nurtured. But the poems go further, meeting her own child self as she comes of age in the riotous 80s and 90s, later bearing witness to her small son learning to negotiate contemporary London.

Across these deeply felt poems, Lowe interrogates the acts of teaching and learning with empathy and humour. Social class, gender and race – and their fundamental intersection with education – are investigated with an ever critical and introspective eye. These boisterous and musical poems explore the universal experience of what it is to be taught, to learn and to teach.

About the Author

Hannah Lowe was born in Ilford to an English mother and Jamaican-Chinese father. She has lived in London, Brighton and Santa Cruz, California. She studied American Literature at the University of Sussex and has a Masters degree in Refugee Studies, and a PhD in Creative Writing from Newcastle University. She has worked as a teacher of literature, and is now a lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University. She has been poet in residence at Keats House, and in 2020 she received a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors. Her pamphlet The Hitcher (The Rialto, 2011) was widely praised.

Her first book-length collection Chick (Bloodaxe Books, 2013) won the 2015 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry, and was selected for the Poetry Book Society's Next Generation Poets 2014 promotion. This was followed by two pamphlets, R x (sine wave peak, 2013) and Ormonde (Hercules Editions, 2014), and her family memoir Long Time No See (Periscope, 2015). She also read from Long Time, No See on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week in 2015. Her second full-length collection, Chan, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016, followed by a pamphlet, The Neighbourhood (Out-Spoken Press) in 2019.

Her third full collection, The Kids (Bloodaxe Books, 2021), was the Poetry Book Society Choice for Autumn 2021. It won the 2021 Costa Poetry Award and went on to be named Costa Book of the Year, and was also shortlisted for the 2021 T.S. Eliot Prize.
Industry Reviews
Hannah Lowe's The Kids is a book to fall in love with - it's joyous, it's warm and it's completely universal. It's crafted and skilful but also accessible... You will love it! -- Reeta Chakrabarti * Chair of Judges, 2021 Costa Book of the Year *
A contemporary book that buzzes with life while re-energising the sonnet that Shakespeare would recognise. All readers will find something of themselves here. -- Costa Poetry Award Judges Rishi Dastidar, Ian Duhig and Maya Jaggi
Hannah Lowe's brilliant and entertaining book of sonnets, The Kids, is one of the most humorous and tender collections of recent times. -- Sean Hewitt * The Irish Times (The year in verse: the best poetry of 2021) *
Hannah Lowe's The Kids, inspired by her time teaching in an inner London sixth form, is a series of sonnets full of joy. The book is generous in its compassion, and in love with the idea of learning, in the classroom and outside it. -- Rishi Dastidar * The Guardian (Best poetry books of 2021) *
Hannah Lowe's previous two collections, Chick and Chan, focused on her relationship with her Jamaican-Chinese father, alongside coming-of-age recollections. The Kids marks a departure: an introspective book of modern sonnets, it offers a glimpse into her experiences of teaching in an inner-city London sixth form. The collection includes homages to her own teachers, and concludes with a sequence lovingly written for her young son... This is a playful yet moving collection that will make the reader frown and laugh, sometimes both at once. -- Mary Jean Chan * The Guardian, best recent poetry *
The poems in The Kids ?zz and chat with all the vitality and longing of the classes they conjure. Funny, moving, sometimes painful and always questioning, they capture teachers and their students learning life from each other in profound and unexpected ways. A joy to read. -- Liz Berry
These sequences of stories are a refreshing update to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and To Sir with Love. Each of Lowe's sonnets is a blackboard chalked with the tales of earnest teachers, of cheeky and lovable students, of being mentored to become a poet and of motherhood and learning to instruct again. Lowe makes the sonnet exciting for our age through its urgent, its compassionate, its wonderfully humorous address of the personal and the social. -- Daljit Nagra
Always, we are in the hands of Lowe's singular, effortless voice, and reminded that all good education should be an education in class, in the legacies and histories of empire and in the self. -- Andrew McMillan * Poetry Book Society Bulletin *

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