Rachel Long (b. 1988, London) is the founder of Octavia Poetry Collective for Womxn of Colour, based at the Southbank Centre. She began writing poetry after attending a workshop with Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, a transformative experience she describes as ‘radically intimate, and yet simultaneously expansive. I’ve been writing poems since I left that room.’
In My Darling from the Lions Long writes on love, the family, sexual politics – broad subjects, treated with a pin-sharp attention to the local and specific (an estate ‘built like Tetris’, the ‘lit throat of a candle’). Her advice for poets starting out is to ‘listen to the poems more than the noise around you; find good teachers, honour them, make good friends, create a space for yourself and for them.’
Read a review of My Darling from the Lions in The Guardian and by Martyn Crucefix.
Read Rachel Long in conversation with Roger Robinson in The Guardian and in conversation with Morgan Parker in Granta.
Forward Prize History:
Photo credit: Amaal Said