Cynthia Miller

Cynthia Miller (b. 1992, Kuching, Malaysia) wrote most of the poems in Honorifics during the ‘heady first-lockdown blur’ of summer 2020, having taken a poetry course which provided rapid-fire daily prompts. ‘I tend to have fallow years where I don’t write anything at all so I’ve had to train myself to write rapidly when it does come’, she writes. ‘Like a horse that’s already running away and I’m just hanging onto a fistful of mane for dear life.’

Miller’s subject-matter includes motherhood, migration and her mixed Chinese-Malaysian heritage, as well as an electrifying sequence on jellyfish. Like the Metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century, she draws her metaphors from everywhere: popular science, cookbooks, sci-fi films. Describing what she most values in the work of her favourite poets, she mentions a restlessness, an alertness, a sense that you never quite ‘know whether you’re going to be sucker punched, seduced or startled by the next line.’


Forward Prizes History:

  • 2021 Forward Prizes for Best First Collection, shortlisted for, Honorifics (Nine Arches Press)