Holly Pester

Holly Pester (b. 1982, Colchester) began writing poetry when she was a receptionist in her early twenties, ‘and would do anything to make the time go by’. She went on from there to the East London experimental art and poetry scene, making DIY books for zine bookshops and reading and performing with props including an electric hand-whisk and a homemade harp. ‘I’ve done a lot of things and publications already, sound works, performances, chapbooks, radio works, talks, events, works that have completely disappeared now’, Pester writes. ‘It’s lovely to work in an unprofessional order!’

In a 2019 essay, ‘The Politics of Delivery (Against Poet Voice)’, Pester describes a radical prosody, one which ‘creates spaces and moments for what can be said. The poets I listen out for recreate that space through an insubordinate rhythm against the condition of the day.’ Comic Timing enacts that description, creating a space for rage, for the ‘bodily-yet-politicised experience’.

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2021 Forward Prizes for Best First Collection, shortlisted for Comic Timing (Granta Poetry)
  • 2019 Forward Prizes for Best Single Poem, shortlisted for ‘Comic Timing’ (Granta Magazine)