Toby Martinez de las Rivas

Toby Martinez de las Rivas (b. 1978, Winchester) moved from north-east England to Córdoba after the publication of his first collection, Terror, in 2014. In an interview with Lucy Mercer, he described how the ‘black sun’ of his new collection’s title developed from the small black circles which served as Terror’s section dividers: ‘Some time after Terror went to press I was toying around with images and motifs. I sketched a much larger circle into a document and infilled it with black, and I was suddenly aware of it as a presence separate from me… I found something terrible about it, about its featureless, even, dense nothingness. But I sensed some kind of glory in it, too.’

The poems of Black Sun take their place on that line between terror and glory which characterises the best religious poetry. Asked what advice he would give to his younger self, he writes: ‘Be cautious. Not too cautious. Believe in language’.

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2018 Forward Prizes for Best Collection, shortlisted for Black Sun (Faber & Faber)