Will Harris (b. 1989, London) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2018: the poem, SAY, is one of the centrepieces of RENDANG, drawing together many of Harris’s concerns: family, borders, transience, ‘the need for a voice capacious enough to be both me and not-me / while always clearly being me’. (He has written elsewhere, in the long essay Mixed-Race Superman, that ‘the mixed-race person grows up to see the self as something strange and shifting’.)
Writing on RENDANG in the Guardian, Joanna Lee has described how it ‘leans into a vocabulary all of its own, and announces itself as an artefact that will not be dislodged’; a good metaphor for the way Harris’s poems frequently build themselves around some undislodged irritation, like the grain of sand which produces a pearl. In 2019, Harris received a Poetry Fellowship from the Arts Foundation.
Forward Prizes History:
Photo credit: Etienne Gilfillan