Lemn Sissay’s traumatic childhood has informed much of the work he has created. Ripped away from his Ethiopian mother in infancy, he endured over a decade of mistreatment and wilful cruelty in the British care system. The heartache and anger of his youth alternate in his poetry with lighter, whimsical aphorisms and celebrations of place, particularly his beloved Manchester. A restless polymath – poet, playwright, musician, producer, stand-up comedian – he tours relentlessly, bringing his distinctive brand of performance poetry to the nation. He is author of five collections of poetry as well as numerous stage and radio plays and has cemented his reputation as an urgent yet compassionate voice in British cultural life.
Sumptuously presented as a gold and black Canongate canon, this career retrospective from Lemn Sissay’s verse pulses with the energy and dynamism of his spectacular live performances. Spanning a 33-year period the collection includes iconic works written for public ceremonies alongside personal verse informed by a childhood of hardship and a keen sense of social justice.