Self-Portrait as Othello (Paperback)
  • Self-Portrait as Othello (Paperback)
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Self-Portrait as Othello (Paperback)

(author)
£12.99
Paperback 80 Pages
Published: 30/03/2023
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Waterstones Says

Recasting himself as Shakespeare's iconic character through the urban landscapes of modern-day London, Paris and Venice, Allen-Paissant's audacious collection has profound things to say about identity, vulnerability and the Black male body.

Winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2023

Winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2023

Shortlisted for the Poetry Writers' Prize 2024

Longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2024

Jason Allen-Paisant's debut collection Thinking With Trees won the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for poetry and was an Irish Times and White Review Book of the Year 2021. In Poetry London Maryam Hessavi wrote, 'Jason Allen-Paisant is uncompromising when digging down through the undergrowth of our imperialist past - and yet he succeeds in replanting new narratives in the same soil where these toxic ideologies used to, and still, reside.'

The interlocking poems of his second collection, Self-Portrait as Othello, imagine Othello in the urban landscapes of modern London, Paris and Venice and invent the kinds of narrative he might tell about his intersecting identities. Poetic memoir and ekphrastic experiment, Self-Portrait as Othello focuses on a character at once fictional and real. Othello here represents a structure of feeling that was emerging in seventeenth-century Venice, and is still with us.

Portraiting himself as Othello, Allen-Paisant refracts his European travels and considers the Black male body, its presence, transgressiveness and vulnerabilities. Othello's intertwined identities as 'immigrant' and 'Black', which often operate as mutually reinforcing vectors, speak to us in the landscape of twenty-first-century Europe.

Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd
ISBN: 9781800173101
Number of pages: 80
Dimensions: 216 x 135 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'This indispensable collection explores Shakespeare's pernicious archetype, observing how "the Moor remains invisible, despite the obsession with his body". Yet Allen-Paisant makes the historical impasse an occasion for deep, generous interrogation of masculinity, and a linked elevation of the maternal that is at the heart of so many Caribbean and other families... Enriched by historical research, Self-Portrait As Othello celebrates representation, understanding and speech as acts of glorious resistance.' - Fiona Sampson, The Guardian;'In Jason Allen-Paisant's Self-Portrait as Othello we take a deep dive not only into the formation of a literary self but also into a compelling narrative of the body and its visual history. Brilliantly insightful and strikingly lyrical, it accrues significant emotional heft in its movements from Othello to self and back. But underlying it all is a rich seam of commentary on Othello's subtexts that makes you constantly reconsider who might be the exploiter and who might be the exploited. Exhilarating - I recommend it highly.' - Roger Robinson;'A rich and twisty linguistic collection that finely balances the inner and outer space of black embodiment... a fine, fine accomplishment.' - Raymond Antrobus;'Part I of Self-Portrait as Othello is a tour de force of language slippage in a journey from Jamaica to Paris (the allure of 'French' and Europe, focalising later in the book around Venice). In a fusing of modes of irony and almost painful recollection, Allen-Paisant lets language suggest language, just as conditions suggest conditions... His method is to know language, remake it, call it out, shift into different streams of articulation.' - John Kinsella, Poetry Society

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