Hannah Lowe

Posted in Articles, Audio, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2022-01-12 01:34Z by Steven

Hannah Lowe

Writers Mosaic
August 2020

Hannah Lowe was born in Essex in 1976 to a white English mother and Afro-Chinese Jamaican father. She studied American Literature at the University of Sussex, followed by an MA in Refugee Studies. She undertook her PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in 2012.

Broadly, Lowe’s work is concerned with migration histories, multicultural London and the complex legacies of the British Empire. Her first poetry collection, Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013), blended these political concerns with a deeply personal and elegiac commemoration of her father, a member of the Windrush generation, who earnt a living in London through playing cards and dice. Her second collection, Chan (Bloodaxe, 2016), expanded these explorations of family in writing about the life and untimely death of her father’s cousin, the jazz saxophonist, Joe Harriott. In this book, Lowe developed a new poetic form – the ‘borderliner’ – which uses typography and double narration to explore ideas about multi-heritage experiences. Lowe’s work is often concerned with historical omissions, and in Ormonde, (Hercules Editions, 2014), she excavates the story of the SS Ormonde, on which her father migrated, and which arrived in Britain before the better known Empire Windrush. Most recently she has published the chapbook, The Neighbourhood, (Outspoken Press, 2019), which explores how communities respond to the pressures of austerity, gentrification and deportation. Her third full-length collection, The Kids, inspired by her work as an inner-city sixth form teacher, won the 2021 Costa Poetry Award…

Read the entire article here.

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Borderliners

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Audio, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-07-13 21:38Z by Steven

Borderliners

BBC Radio 4
2019-07-06

In a new poem for Radio 4, Hannah Lowe explores the mysteries surrounding the lives of her Chinese Jamaican family.

The term ‘borderliner’ was once a derogatory term for having mixed heritage. “Between ‘bi-racial’ and ‘bounty,'” Hannah writes, “I find the label ‘borderliner’ which the dictionary tells me, means uncertain or debatable.” Using this term and its troubling history as the basis for a new poetic form, the poem reflects on borders and borderlines, both physical and psychological.


Hannah Lowe

Drawing on half-memories and imagined images from her family history, Hannah Lowe re-creates moments from the lives of her Jamaican Chinese father who came to the UK by ship in 1947 and became a professional gambler, her Chinese grandfather who moved to Jamaica as a legacy of indentured labour in the Caribbean, and most elusive of all the mystery surrounding the life of her Jamaican grandmother of whom she has only one photograph.

Producer: Jo Wheeler
Reader: Burt Caesar

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Listen to the story (00:27:39) here.

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Tangled Roots: Real Life Stories from Mixed Race Britain

Posted in Anthologies, Autobiography, Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-05-30 21:51Z by Steven

Tangled Roots: Real Life Stories from Mixed Race Britain

Tangled Roots
2015-12-11
205 pages
ISBN: 978-0993482403

Edited by:

Katy Massey

12% of UK households are mixed race. These are our stories.

The Tangled Roots book brings together over 30 writers to answer the question: What is life like for mixed families in Britain today?

Five leading authors—Bernardine Evaristo MBE, Sarfraz Manzoor, Charlotte Williams OBE, Diana Evans and Hannah Lowetogether with 27 members of the public tell the story of their mixed lives with heart-breaking honesty, humour and compassion.

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Chan, poetry by Hannah Lowe

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-01-16 20:20Z by Steven

Chan, poetry by Hannah Lowe

The Asian Review of Books
2017-01-08

Theophilus Kwek

From the gangplank of a pre-war steamship to the present, via the jazz underground of 1960s London, Hannah Lowe’s rewarding second collection revels in the company of an unlikely crew of voices and personalities. Chan takes its name from the poet’s father (nicknamed, in turn, after the Polish card magician Chan Canasta) but does not shy away from the older resonances of the word, tracing these back into her Hakka heritage and the journeys of a global diaspora. Along the way, the poems investigate lives that intersect with Lowe’s personal history, no matter how brief the acquaintance: from the magnetic jazz saxophonist Joe Harriott, her father’s first cousin, to the travellers and stowaways who join Gilbert Lowe on the SS Ormonde in 1947 as it sails from Kingston to Liverpool

Read the entire review here.

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Chan by Hannah Lowe

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-12-30 23:59Z by Steven

Chan by Hannah Lowe

The London Magazine
2016-12-08

Amanda Merritt

Hannah Lowe’s latest collection of poetry Chan (Bloodaxe, 2016) revisits the characters and stories from her first collection, Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013), which won the Michaels Murphy memorial Award for Best First Collection, and was short-listed for the Forward, Aldeburgh and Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prizes. Named one of the 20 Next Generation poets, the bar variably has been set for her second collection. With remarkable ease Chan surpasses all expectations. Dealing directly with the issues of poverty, (im)migration and marginalisation, Lowe braids the experiences of famous jazz musicians, her own family and newly arrived British immigrants of the 1950s throughout this musically accomplished narrative that spans continents and generations.

The collection is divided into three parts. The first, What I Play is Out the Window, pays homage to the lives of  jazz musicians Joe Harriott, Charles Mingus, Shake Keane and Phil Seamen. Lowe opens the book with the personification of her mother, who had once been Joe Harriott’s girlfriend. By introducing the connection between her family and the world of jazz in this way, Lowe achieves a subtle tone of nostalgia while also painting the backdrop against which the life of Joe Harriott, and his cousin, nick-named ‘Chan’, plays:

Those days decades in history
when men like Joe and my father were shadows
on English streets…

Yet, instead of simply imagining the part of her mother or father in events that predate her, Lowe also introduces her own, lived experience in ‘Partita, 1968’, not only exploring the relationship between music and memory, but also excavating the layers of family narrative left behind by each generation—material that features predominantly in her work…

Read the entire review here.

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Chan

Posted in Biography, Books, Media Archive, Poetry, United Kingdom on 2016-06-23 18:09Z by Steven

Chan

Bloodaxe Books
2016-06-23
72 pages
234 x 156 mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781780372839
E-book ISBN: 9781780372846

Hannah Lowe

Chan is a mercurial name, representing the travellers and shape-shifters of the poems in this collection. It is one of the many nicknames of Hannah Lowe’s Chinese-Jamaican father, borrowed from the Polish émigré card magician Chan Canasta. It is also a name from China, where her grandfather’s story begins. Alongside these figures, there’s Joe Harriott, the Jamaican alto saxophonist, shaking up 1960s London; a cast of other long-lost family; and a ship full of dreamers sailing from Kingston to Liverpool in 1947 on the SS Ormonde.

Hannah Lowe’s second collection follows her widely acclaimed debut, Chick, which took readers on a journey round her father, a gambler who disappeared at night to play cards or dice in London’s old East End to support his family.

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Understanding and Hearing the Afro-Asian Atlantic

Posted in Africa, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2016-03-28 01:24Z by Steven

Understanding and Hearing the Afro-Asian Atlantic

Princeton University African American Studies
2016-03-21

Presenters: Tao Leigh Goffe, Kerry Young, Hannah Lowe, Randy Chin, and John Kuo Wei Tchen

A panel exploring the intersections of literature, reggae, and the relationships between the minority Chinese community in the Caribbean and the majority Afro-Caribbean community

This panel will be moderated by Tao Leigh Goffe (Princeton University) and John Kuo Wei Tchen (NYU)

In this dialogue, panelists Randy Chin, Kerry Young, and Hannah Lowe will discuss the African and Asian cultural heritage of the Caribbean in music and writing. Exploring the legacy of enslaved African labor and Chinese indentured labor in the Caribbean, Young and Lowe craft narratives that reconstruct and trouble colonial history. The region’s history cannot be fully understood without listening to its rich musical tradition. Chin will talk about the role of Jamaican Chinese businessmen in the production of reggae music and mobile soundsystems. He will also talk about his storied career in the reggae music industry, which began when his parents Vincent and Patricia Chin founded VP Records in Jamaica in 1979. The currents of the Black Atlantic and the overseas Chinese converge in Caribbean music but also in Young and Lowe’s novels and poetry that tackle themes such as intimacies out of wedlock, masculinities, abandonment, and criminality set in Kingston, Jamaica’s Chinatown and gambling dens in London’s East End. In these cultural texts, Jamaican patois and southern Chinese dialects are sometimes woven together to construct new narrative forms of the Afro-Asian experience in the Americas.

Together with historian John Kuo Wei Tchen and literary scholar Tao Leigh Goffe, panelists will discuss the tensions and intimacies between the minority Chinese community in the Caribbean and the majority Afro-Caribbean community. Other themes to be explored include representations of blackness and Chineseness in Caribbean diasporic literature and music.

This event is part of the Campus Conversations on Identities and is co-sponsored by the Department of African American Studies, the Program in American Studies, the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Asian American Students’ Association, and the Princeton Caribbean Connection (PCC).

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12 British Poets Share Their Favourite Poems For #NationalPoetryDay

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-10-08 18:49Z by Steven

12 British Poets Share Their Favourite Poems For #NationalPoetryDay

BuzzFeed
2015-10-08

Fiona Rutherford, BuzzFeed News Reporter
London, England

3. Rachel Long


Amaal Said

Age: 26

Themes in your work: Sexuality, growing up, hurt, mixed parentage, love, eating disorders, death, dreams.

Favourite poem: Impossible to choose. I’ve sat here for a half hour with fingers over keys or in my hair. I can’t call it between: “In The Book of The Disappearing Book” by John Gallaher, “The Ugly Daughter” by Warsan Shire, “Snow” by David Berman, “Sex Without Love” by Sharon Olds, and “Of August” by Karen McCarthy Woolf.

What comes to mind when you think of the word “light”? Marlboro, that sunrise, a macro photograph of oestrogen taken by science photographer Lennart Nilsson that looks like a firework. It was stunning to see, and to know that we have this exploding, all the time, on the inside of our bodies…

5. Hannah Lowe


Tim Ridley

Age: 39

Themes in your work: Working-class lives, multiculturalism, London, migration, diaspora.

Favourite poem: “The Mercy” by Philip Levine – one of many favourites.

What comes to mind when you think of the word “light”? Funnily enough, electric lights come to mind rather than daylight. I’m thinking of the way we light the night. It must be living in London… street lights, neon signs, security lights. From my back window I look out over Wood Green and Tottenham, all the way to Walthamstow, and there’s a real clatter of light out there, from houses and flats, office blocks, sometimes a star or two…

Read the entire article here.

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High Yellow

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive on 2015-08-30 02:04Z by Steven

High Yellow

Poetry Foundation
October 2014

Hannah Lowe

Errol drives me to Treasure Beach It’s an old story, the terrible storm
swerving the dark country roads the ship going down, half the sailors
I think about what you will be, your mix drowned, half swimming the
white, black, Chinese, and your father’s slate waves, spat hard onto shore
Scottish-Englishness…

Read the entire poem here.

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Long Time No See: A memoir of fathers, daughters and games of chance

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Novels, United Kingdom on 2015-07-28 15:02Z by Steven

Long Time No See: A memoir of fathers, daughters and games of chance

Periscope
2015-07-24
336 pages
204mm x 138mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781859643969

Hannah Lowe

Hannah Lowe’s father “Chick”, a half-Chinese, half-black Jamaican immigrant, worked long hours at night to support his family – except Chick was no ordinary working man. A legendary gambler, he would vanish into the shadows of East London to win at cards or dice, returning during the daylight hours to greet the daughter whose love and respect he courted.

In this poignant memoir, Lowe calls forth the unstable world of card sharps, confidence men and small-time criminals that eventually took its toll on Chick. She also evokes her father’s Jamaica, where he learned his formidable skills, and her own coming of age in a changing Britain.

Long Time No See speaks eloquently of love and its absence, regret and compassion, and the struggle to know oneself.

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