Award-winning poet Jenny Mitchell returns to Manchester Poetry Library to read from her third collection Resurrection of a Black Man. Having joined the Poetry Library online last year to celebrate the Aryamati Poetry Prize 2021, which she won for her poem, ‘Imagining A Forest Made Of Freedom’, Jenny Mitchell appeared at MPL in person in May to read from her first two prize-winning collections, Her Lost Language and Map Of A Plantation; both books are on the syllabus of Manchester Metropolitan University.
Jenny Mitchell appeared at MPL in person in May to read from her first two prize-winning collections, Her Lost Language and Map Of A Plantation; both books are on the syllabus of Manchester Metropolitan University.
Resurrection of a Black Man offers contemporary poems about male family dynamics – the peace, the violence, the fault lines – “using language,” says the blurb, “that aims to transcend global trauma, and reach into the healing heart, creating men whose words fall out as petals”. This collection contains the winners of the inaugural Ironbridge Prize 2022, the Gloucester Poetry Society Open Competition and the Fosseway Prize.
Jenny Mitchell has been nominated twice for the Forward Prize: Best Single Poem, and she is winner of the Poetry Book Awards 2021, the Bedford Prize, the Ware Prize and joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize 2019. Her poems have have been widely published, including in Magma, The Rialto, The Morning Star, The New European and The Interpreter’s House, as well as several anthologies, such as Time and Tide published by Arachne Press, and from which she can be seen reading her poem ‘Church Mary Sounds The Sea’ at the Solstice Shorts Festival in 2019. Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC2 and she has performed in Italy, France and regularly in London. As Artist in Association at Birkbeck, University of London, she is working on a novel, The Abundance of Water, as well as a project creating a series of poems re-telling the story of Jane Eyre from the perspective of a free woman of colour in the 19th century.
Her second collection Map Of A Plantation is winner of the international Poetry Book Awards 2021, given to the best poetry books produced by indie writers, self-published authors or books published by small independent presses. It was chosen as a Literary Find in the Irish Independent and a Poetry Kit Book of the Month. The collection is described as “giving] voice to contrasting characters on a Jamaican cane plantation in order to examine the widespread and ongoing impact of enslavement. These poems are both tender and uncompromising, always seeking to use the past to heal present-day legacies of a contested and emotive history.”
Poet Roy McFarlane says: “Map Of A Plantation details the symbiotic relationship between enslaved people and enslavers – harrowing, disturbing and heart-rending. There’s no hiding from the violence but there’s also a ‘tiny eden’ flowered with love of a mother and memories of being loved. A joy to read, this book is a spiritual parchment of pain that transforms into a wild dance of hope.”
Jenny Mitchell’s best-selling debut collection, Her Lost Language, is joint winner of the Geoff Stevens’ Memorial Poetry Prize and it was voted one of the Books of 2019 (Poetry Wales) and was a Jhalak Prize #bookwelove recommendation. An exploration of the impact of British transatlantic enslavement on black lives and family dynamics, the poems in it are said to combine grounded realism with imaginative empathy on a journey from the Caribbean to Britain. “At the heart of the collection is the belief in the power of stories to ‘liberate’ the voice in order to help heal a collective future.”