What does / it mean / to answer / to a / misnomer; / to feel / the cold / air between / being and / being seen? – Kayo Chingonyi, from Heirlooms
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About Kayo Chingonyi
Kayo Chingonyi was born in Zambia and moved to the UK at the age of six. A poet, producer, DJ, and critic, his talent was nurtured on The Complete Works mentoring scheme initiated by Bernardine Evaristo to foster equality and excellence in British poetry.
He has a BA in English literature from the University of Sheffield, and an MA in creative writing from Royal Holloway, University of London; he was a Burgess Fellow at the Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester, and went on to become Poetry Editor for The White Review, and an assistant professor of creative writing at Durham University.
In 2012 he received a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for his poem ‘calling a spade a spade.’ That year Chingonyi published his first poetry pamphlet, Some Bright Elegance (Salt), which was followed by The Colour of James Brown’s Scream (Akashic) in 2016.
His first full-length collection, Kumukanda – ‘the name given to the rites a young boy from the Luvale tribe must pass through before he is considered a man’, was published by Chatto & Windus in 2017. It won the Dylan Thomas Prize, a Somerset Maugham Award, and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize. It was also shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize, the Roehampton Poetry Prize, the Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize, and a Ted Hughes Award.
His second collection, A Blood Condition (Chatto & Windus), ‘a hymn to the people and places that run in our blood’, was published in 2021. It was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot, Forward, and Costa Poetry Prizes.
Recordings made at The Boathouse, Leeds on January 21st, 2022. Photography credit: Smart Banda.
Poems by Kayo Chingonyi
The last night of my 20s - Kayo Chingonyi
The Colour of James Brown’s Scream - Kayo Chingonyi
Guy’s and St Thomas’s - Kayo Chingonyi
How To Cry - Kayo Chingonyi
Some Bright Elegance - Kayo Chingonyi
Books by Kayo Chingonyi
Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for ‘Calling a Spade a Space’Prize website
Somerset Maughan Prize for ‘Kumukanda’Prize website
‘Kumukanda’ shortlisted for the Costa Poetry PrizePrize website
‘Kumukanda’ shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry PrizePrize website
‘Kumukanda’ shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney First Collection prizePrize website
‘Kumukanda’ shortlisted for the Ted Hughes AwardPrize website
‘Kumukanda’ shortlisted for the Jhalak PrizePrize website
Dylan Thomas Prize for ‘Kumukanda’Prize website