Far District, the transporting debut from the author of House of Lords and Commons, is structured as the spiritual journey of a poet-speaker caught between two cultures. As childhood memory is grafted to the world of imagination – shaped by books, art, music and travel – the two come together to develop a new vision of what ‘home’ might offer.
‘Far District is a classic, which is to say a rare and exemplary first book. This book is striking for the way Ishion Hutchinson’s gorgeously textured language – shanty-zinc, asthmatic whirl, poincianas – stretches over far-reaching narratives of landscape and culture. With an ear “tuned to the blue above and below” he captures the physical rhythms of his native Jamaica as well as the broader, metaphysical rhythms of distance and displacement, “of [travelling] the narrow bridge separating” past and present.’ PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry
‘At once biography and autobiography, generous with its thinking and observations . . . the poems are urgent, authentic, deeply felt, and beautifully shaped. It is rare to find such achievement in a first collection, where an author writes from a place of humility in the face of literary tradition. His work possesses high artistic merit; his love of world literature suffuses his lines and spurs his ambition. This collection is a true work of alchemy.’ Whiting Awards