Shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Prize for Best First Collection.
Hannah Lowe’s first full collection of poems Chick takes you on a journey round her father, a Chinese-black Jamaican migrant who disappeared at night to play cards or dice in London's old East End to support his family, an unstable and dangerous existence that took its toll on his physical and mental health. 'Chick' was his gambling nickname. A shadowy figure in her childhood, Chick was only half known to her until she entered the night world of the old man as a young woman. The name is the key to poems concerned with Chick's death, the secret history of his life in London, and her perceptions of him as a father. With London as their backdrop, Hannah Lowe's deeply personal narrative poems are often filmic in effect and brimming with sensory detail in their evocations of childhood and coming-of-age, love and loss of love, grief and regret.
‘Here is a poet with a commanding style; her voice is entirely her own, both rich and laconic. These are poems springing from the page with vitality, rue and insight. Her elegies are restrained and devastating. An extraordinary debut’ – Penelope Shuttle.
'Though all the poems have a strong, vividly cinematographic line, they are also beautifully lyrical – sung stories, offering us the glimpsed lives of strangers and lovers. But however poignant and moving it may be, the collection remains doggedly celebratory of life itself, of people and place, loved and remembered. Each poem takes us a little further into the mystery of lives in a world that is as incomprehensible as it is unforgettable. This is an outstanding, unputdownable first collection' – John Glenday.
Hannah Lowe was born in Ilford to an English mother and Jamaican-Chinese father. She has lived in London, Brighton and Santa Cruz, California. She studied American Literature at the University of Sussex and has a Masters degree in Refugee Studies. She has worked as a teacher of literature and creative writing, and is now living in Newcastle studying for a PhD. Her pamphlet The Hitcher (The Rialto, 2011) was widely praised.