Announcing “RENDANG”

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“Harris’s poems turn the utterance back to ourselves, opening a dialogue between us, our modernity, the depth of our loss and the weight of our remembering. Where epithets rend memory from the moment, the artefacts of wounds heal themselves through a weft of irony, weaving language into a hard-earned scar.” —Sandeep Parmar

In RENDANG, Will Harris complicates and experiments with the lyric in a way that urges it forward. With an unflinching yet generous eye, RENDANG is a collection that engages equally with the pain and promise of self-perception. Drawing on his Anglo-Indonesian heritage, Harris shows us new ways to think about the contradictions of identity and cultural memory. He creates companions that speak to us in multiple languages; they sit next to us on the bus, walk with us through the crowd, and talk to us while we’re chopping shallots. They deftly ask us to consider how and what we look at, as well as what we don’t look at and why.

Playing eruditely with and querying structures of narrative, with his use of the long poem, the image, ekphrasis, and ruptured forms, RENDANG is a startling new take on the self, and how an identity is constructed. It is intellectual and accessible, moving and experimental, and combines a linguistic innovation with a deep emotional rooting.

sample poem from book

WILL HARRIS is a London based poet of Anglo-Indonesian heritage. He’s the author of the critically acclaimed Mixed-Race Supermanand All This is Implied, winner of the LRB Bookshop Poetry Pick for best pamphlet. In 2016, he was part of an Evening Standardfeature on the ‘new guard’ of London poets; he was shortlisted for the 2017 Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize, and the 2018 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem for ‘SAY’ (Poetry Review). He was awarded a Poetry Fellowship from the Arts Foundation in 2019. He has published with the Guardian, the London Review of Books, Granta, The Poetry Review, and The White Review, among others.