4 out of 5 stars

Living between two cultures is not always easy, but it is something that British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus has had to live with, but it is not the only divide he has to manage, he is also deaf so he has to live in his quiet world and interact with the loud world. He has expressed these multifaceted identities in the poems in the book.

There are poems about his father, memories from his childhood and his later dementia. The collection is named after the pub that he sat outside while his father was inside drinking. Some of the poems show just how furious he can be, there is a furious rebuttal of Ted Hughes poems, Deaf School, with the original prose redacted and his response, After Reading ‘Deaf School’ by the Mississippi River and the poem that is a tribute to three women murdered in Haiti, For Jesula Gelin, Vanessa Previl and Monique Vincent.

What language
Would we speak
Without ears?

Nowadays, instead of violence,
I write until everything goes

This is quite a powerful collection, he is justifiable angry, but does not let it become a whinge, rather his energy is directed to raising awareness and making things equal. I liked the addition of sign language amongst the poems too. There are many ways of communicating what we want to say and this collection is another way of doing just that.

Three Favourite Poems
Jamaican British
My Mother Remembers
Happy Birthday Moon

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