Ishion Hutchinson is the author of two poetry collections: Far District and House of Lords and Commons, which won the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award. His works have appeared in several anthologies and journals such as Poetry, Prairie Schooner, the Nation, Granta, the Common, the Poetry Review (UK), Ploughshares, and the Caribbean Review of Books. He is a contributing editor to the literary journal Tongue.
House of Lords and Commons is a collection that traces the landscapes of memory, childhood and the author’s native Jamaica. “It is ragged and fiercely beautiful. Its double-edged language is both inviting and unsettling,” says Tess Taylor, NPR Poetry Reviewer. “Hutchinson’s poems are the skeins a thinker makes of trouble, of inequality, of global travel, of lost time.”
Hutchinson says he was drawn to storytelling in his youth. “I did not read a lot as a child because books were not readily available—neither was television, nor other forms of entertainment. The natural substitute was storytelling…” he says in a Q&A in the Paris Review. “But I am not telling a story, in the chief sense of the word, when making a poem. My concern then is with the integrity of the language, its music and shape in relationship to the images and credible feelings that cannot be left out.”
Hutchinson is the recipient of a Whiting Award in poetry, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and the Larry Levis Memorial Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, he moved to the United States in 2006 for graduate studies. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of the West Indies, an MFA degree from New York University, and a doctorate degree from the University of Utah. He currently lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches in the graduate writing program at Cornell University.
House of Lords and Commons (2016)
The Garden (2013)
Far District (2010)
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Ishion Hutchinson’s website
“Ishion Hutchinson, Post-Postcolonial Poet” in the New Yorker
Q&A with Hutchinson in the Paris Review
Review of Hutchinson’s The Garden in Kirkus Reviews
Review of House of Lords and Commons on NPR’s All Things Considered
Video: Hutchinson at the 2017 Jaipur Literature Festival