Acclaimed poet’s return to QE
November 13, 2014
November 13, 2014
Anthony Anaxagorou (OE 1994-99) is increasingly making a name for himself as a poet, prose writer, playwright, performer and educator. The School welcomed him back to speak to a number of Year 10 classes about his work as both a writer and teacher.
Anthony, who has just published his latest volume of short stories entitled The Blink that Killed the Eye, started writing poetry in his teens. At 17, he won the prestigious Mayor of London's Poetry Slam with his poem Anthropos.
He was initially inclined towards a career in music and studied Music Production at the University of Westminster. Quickly realising that this was not for him – and after a short period supporting himself with odd jobs including warehouse work – he committed himself to working full-time as a poet.
In 2009 he published his first book, Card Not Accepted – a collection of essays, short stories and poetry, all reflecting moments from his life and providing a commentary on western living. In May of that year the MOBO award-winning hip hop artist Akala chose Anthony’s short poem Himself, from the Card Not Accepted collection, to be read out on the BBC Newsnight programme by the actor Damian Lewis:
A man stands inside the noise of the world,
But all he hears is peace,
A man stands inside the stillness of a virgin field,
But all he hears is noise,
All a man ever hears is himself
“We were delighted to receive a visit from Anthony,” said Assistant Head and English teacher, David Ryan. “Much of his work has a social and political edge to it and some of his work is far better than anything we are studying in the GCSE anthology!”
Much of Anthony’s work looks at the spiritual search for inner peace. It also encompasses themes that deal with politics, racism, history and philosophy. His work has attracted increasing admiration and attention and drawn testimonials such as this from The Sunday Times: “Look out for Anthony Anaxagorou … a near-spiritual experience.” and The Evening Standard: “One of the most powerful stage performances I’ve seen.”
Anthony runs creative-writing workshops in schools for the First Story educational trust. The organisation focuses on schools in which more than 50% of pupils are considered deprived, according to the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index. Over the course of an academic year, each writer-in-residence leads weekly after-school workshops for a group of up to 21 pupils. The pupils’ writing is then published in a professionally produced anthology for each school; the schools host book launch events at which the students read their stories to their peers, friends, families and teachers.
He now has eight collections of poetry and short story collections in print. His poetry has appeared on BBC Youth Nation, BBC Newsnight, the British Urban Film Awards, BBC 6 Music and has been performed by Cirque du Soleil. His work has been studied in universities across the USA, the UK and Australia and has been translated into Spanish, Japanese and French.