Thank you for visiting my website.
I was born in London but grew up
mostly in Ethiopia, where my father
worked at the British Embassy in
I have been writing poems off and
on since I was about 12 years old.
Many years later I won first prize in
the Poetry London competition 2001
and second prize in Chroma 2006.
My poems have been published
in some great UK poetry magasines
such as Ambit, Envoi, Magma,
Modern Poetry in Translation,
Poetry London, Rialto, Seam,
Smiths Knoll, Stand, The North,
The Wolf and Wasafiri.
I am also delighted to be a new
Trustee of the Poetry Society
which is based in London.
My first collection of poems,
The Dog Who Thinks He’s a Fish (Smith/Doorstop Books),
came out in 2004 and was described
by Moniza Alvi as ‘a rare delight’.
My new collection, Ethiopia Boy, based around a series of praise shouts and laments for my wonderful childhood friend Abebe, was published by Carcanet/Oxford Poets in February 2013. It received enthusiastic reviews in Poetry London, Poetry Review, Radio 3, Elsewhere, Dura, The Daily Telegraph and online. You can find out more about my search for Abebe on the Carcanet blog: carcanetblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/chris-beckett-looking-for-abebe-cooks.html The beautiful cover image on the book is called Crossing the Water, by Isao Miura.
I have also translated poems by some fascinating Ethiopian poets such as Bewketu Seyoum, Zewdu Milikit, Bedilu Wakjira and Alemu Tebeje, often working with the poets themselves, also with Fasika Ayelew, a wonderful Addis-based poet herself. Some of these translations have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation and Poetry Review. A pamphlet of Bewketu Seyoum's poems in Amharic and English, In Search of Fat, was published by Flipped Eye in June 2012.
I am also collaborating with my partner, the Japanese painter and sculptor Isao Miura, on an exciting multi-media project based on Matsuo Basho's haibun masterpiece The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The book of our show in the Poetry Café in Covent Garden in 2015, Sketches from the Poem Road, was short-listed for the Ted Hughes Award. More details are available on the News page and on our project website: afterbasho.weebly.com/
Good news!! My translation of Alemu Tebeje's lovely poem, Greetings to the People of Europe! (first published in MPT last year) has been chosen by the American artist Jenny Holzer to be projected on public buildings in Aarhus, Denmark, as part of its European City of Culture celebrations. And also at MASS MoCA outside Boston USA from 27 May through June 2017.