House of Lords and Commons – Ishion Hutchinson


What nerve and music his poems possess, how beautifully they chart the poet s search. “House of Lords and Commons” begins the mythology of a great voice.

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House of Lords and Commons

In House of Lords and Commons, Whiting Writers’ award winning poet Ishion Hutchinson, returns to the difficult beauty of the Jamaican landscape with remarkable lyric precision. Here, the poet holds his world in full focus but at an astonishing angle. From the violence of the seventeenth-century English Civil War as refracted through a mythic sea wanderer, right down to the dark interior of love.

These poems arrange the contemporary continuum of home and abroad into a wonderment of cracked narrative sequences and tumultuous personae. With ears tuned to the vernacular, the collection vividly binds us to what is terrifying about happiness, loss, and the lure of the sea. House of Lords and Commons testifies to the particular courage it takes to wade unsettled, uncertain, and unfettered in the wake of our shared human experience.

Here’s an extract from one of the poems called ‘Punishment’

All the dead eyes of the dead
on portraits behind her looked
down as she ate donuts off
a cloth napkin, her mouth
sugared. I saw myself possessed
by myself in her glasses’ milky
lens that possessed the globe
on her desk, a Quaker gift the former
principal, dead but not yet a
portrait, left with Africa
spun towards us. She swallowed,
Then asked why I was here
I told her, for intimations

She stopped mid-chew, surplice
of sugar danced at the down curl
of her lips. She said excuse me.
I continued: for immortality.

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