London poet Raymond Antrobus was considered to be dyslexic with severe learning disabilities until his deafness was discovered at the age of six, BBC News reports.
Now he has won the Ted Hughes Award for new work in poetry. He has won the £5,000 prize for his first collection, The Perseverance.
The judges praised it as “transformative writing creating a new cultural landscape.”
“Antrobus makes us hear between the lines through poems well-crafted with emotional intelligence. This collection’s critique of the supremacy of the sonic world opened new doors and gave us new insights,” they said.
Here is one of his poems, titled “Echo.”
My ear amps whistle like they are singing
to Echo, goddess of noise,
the raveled knot of tongues,
of blaring birds, consonant crumbs
of dull doorbells, sounds swamped
in my misty hearing aid tubes.
Gaudí believed in holy sound
and built a cathedral to contain it,
pulling hearing men from their knees
as though atheism is a kind of deafness.
Who would turn down God?
Even though I have not heard
the golden decibels of angels,
I have been living in a noiseless
palace where the doorbell is pulsating
light and I am able to answer.