Westbourne scoops slam poet's 'subversive' collection

Westbourne scoops slam poet's 'subversive' collection

The Westbourne Press is to publish Joelle Taylor's poetry collection Cunto and Other Poems next summer. 

Taylor is the founder of SLAMbassadors, the Poetry Society's Youth championship, and is the host and co-curator of Out-Spoken, a poetry and music club. The collection will be released in conjunction with her new national solo tour. 

The publisher acquired the Cunto and Other Poems from Laura MacDougall at United Agents. 

Publisher Lynn Gaspard said: "Joelle Taylor is a pioneer of the British spoken word scene who, for decades, has electrified audiences, both in the UK and internationally, with her searing, awe-inspiring poetry. In Cunto and Other Poems, she writes viscerally and fearlessly, revealing hidden stories of love, solidarity, misogyny and homophobia from the underground lesbian culture. Intelligent, fierce and deeply affecting, this breakthrough collection from one of our best poets is ultimately a hopeful and powerful celebration and protest story."

The work tells the story of the "subversive butch counterculture that has been missing from the LGBTQ+ narrative". Inspired by her own experiences and part-imagined, the poems explore the 1990s underground London lesbian scene. 

Commenting on the new collection and its political conotations, Taylor said: "When I came out as gay, it was still illegal. A male school friend was sent to Borstal for cottaging, and I spent some time in a psychiatric unit. I grew up believing I was the wrong shape for this world. After the Conservative government passed Section 28, as a visible butch lesbian, I was forced underground, where this book is set. I’m thrilled to be working with the progressive and innovative Westbourne Press to bring this book to life. Bring it on."

The Westbourne Press, an imprint of Saqi Books, will publish the collection on 1st June 2021.