Chris Beckett was born in London, but grew up in Ethiopia where his father worked in the British Embassy. He received a first class degree in modern languages from Oxford University. His poems have been widely published in magazines, and he won first prize in the Poetry London competition 2001. He has also translated Amharic poems by well-known contemporary Ethiopian poets such as Fekade Azeze and Bewketu Seyoum (Modern Poetry in Translation, 2008 and 2012; and a pamphlet, In Search of Fat (Flipped Eye, 2012). He is currently working on translations of later poems by Aime Cesaire, the great French Martinican author of Cahier d'un retour au pays natal.
There is a drive to these poems, a quality of song, a fresh simplicity that neatly sidesteps sentimentality though replete with longing, a feel for the past. Fred D'Aguiar Chris Beckett's poetry is highly original in the way it works with two sharply distinctive traditions in a uniquely engaging style. The language is always fresh and surprising and the sentiments are always heartfelt but in a subtly complex way that raises serious political questions. Daljit Nagra