Penned acquires two new poetry books from ‘master of the unexpected’ Luke Kennard

Blog / Tom Chivers

A reimagining of Shakespeare, Notes on the Sonnets, to be published in April 2021, with Jonah scheduled for autumn 2022.

In Notes on the Sonnets (April 2021) critically acclaimed poet Luke Kennard recasts Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets as a series of anarchic prose poems set in the same crowded but mournful house party. Wry, insolent and self-eviscerating at turns, Notes on the Sonnets will be released on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23rd, and confirms Kennard as ‘a master of the unexpected’ (Leaf Arbuthnot, TLS).  

A follow-up to the critically acclaimed Cain (2016), Jonah (Autumn 2022) reimagines, retells and resets the story of the least willing of the reluctant prophets from every available angle. Cain was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and described by Alan Hollinghurst as ‘the cleverest and funniest thing I’ve read this year.’  

Luke Kennard has published five collections of poetry. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2005 and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2007. He lectures at the University of Birmingham. In 2014 he was selected by the Poetry Book Society as one of the Next Generation Poets. His debut novel, The Transition, was published in 2017 by Fourth Estate.  

Editor Tom Chivers says, ‘No one writes quite like Luke Kennard. His poems are dizzying, caustic and often very, very funny, whether he’s writing about love, marriage, God, dark matter or a sad horse. I don’t know what Shakespeare would have made of Notes on the Sonnets, but he can’t really complain given how much he also liked to create poetry by recycling other people’s stories.’

Penned in the Margins has acquired World rights direct from the author.

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