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After the Formalities

Anthony Anaxagorou

"After the Formalities sees a poet at the peak of his powers"

shortlisted for the ts eliot prize
shortlisted for the ledbury munthe poetry prize
a poetry society recommendation
guardian poetry books of the year

A knife is pulled. An Uber driver is racially abused. A father bathes his son in ice water. A schoolboy drives a drawing pin into a map of the world.

The threat of violence is never far away in Anthony Anaxagorou’s breakthrough collection After the Formalities. Technically achieved, emotionally transformative and razor-sharp,
these are poems that confront and contradict; poems in which the scholarly synthesises with the streetwise, and global histories are told through the lens of one family.

Anaxagorou ‘speaks against the darkness’, tracking the male body under pressure from political and historical forces, and celebrates the precarious joy of parenthood. The title poem is a meditation on racism and race science that draws on the poet’s Cypriot heritage and is as uncomfortable as it is virtuosic. Elsewhere, in a sequence of prose poems that shimmer with lyric grace, he writes, ‘I’m your father & the only person keeping you alive.’


Our price £7.99
RRP £9.99
Please note: due to the recent change in tax regulations, we are currently unable to ship to EU countries.
108 pages
ISBN 9781908058652
Published 2 September 2019
Cover design: Zigmunds Lapsa


A burning rage with a delicate taste. After the Formalities sees a poet at the peak of his powers, playing with form and style, tone and content, while maintaining a unique voice through a characteristic mix of historical scholarship, and caustic wit.

After the Formalities is a supreme collection. Anaxagorou’s lyrics, mapped over expansive interior and historical landscapes, feels to me as wise and weathered, and it feels to be bringing something totally new to my ear. Solid. The Self and The West catch the hardest blows, but Anaxagorou throws hands critical, bloodied, and tender all so skilfully you can’t help but come out feeling rocked too. The ghosts that haunt this collection have bless it and we are blessed for it.
Danez Smith

There’s a fresh type of originality in After the Formalities; a book funded by a quiet, yet fierce knowing, that weighs its startling imagery and intuitive language with a depth of risk and vulnerability.
Wayne Holloway-Smith

Formal, experimental, dextrous, aural, democratic, radical; what Anaxagorou does in this collection breaches paraphrase. These poems work as poems should: enacting deep thought towards philosophies, and they make me hopeful.
Rachael Allen

Anthony Anaxagorou's After the Formalities is a novel response to anxieties surrounding the growth of the immigrant-descended population, informed by his British and Cypriot heritage. [...] The poet speaks out "against darkness" to a divided nation and seeks the solace of home, whether assigned or adopted.
Jade Cuttle, The Guardian

At once personally redemptive and historically acute [...] Anaxagorou's poems are at their most powerful when they slip into this kind of rapid rattle, the verbs fronted and the clauses lopped of their subjects. The narrative, rather than losing pace with the lanugage, is turned, chewed, stung.
Will Harris, The Poetry Review

A manifesto for a complete, multifaceted masculinity ... makes After the Formalities essential reading for our times.
Katie Mennis, The London Magazine

[Anaxagorou's] crystalline language, brevity, use of space, gaps and silence all commit themselves to accounting for loss, or the "violence in forgetting".
Sandeep Parmar, The Guardian

Anaxagorou probes the themes of masculinity, fatherhood and ethnicity, confronting them head-on ... There are also subtle and tender moments between the poet and his son, where curiosity and vulnerability are celebrated.
Zakia Carpenter-Hall, Poetry London

About the author

Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet, fiction writer, essayist, publisher and poetry educator. His poetry and fiction have appeared on BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 4, ITV, Vice UK, Channel 4 and Sky Arts, and have been published in POETRY, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Granta, The Rialto, Oxford Poetry, Wildness and The Feminist Review. In 2015 he won the Groucho Maverick Award and was shortlisted for the Hospital Club’s H-100 Award for most influential people in writing and publishing. In 2019 he was made an honorary fellow of the University of Roehampton. He has toured extensively in Europe and Australia. Anthony is artistic director of Out-Spoken, a poetry and live music night in London, and publisher of Out-Spoken Press.

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