Winner of the James Berry Poetry Prize
In her award-winning debut collection Kaycee Hill frankly explores coming of age as a woman – and the intricacies of connection and memory – against an urban-pastoral landscape.
Raging with vivid, smoky lyricism and full-blooded imagery, Kaycee Hill’s poems are both a beginning and a continuation. Reflecting on her life and those in it, as well as first-times, underground scenes and the female body, she looks towards what is unflinchingly personal, and also outwards: towards family and strangers, nature and place, and a world that shapeshifts before us.
Hot Sauce is a searing first collection that captures the visceral vulnerabilities of navigating life on the cusp.
‘Kaycee Hill’s urban eco-poems are always awake to the beauty that can be found in unexpected places – from a makeshift bird-feeder to her mother’s "cinnamon stick / fingers busy making roll-ups". In this thrilling first collection, her lyric imagination takes us on a journey through the complexities of coming of age in a small working-class town. The heat of Hill’s sensuous imagery "rages down the throat", searing our tastebuds and leaving us craving more.’ – Aviva Dautch
'From dancehalls, grime raves, to prisons, kitchens and gardens, Kaycee Hill’s poems excavate an archive of memories with synaesthetic dexterity. A robin’s red breast transforms into “the thumping heart of a young naked ash tree”. And queuing crowds become “shoals of black sea bass". These poems of place transform the contemporary into a mythic lyrical landscape, where images like "I felt one hundred hymens breaking like bird’s skulls" conjure up a rich surreal tapestry with dark folkloric undertones. Nature is a vivid backdrop with filmic effect. The iconic music of Sade, Corrine Bailey Rae, Genuine, Diana Ross and the Supremes demarcate era and time. Kaycee Hill’s poems linger on the tongue like hot pepper sauce.' – Malika Booker
Kaycee Hill reads 'COP26 after David Attenborough
Kaycee Hill was one of a number of young poets from The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network invited to respond to Sir David Attenborough’s speech at the opening of COP26 in Glasgow on 1 November 2021. Inspired by Sir David’s words calling world leaders to action, this poem was written in immediate response to his speech to underline his urgent message about the climate crisis.
Kaycee Hill reads 'Makeshift' (Young Poets Network, After Sylvia)
Kaycee Hill's poem 'Makeshift' was commended in the After Sylvia poetry challenge on The Poetry Society's Young Poets Network. To mark the 90th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's birth, poets aged 25 and younger worldwide were invited to create poems inspired by the Plathian themes of nature and magic, and Plath's work.
James Berry Poetry Prize reading
The three winners of the inaugural James Berry Poetry Prize were announced at an NCLA online event on 28 October 2021: Kaycee Hill, Marjorie Lotfi and Yvette Siegert. Hosted by two of the judges, Jacob Sam-La Rose and Theresa Muñoz, the event also featured four other shortlisted poets. The three winners each received year-long mentoring during 2021-22 plus £1000 and publication of their first book-length collections by Bloodaxe in 2023. They read in turn from 30:04.
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