Hannah Lowe poem on Radio 4
Borderliners, BBC Radio 4, Sunday 30 June 2019, 4.30pm
A new poem by Hannah Lowe was broadcast on Radio 4 on 30 June as a half-hour radio feature with music. It was introduced by Hannah Lowe and read by her together with Burt Caesar. It covers some of the territory explored in Hannah’s two Bloodaxe collections Chan and Chick, which focused on the life and background of her Jamaican Chinese father – a professional gambler – who came to Britain from Kingston Jamaica in 1947 on the SS Ormonde. Hannah Lowe's father is pictured above right.
‘In a new poem for Radio 4, Hannah Lowe explores the mysteries surrounding the lives of her Chinese Jamaican family. The term 'borderliner' was once a derogatory term for having mixed heritage. "Between 'bi-racial' and 'bounty,'" Hannah writes, "I find the label 'borderliner' which the dictionary tells me, means uncertain or debatable." Using this term and its troubling history as the basis for a new poetic form, the poem reflects on borders and borderlines, both physical and psychological. Drawing on half-memories and imagined images from her family history, Hannah Lowe re-creates moments from the lives of her Jamaican Chinese father who came to the UK by ship in 1947 and became a professional gambler, her Chinese grandfather who moved to Jamaica as a legacy of indentured labour in the Caribbean, and most elusive of all the mystery surrounding the life of her Jamaican grandmother of whom she has only one photograph.’
Available until 6 August 2019: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006dnr
[03 July 2019]