Winner of A Somerset Maugham Award 2023. Winner of An Eric Gregory Award 2023. Winner of the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize 2023. Longlisted for the Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2023. By reimagining episodes from Homer's Odyssey, Jay Gao's highly anticipated debut collection, Imperium, introduces an innovative talent whose work cuts across poetic traditions, traversing mythic cartographies and imperial formations. Exploring forms of absolute and intimate power, Imperium is an imaginative meditation on how the past lives on in the present by way of, and beyond, a global poetics of diaspora.
'Nuanced, challenging, sometimes hilarious, often anguished, this impressive reimagining of The Odyssey makes for an unforgettable road trip; Gao's Odysseus is a nervy and compelling traveller, a sort of non-hero, itinerant and always somewhat lost. Waylaid with Gao in hotel bars and tour buses, we are estranged, sensitized as we go to the dislocations and non-belonging of children of the world's diasporas, and also to the structures of appropriation and exploitation embedded in travel. We are all conditioned and implicated; but perhaps this acute and attentive Odysseus is exactly who we need to help us listen to the buried histories of Imperialism, to "wait a little differently, mourn a / little more".' - Fiona Benson;'These poems reject the heroism of the legible "I". If a central figure emerges it might be that of the Anti-Translator, not there to disclose personal information but to reveal the bareness of our "corpse-lives". Jay Gao's Imperium marks a new chapter in British poetry, bringing to bear a new complexity, richness of thought and influence.' - Will Harris
- Winner of A Somerset Maugham Award 2023
- Winner of An Eric Gregory Award 2023
- Winner of The Michael Murphy Memorial Prize 2023
- Short-listed for The Anglo-Hellenic League Runciman Award 2023