Peter Barlow’s Cigarette & Carcanet present ~ Jay Gao & Jee Leong Koh

  • DATE

    21 August 2022

  • TIME

    4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome


    Free, but booking advised


    The Pen and Pencil
    Fourways House, 57 Hilton Street, Manchester, M1 2EJ

An afternoon of alternative poetries. 4.00 – 6.00pm, The Pen and Pencil, 57 Hilton Street. Free entry, but booking strongly advised.

This reading will also be livestreamed on zoom ~ a link will be sent out ahead of the event.



is the author of three poetry pamphlets: TRAVESTY58 (2022); Katabasis (2020), a winner of a New Poets Prize; and Wedding Beasts (2019), shortlisted for the Saltire-Callum MacDonald Award. He is a Contributing Editor at The White Review. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, he earned his MFA at Brown University, and is currently a PhD student at Columbia University.

By reimagining episodes from Homer’s Odyssey, Jay Gao’s highly anticipated debut collection, Imperium, forthcoming from Carcanet, 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.

‘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


is the author of Steep Tea (Carcanet), named a Best Book of the Year by the Financial Times and a Finalist by Lambda Literary. He has published four other books of poetry, a volume of essays, a collection of zuihitsu, and a hybrid work of fiction. Originally from Singapore, he lives in New York City, where he heads the literary non-profit Singapore Unbound and the independent press Gaudy Boy.

Jee Leong Koh writes out of the heart of a contemporary reality most readers are familiar with at second or third hand. He writes of political exile and spiritual homelessness; he understands the perils of war, and the perils of certain kinds of peace. Inspector Inspector, his second Carcanet book, is also forthcoming; it develops his earlier themes with authority, passion and a sense of possible justice.

Steep Tea dialogued with women poets from across the world; Inspector Inspector struggles with the legacies of fathers, personal, poetic and political. Threaded through the erotic poems and poems based on interviews with fellow Singaporeans living in America are thirteen palinodes in the voice of the speaker’s dead father, which he answers when the father’s voice falls silent.

Jee Leong Koh’s is an inclusive, generous and forgiving imagination, with an enviable mastery of traditional and experimental forms.



Since the risks of the Covid-19 virus are still present, we would like to take what measures we can to make this event as safe as possible. We will be limiting the capacity in the venue, so please book in advance to make sure you can get in. We would ask that you consider taking a lateral flow test before you come to the event, and obviously don’t come if it is positive. Similarly, if you have any potential Covid symptoms, or think you’ve come into contact with someone who might have it, please stay away. We would also ask that you consider wearing a mask where practically possible.

We will be simultaneously livestreaming the event (subject to all the technology running smoothly) for anyone who can’t come in person or for whom in person events are for any reason inaccessible. A zoom link will be sent out for this in the lead up to the event, for those that have booked tickets.

There are a small number of steps up to enter the venue; a portable ramp is available for anyone who requires it. Once inside, the venue is all level and has accessible toilets. The event will be seated, and some chairs can be moved to accommodate any particular requirements. Children are welcome at our events (though we can’t guarantee all poetry will be child-friendly in content). If you have any questions, or any accessibility requirements not covered here which you would like to discuss with us, please do get in touch, and we’ll do everything in our power to accommodate you.