& Othered Poems

9781908906489 April 2021 Paperback 128pp

About the Book

Winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize 2021 and the Polari Prize 2022

A New Statesman, TLS and White Review Book of the Year

The female body is a political space.

C+nto enters the private lives of women from the butch counterculture, telling the inside story of the protests they led in the ‘90s to reclaim their bodies as their own – their difficult balance between survival and self-expression. History, magic, rebellion, party and sermon vibrate through Joelle Taylor’s cantos to uncover these underground communities forged by women.

Part-memoir and part-conjecture, Taylor explores sexuality and gender in poetry that is lyrical, expansive, imagistic, epic and intimate. C+nto is a love poem, a riot, a late night and an honouring.

About the Author

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright and author. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Saboteur Spoken Word Artist of the Year (2022), Taylor is the host and co-curator of Out-Spoken, the UK’s premier poetry and music club, currently resident at the Southbank Centre. A former UK slam champion, she founded SLAMbassadors, the UK’s youth slam championships, in 2001 and was its Artistic Director and National Coach until 2018. Taylor is the author of three plays, a forthcoming novel and four poetry collections, including C+nto & Othered Poems, which won the 2021 T. S. Eliot Prize and was longlisted for the 2021 Ondaatje Prize. Her documentary Butch was recently featured on BBC Radio 4.

→ Author Website


‘This writing is visionary ... I loved it.’
Hollie McNish

‘Joelle Taylor has produced one of the most astonishing and original poetry collections of recent years.’
Bernardine Evaristo, New Statesman Book of the Year

‘A real treat … in the vivid bar-set poems, Taylor brings a close-knit community to life … inventive, powerfully moving work.’
The Telegraph ★★★★

‘Absolutely incredible … A celebration and a tribute to the dyke bars and the butches who left their mark, this book reminds the reader that to exist as we do is a form of protest. This is work that should not be missed.’
Diva Magazine, Book of the Month

‘Joelle Taylor is a fighter on the page … Bold, combative and moving … There is swank, swagger and firecracker protest in [Taylor’s] writing… powerful.’
The Observer

C+nto is the best of hybrids. A reclamation and a proclamation. A tribute and a critique, not just for the lesbian community, but for anyone who has had to struggle to establish their life and identity. A powerful celebration of an important culture.’
Roger Robinson

C+nto is an altar of a book. These halting and haunting stories of loss, battle, love and survival offer an ebullient doorway into a fragile world. Joelle Taylor has an unmatched gift as a poet, memoirist and chronicler.'
Inua Ellams

‘This powerful, visceral collection from Joelle Taylor is nothing less than a gift … This book epitomises the entire essence of Pride.’
The Independent


T. S. Eliot Prize 2021 (Winner)
Prize Website

Polari Prize (Winner)
Prize Website

RSL Ondaatje Prize 2022 (Longlisted)
Prize Website

Forward Prize for Poetry (Highly Recommended)
Prize Website