& Othered Poems

9781908906489 April 2021 Paperback 128pp

About the Book

Shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize 2021

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 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 a fellow of the RSA and the host and co-curator of Out-Spoken, the UK’s premier poetry and music club, currently resident at the Southbank Centre. Taylor is the author of three poetry collections, including C+nto & Othered Poems, which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize 2021. She is widely anthologised, and has also published three plays and a collection of short stories, The Night Alphabet (forthcoming). 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

‘Expressively lyrical in style and experimental … In its riveting and intensely embodied pieces, C+nto explores stories of survival and community, of coming into one’s own queer identity.’
The Big Issue

C+nto is the best of hybrids. A reclamation and a proclamation. A book and a performance. A roll call and a remembrance. 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

C+nto is a work of fearsome imaginative and creative reach; it is also a work of patient and dedicated historicity … that it reaches us as sonorous and soaring poetry is a testament to the alchemy of [Joelle Taylor’s] craft.’
Fran Lock, Culture Matters


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