Kayo Chingonyi (pronounced kai-o chin-gone-yee) is a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry and the author of two pamphlets, Some Bright Elegance (Salt, 2012) and The Colour of James Brown’s Scream (Akashic, 2016). His first full-length collection, Kumukanda, was published in June 2017 by Chatto & Windus. As well as being widely published in journals and anthologies, Kayo has been invited to read from his work at venues and events across the UK and internationally. In 2012 he represented Zambia at Poetry Parnassus, a festival of world poets staged by The Southbank Centre as part of the London 2012 Festival.


He was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and shortlisted for the inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize and has completed residencies with Kingston University, Cove Park, First Story, The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and Royal Holloway University of London in partnership with Counterpoints Arts. He was Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts from Autumn 2015 to Spring 2016. He co-edited issue 62 of Magma Poetry and the Autumn 2016 edition of The Poetry Review.


‘His language is wonderfully searching, his imagery a series of small doors opening onto a whole house echoing with harmonic play and set with delicate rhythmic trip wires.’ – Jane Draycott (Judge’s Commentary – Geoffrey Dearmer Prize 2012)

‘Chingonyi is always compelling’ – Sheffield Forge

‘The poems published here demonstrate Chingonyi’s craft and his attention to the formal aspects of poetry on the page as well as to the spoken word’ – Sarah Ream, Poetry International Web

‘Kayo weighs each vowel and syllable as if it’s a thing of beauty, which it is, even when the words themselves are breaking your heart’ – Apples and Snakes


  1. Hey Kayo,
    Great to catch up with you via your blog.
    Lots of exciting stuff – some I’ve just missed (darn!) but more to explore. Looks like you’re doing well!

  2. Loved your talk at Banbury Live. The link to music was fab particularly the poem regarding the tape episode of recording the top 40. Will definitely look out for more of yourwork.

  3. Had an inspiring time at Tongue Fu as part of the Cuirt festival in Galway. Your lyrics and musicality blew me away. Magic in fact. The entire event.
    Deeelighted now to find this blog.
    Could you link me up to notifications for any workshops you will be facilitating in Ireland or the uk?

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