Ballad of a Happy Immigrant

Ballad of a Happy Immigrant


'It isn't often that one encounters a sensibility so interested in our world - and so compelling in its powers of attentiveness. Leo Boix's poetry has a wide tilt and scope. It sings the doors open' Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic

'They are sailors from another century, stalwart / captured on daguerrotype, casually masculine, tender of heart.'

In the middle of the last century, the SS General Pueyrredón from Buenos Aires deposits Leo Boix's paternal grandfather on English soil for the first time. In the two years he spends there, he acquires a taste for his new homeland: from taking his tea white - muy blanco - to plunging into unfamiliar sensual worlds.

So begins the poet's own journey, arriving in the United Kingdom as a young queer man. Ballad of a Happy Immigrant tells of the life he makes there: a dazzling collection of what it means to live, love and write between two cultures and traditions. Effortlessly moving between the English imagination and Spanish language, it is a boundless exploration of otherness and home, and the personal transformation that follows between 'loss / and a life / that starts anew.'

*A Poetry Book Society Wild Card Choice*


  • In Ballad of a Happy Immigrant Leo Boix demonstrates the power of a poem to move not just the mind but the body. These are supple, evocative, sensuous poems that ripple with life from a poet who can do in two languages what many of us struggle to do in one
    Kayo Chingonyi

About the author

Leonardo Boix

Leo Boix is a Latinx bilingual poet, translator and educator born in Argentina who lives in the UK. He is a recent fellow of The Complete Works, a national mentoring programme aimed at poets from minority backgrounds, which included poets such as Kayo Chingonyi, Sarah Howe and Warsan Shire, among others. His poems have been included in many anthologies, such as Ten: Poets of the New Generation (Bloodaxe), The Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology 2019-2021 (Eyewear Publishing) and Un Nuevo Sol: British Latinx Writers (flipped eye), and have appeared in POETRY, PN Review, The Poetry Review and Modern Poetry in Translation. Boix is co-director of Invisible Presence, an Arts Council England national scheme to nurture new Latinx writers in the UK. He is a board member of Magma Poetry, co-editor of its Resistencia issue showcasing the best Latinx writing, and an advisory board member of the Poetry Translation Centre in London. He was the recipient of the Bart Wolffe Poetry Prize 2018 and the Keats-Shelley Prize 2019.
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