Linton Kwesi Johnson

Selected Poems
  • Selected Poems

  • A selection of Linton Kwesi Johnson's best poems over three decades. Ranging from protests against police brutality to eulogies for departed friends and playful celebrations of urban life, Johnson's use of Jamaican dialect to tackle distinctly British subjects contributed to a revolution in the notion of literary English. This Selected Poems charts the unique literary talent of one of Britain's most influential poets and social critics.

Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in 1952 in Chapelton, Jamaica. He came to London in 1963 and later read sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Whilst still at school he joined the Black Panthers, helped to organize a poetry workshop within the movement and developed his work with Rasta Love, a group of poets and drummers. His first book of poems, Voices of the Living and the Dead, was published by Race Today in 1974. His second book, Dread, Beat An' Blood (Bogle L'Ouverture, 1975), which signalled the emergence of a new voice in Caribbean poetry, was followed by Inglan is a Bitch and Tings An' Times. LKJ, as he is known in the world of popular music, has enjoyed a successful career as a reggae artist on the global stage for over four decades. His albums include Forces of Victory, Bass Culture and More Time. He founded LKJ Records in 1981. His awards are, among others, a silver Musgrave medal from the Institute of Jamaica, an honorary fellowship from Goldsmiths, honorary doctorates from Rhodes University (South Africa) and the University of the West Indies, and an award at the 13th Premo Internazionale Ultimo Novecento, Italy for his contribution to poetry and popular music. In 2020, Linton Kwesi Johnson won the PEN Pinter Prize. He lives in Brixton, south London.

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