Professor Benjamin Zephaniah was one of the pioneers of the performance poetry ‘scene’ in Britain. He was part of the ‘school’ known as the ‘Dub Poets’, these were poets that work alongside reggae music. He has spent most of his life performing around the world in schools, universities, concert halls, and in public spaces.
His poetry is noted for mixing serious issues with humour, and being accessible to a wide range of people. He is able to perform in children’s nurseries or political rallies, and his strongest area of interest is looking at how poetry works in performance and its relationship to music.
He has also written novels for young adults, and plays for radio and stage. Although his music is rooted in reggae, his recordings now have many influences including, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Dubstep. He contributes to many radio programmes and has presented documentaries on radio and television concerning literature, culture, race and politics.
He has been writer in residence at Keats House (London), Memphis State University, Ohio State University, and also worked at Shanghai Tongji University, The Women’s University Seoul, Pyongyang University North Korea, University of Witwatersrand Johannesburg, and visiting professor at De Montfort University. He has also worked with The University of Birmingham and The Open University encouraging young people to take up higher education.
His recent releases include a music album called Revolutionary Minds, and his autobigrahpy, The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah, which was sortlisted for both the National Book Awards and the Costa Book Award.
Newest selected publications
Zephaniah, B. (2015) 'What the English could learn from the Eisteddfod.'. BBC Wales Web SIte.
Zephaniah, B. (2013) 'Pass on your Passion'. Teach Primary.
Zephaniah, B. (2012) 'Liam'. Collins Educational. ISSN 10: 0007464851 ISSN 13: 9780007464852
Zephaniah, B. (2012) 'The Police Don't Work for Us'. The Guardian.
Zephaniah, B. (2012) 'Youth Unemployment; I Wanted To Use Poetry To Speak For Myself.'. Huffington Post.