Linton Kwesi Johnson

Linton Kwesi Johnson
Linton Kwesi Johnson
  • Born: August 24, 1952
  • Nationality: Jamaican
  • Profession: Poet

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Linton Kwesi Johnson is a Jamaican dub poet who has long been based in the UK. In 2002 he became the second living poet, and the only black poet, to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series. His performance poetry involves the recitation of his own verse in Jamaican Patois over dub-reggae, usually written in collaboration with renowned British reggae producer/artist Dennis Bovell. Johnson's middle name, "Kwesi", is a Ghanaian name that is given to boys who, like Johnson, are born on a Sunday.

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At the end of the day, life's about realising one's human potential. I don't know if I've realised mine, but I've certainly gone a long way towards realising some goals and some dreams. Life
Back in those early days when I began my apprenticeship as a poet, I also tried to voice our anger, spirit of defiance and resistance in a Jamaican poetic idiom.
I am often asked why I started to write poetry. The answer is that my motivation sprang from a visceral need to creatively articulate the experiences of the black youth of my generation, coming of age in a racist society. Society ;Literature, Writers & Writing
I don't go to see bands any more because I've got tinnitus, so I have to avoid loud music. You get used to it, but when it's quiet you hear a constant ringing. Music, Chants & Rapps
I have never, ever sought validation from the arbiters of British poetic taste.
I wrote two poems about the '81 uprisings: 'Di Great Insohreckshan' and 'Mekin Histri.' I wrote those two poems from the perspective of those who had taken part in the Brixton riots. The tone of the poem is celebratory because I wanted to capture the mood of exhilaration felt by black people at the time. Time
Once you have a disease like cancer, you look at life a bit differently. Some things that were important no longer seem as important as they were. Life
The modern stuff, I can take it or leave it. I like its danceability, but the DJs talk a lot of nonsense.
The more I read my poems, the more I find out about them. I still read them with the same passion I felt when I wrote them as a young man.
Younger people are discovering my work, even though my reggae is not like theirs. Work, Workers & The Labor Force