Benjamin Zephaniah

(15 April 1958 / Birmingham)

Benjamin Zephaniah
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Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah is a British Jamaican Rastafarian writer and dub poet. He is a well-known figure in contemporary English literature, and was included in The Times list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers in 2008.

Life and Work

Zephaniah was born and raised in the Handsworth district of Birmingham, which he called the "Jamaican capital of Europe". He is the son of a Barbadian postman and a Jamaican nurse. A dyslexic, he attended an approved school but left aged 13 unable to read or write.

He writes that his poetry is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls "street politics". His first ... more »

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Comments about Benjamin Zephaniah

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  • Freshman - 660 Points Diana Van Den Berg (11/8/2015 5:50:00 AM)

    I am so excited to have discovered you on Poemhunter, Benjamin. You are a wordsmith par excellence, an inspiration, a delight to cope with my various stresses (and I am sure those of all your readers) , a shining light in (and a gift to) our world community.

    However, I am extremely disappointed that you only have 20 poems posted here, especially as I can't afford to buy your books, or anything that isn't what is best for my 5 animals (a dog, a cat and 3 previously feral kittens whose mother brought them to my garden in February) or essential to my survival.

    I would be so happy if you would post many more of your poems. Failing that, I can keep re-reading those you have posted. Thank you for your giggliciously serious poetry. :)

  • Rookie - 0 Points Robert Jenkins (4/28/2015 12:34:00 AM)

    Read A Day in the Life of Danny the Cat, to my Year 5 class last week...they loved it. Read Danny the Cat Lives On! today. They thought it was going to be fun...they were shocked. They understood your message though and your emotions. Respect, Man!

  • Veteran Poet - 1,031 Points Sentamu Aziz (10/20/2014 3:01:00 AM)

    dis poetry ting, me love it...

  • Rookie S B (5/6/2014 4:44:00 PM)

    love all of his work. strong themes

  • Rookie - -1 Points Paul Smith (11/10/2013 9:06:00 AM)

    Benjamin: I love your work. You express universal themes in simple language. You have a voice all your own.

  • Rookie - 39 Points Jetty J Newnham (10/3/2012 2:38:00 PM)

    Benjamin Its Black history month I for one will make sure I enjoy reading Benjamin, also Langston Hughes Maya etc, I enjoy your poetry man peace

  • Rookie - 5 Points Lalaine Rebamonte (9/5/2012 8:16:00 AM)

    Mr. Zephaniah,
    I am Lalaine B. Rebamonte, from the College of Education in the University of Cebu-LapuLapu and Mandaue, Philippines. We have chosen your poem SOS (Save Our Sons) for our Literature class to be analyzed as it gives striking stand of a brave person. Since our subject is in line with Literary Criticism, I would like to inform you that there are analyses gathered from our class. There will be different comments with your work and I hope you will be able to give feedback with regards to our comments.

    Very Truly Yours,

  • Rookie Agostina Etcheverry (11/2/2011 5:45:00 AM)

    I really like this poem because it gives a positive message for people who don't have hope camila gouffier

  • Rookie Agostina Etcheverry (11/2/2011 5:41:00 AM)

    The truth the poem is very londo since it has a positive message that gives before any difficult situation :) and that seems to me unlikely that critoque already qie it is necessary to be in this sotuacion to be able to act like Mariano J. Panza

  • Rookie Agostina Etcheverry (11/2/2011 4:53:00 AM)

    i think that it's awesome that he said in the poem.. he's so positive and..he's right! if you know about his life you can understand that you don't have to worry for bad things or bad situations...only for the good things and be happy with that... and he is original and don't follow the rules.. A TRUE ARTIST!

Read all 21 comments »
Best Poem of Benjamin Zephaniah

The British

Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
And let them settle,
Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.

Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
Add lots of Norman French to some
Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.

Mix some hot Chileans, cool Jamaicans, Dominicans,
Trinidadians and Bajans with some Ethiopians, Chinese,
Vietnamese and Sudanese.

Then take a blend of Somalians, Sri Lankans, Nigerians
And Pakistanis,
Combine with some Guyanese
And turn up the heat.

Sprinkle some fresh Indians, Malaysians, ...

Read the full of The British Updates

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