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Afro-Caribbean Poetry in English

Cultural Traditions (1970s–2000s)

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Bartosz Wójcik

This book presents the phenomenon of Afro-Caribbean poetry in English from Jamaican classic dub poetry of the 1970s to (Black) British post-dub verse of the 2000s. It showcases the literary continuum, as represented by Jamaican, Jamaican-British, and ultimately (Black) British writers – Mutabaruka, Michael Smith, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jean Binta Breeze, Benjamin Zephaniah, and Patience Agbabi, respectively. The work of these authors represents a gradual shift from the emphasis on ethics to the preponderance of aesthetics that include social concerns typical of classic dub poetry.
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The present study has aimed to present the complex phenomenon of Afro-Caribbean poetry in English, ranging from Jamaican classic dub poetry of the 1970s to (Black) British post-dub verse of the 2000s. To do so, the monograph has endeavoured to showcase the literary continuum, as represented by Jamaican, Jamaican-British, and ultimately (Black) British writers – Mutabaruka, Michael Smith, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jean Binta Breeze, Benjamin Zephaniah, and Patience Agbabi, respectively. “While”, as observed by Beckford (2006), “no longer the dominant form of performance poetry in Black communities, dub poetry has laid the foundation for the ‘slam’ and ‘conscious poets’ of the present age” (76). As such, being “a multivalent term” (Dowson 2011:119) as well as a sign of the ever-changing times, it has been the object of the book. Furthermore, the monograph has also shown that the creative output of the authors in question, discussed diachronically, represents a gradual shift from the emphasis on ethics to the preponderance of aesthetics, not desensitised, however, to social, both universal and topical, concerns typical of classic dub poetry.

The study is preceded by an Introduction, which justifies and outlines the scope of research, describes all the methodologies selected, and provides requisite historical as well as literary contextualisation, compiled with a view to laying the groundwork for a thorough analysis of the poetry of these writers, still relatively unknown in Poland. Furthermore, the Introduction serves as a cultural road map for Eastern European readers. As an analytical entryway, I have...

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