Benjamin Zephaniah: The Poet and Performer in His Own Words

Benjamin Zephaniah: "We all need gangs. We're social animals"

Source : BBC News
Benjamin Zephaniah was a man of words – he was profound, prolific and never shied away from what mattered to him.

Words flowed out of him, whether written, spoken or sung.

“In the beginning was the word, and the word became poetry, and I discovered it and found that it was great,” he said in his autobiography, riffing on the Bible’s opening verses.

Zephaniah, who died on Thursday at the age of 65, had many missions in life – some were political and some were personal.

But from his troubled childhood onwards, he found power in communicating.

Benjamin Zephaniah: The James Brown of dub poetry:

Zephaniah ‘was all grace and wonder’:

Despite leaving school aged 13 without being able to read or write, within two years he’d made a name for himself in dub poetry – performance poetry that originated in Jamaica.

Benjamin Zephaniah

His love of creativity was clear, but he later said he “went off the rails” and was jailed for burglary in his late teens.

In 1979, aged 22, he decided to start afresh by moving from Birmingham to London, where he “met other creative types”.His first poetry book, Pen Rhythm, was published in 1980 and was the start of a long and celebrated career. :

Here he is, in his own words, on just some of the things he felt passionately about. :

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