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Benjamin Zephaniah

(b. 1958)


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(1958– ),

poet and playwright who left school aged 13, and spent many of his teenage years in youth institutions. He came to public attention as a performance poet, and as the writer of Job Rocking (pub. 1989), recognized as Britain's first rap play. In 1991 he co‐wrote the TV play Dread Poets Society, in which he played himself in an imagined encounter with Shelley, Mary Shelley, and Byron. After his last stage play, Streetwise (1990), he stopped writing for the stage on the grounds that most theatre did not reach ethnic minorities or the most disadvantaged communities. Collections of poetry include City Psalms (1992), Propa Propaganda (1996), Too Black, Too Strong (2001), and We Are Britain! (2002).

Subjects: Literature.


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