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Linton Kwesi Johnson

Linton Kwesi Johnson, aka LKJ, is a UK-based Jamaican-British dub poet. In 2002 he became the second living poet, and the only black poet, to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series.

LKJ was born in Chapelton, in the rural parish of Clarendon, Jamaica. In 1963 he came to live in Brixton, London. LKJ attended Tulse Hill School in Lambeth. While still at school he joined the British Black Panther Movement, helped to organize a poetry workshop within the movement, and developed his work with Rasta Love, a group of poets and drummers.

LKJ went on obtain a degree in sociology at Goldsmiths College in New Cross, London.

LKJ's poetry deals with the experiences of being an African-Caribbean in Britain: "Writing was a political act and poetry was a cultural weapon", he told an interviewer. He has also written about British foreign policy and the death of anti-racist marcher Blair Peach. Johnson wrote "Reggae fi Dada" on the death of his father in 1982, blaming social conditions. His most celebrated poems were written during the government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The poems contain graphic accounts of the racist police brutality occurring at the time.

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Printed: August 19, 2017, 5:27 am
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