Since the 1970s, poet Linton Kwesi Johnson has been putting pen to paper to refute W.H. Auden’s claim that “poetry makes nothing happen.” For Johnson, only the second living poet to have been published in the Penguin Modern Classics series, writing has always been “a political act” and poetry “a cultural weapon.”
In Dread Poetry and Freedom David Austin explores the themes of poetry, political consciousness, and social transformation through the prism of Johnson’s work. Drawing from the Bible, reggae and Rastafari, and surrealism, socialism, and feminism, and in dialogue with Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon, C.L.R. James and Walter Rodney, W.E.B. Du Bois and the poetry of d’bi young anitafrika, Johnson’s work becomes a crucial point of reflection on the meaning of freedom in this masterful and rich study.
About the author
David Austin is the author of the Casa de las Americas Prize-winning Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal, Moving Against the System:The 1968 Congress of Black Writers and the Making of Global Consciousness, and Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution. He is also the editor of You Don’t Play with Revolution: The Montreal Lectures of C.L.R. James.