Born in Birmingham in 1958, Zephaniah grew up in Jamaica and in Handsworth, where he was sent to an approved school for uncontrollable, rebellious and ‘a born failure’, ending up in jail for burglary. After prison, he turned from crime to music and poetry: ‘I started writing poetry because I didn’t like poetry.’ As a reggae DJ in Handsworth, he refused to mimic other toasters with their chants about Jamaican life, instead turning to Britain for his own native patter; comic stories and rhymes.
City Psalms is his fourth book of poems, and is the first of a long lasting relationship Zephaniah between and Bloodaxe Books. Hard hitting, Political poetry, some of which can be heard on his performances.
Published by Bloodaxe
Cover design by Mike Hawthorne