Resistance and the Dub Griot: Four Linton Kwesi Johnson Poems, Policing, and Social Unrest

Kim Evelyn


Linton Kwesi Johnson’s poetry chronicles the major turns in Caribbean diaspora and national history, making him an oral historian of his times, a griot of London’s Caribbean diaspora. To illustrate, this essay focuses on four of Johnson’s poems from the late 1970s and early 1980s as texts of postcolonial social critique situated within the former colonial metropole, markers on a timeline of Caribbean diaspora and Black British history, and acts of resistance in and of themselves. The poems are emblematic of Johnson’s career-long criticism of institutional state-sponsored racism in a postcolonial poetic form—dub poetry—that resists hierarchies of poetic taste and the dominance of the English language.


Linton Kwesi Johnson; dub poetry

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