Poet James Berry came to England from Jamaica in 1948. He started to write about his experiences and came to play a key role in bringing Caribbean voices into British poetry, editing two seminal anthologies, “Bluefoot Traveller” and “News for Babylon”. Now just turned 90, he is slipping away into the hidden depths of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Next Generation” poet and academic Hannah Lowe, herself of part-Jamaican origin, explores how James’s poems look to his childhood in rural Jamaica, and reflect on the shock of an England that didn’t always know how to accept him. Fellow poets John Agard, Grace Nichols and Linton Kwesi Johnson explain how James’s work and the man himself came to have such a strong influence on them.What shines through is a man of great mental strength, genial, kind and acutely aware of the flash points between people.
22nd March 2015 at 16.30, BBC Radio 4.
Producer Emma-Louise Williams
Presenter Hannah Lowe
Executive Producer Jo Coombs
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