When he was awarded an honorary degree in civil law at Newcastle University in 1967, Dr Martin Luther King gave an electrifying extemporaneous address, speaking without notes, in which he said: ‘There are three urgent and indeed great problems that we face today…That is the problem of racism, the problem of poverty and the problem of war.’
As part of a fifty year anniversary and celebration, this anthology gathers poets from both sides of the Atlantic to address the challenges set out by Dr King. It’s a shock to think how little has changed, and that Martin Luther King could well be speaking right here, right now. In the spirit of Dr King and his work as a humanitarian and activist, this anthology brings together poems that offer powerful testimonies to the urgent issues Dr King defines and represents the polyphony of voices that speak in resistance to our continuing problems of racism, poverty and war.
Featuring poems by Claudia Rankine, Grace Nichols, Yusef Komunyakaa, Moniza Alvi, Rita Dove, Daljit Nagra, Imtiaz Dharker, Fred D’Aguiar, Oliver de la Paz, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, John Agard, Patricia Smith, Jericho Brown, Toi Derricotte, Vahni Capildeo, Carl Phillips, Sarah Howe, Elizabeth Alexander, Ishion Hutchinson, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Marilyn Nelson, Mimi Khalvati, Nikki Giovanni, Robert Pinsky, Bernardine Evaristo, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Major Jackson, Tim Seibles, Choman Hardi, Benjamin Zephaniah, Shazea Quraishi, E. Ethelbert Miller, Sandeep Parmar, Malika Booker, Roger Robinson, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Rae Paris, Kendel Hippolyte, Amali Rodrigo, Zaffar Kunial, Rishi Dastidar, Raymond Antrobus, Mai Der Vang, Martín Espada, Inua Ellams, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Gregory Pardlo, Edward Doegar, Degna Stone, MacDonald Dixon, Ada Limon, Philip Metres, Nick Makoha, Nathalie Handal, Lauren K Alleyne, Kevin Bowen, Bashabi Fraser, Satchid Anandan.
Newcastle/Bloodaxe Poetry Series: 17
‘Consisting of poems by almost 90 writers… it is not so much a book of poems about Martin Luther King as about the causes for which he lived and died…. This very strong collection is full of powerful individual poems…’ – Andy Croft, Morning Star
‘This is a powerful and disturbing anthology, cataloguing the effects of prejudice, violence, self-interest and atrocity, complete with condemnation of the silent majority… this collection, magnificent and cringingly forceful as it is, is powerful food for thought, and, hopefully, action.’ – Frank Startup, The School Librarian