Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780745338132 Published October 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Cloth $99.00 ISBN: 9780745338149 Published December 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada

Dread Poetry and Freedom

Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution

David Austin

Dread Poetry and Freedom

David Austin

Distributed for Pluto Press

272 pages | 5 1/4 x 8 1/2 | © 2018
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780745338132 Published October 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Cloth $99.00 ISBN: 9780745338149 Published December 2018 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada

In the 1970s and ’80s, Linton Kwesi Johnson was fighting neo-fascism and promoting socialism, and putting pen to paper to refute W. H. Auden’s claim that “poetry makes nothing happen.” Dread Poetry and Freedom explores Johnson’s work through the radical political and poetic traditions he engaged, reflecting poetry’s potential to bring about social transformation.
            Through an examination of the violence, musicality, and revolution of his poetry, David Austin brings Johnson’s cultural and philosophical influences alive. Encompassing reggae music, the Bible, Rastafari, and surrealism, socialism, and feminism, as well as the radical politics of Aimé Césaire, John La Rose, Frantz Fanon, C. L. R. James, and W. E. B. Du Bois, Johnson’s poetry reveals itself as an important site of diaspora politics and struggle.
            Probing the juncture at which Johnson’s poetry meets his politics, Dread Poetry and Freedom shows the significant role art can play in bringing about social change in times of dread.
 

Review Quotes
Shalini Puri, University of Pittsburgh

“A moving and dialogic musing on freedom. Austin's richly textured study reads LKJ's poetry in relation to an expansive tradition of black radical politics and poetics. It captures both the urgency of Johnson's historical moment and his resonance for ours.”

Carolyn Cooper, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica and author of “Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the 'Vulgar' Body of Jamaican Popular Culture”

“With the intensity of a devotee and the precision of a scholar, David Austin skillfully traverses the dread terrain of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s politics and poetry, engaging readers in an illuminating dialogue with diverse interlocutors who haunt the writer’s imagination.” 

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