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We were honoured to have some leading international poets as advisors for our project, and the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, as our patron.

John Agard was born in Guyana and has lived in Britain for many years, settling in East Sussex. He is a prolific and award-winning poet, writer, playwright and anthologist for adults and children. In the 1980s he travelled around the UK as a touring lecturer for the Commonwealth Institute and has since become a popular and electrifying performer of his work in many parts of the world. Writer residencies include the South Bank, the National Maritime Museum and the BBC. Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems was published by Bloodaxe in 2009.

Edward Baugh was born and educated in Kingston, Jamaica, and pursued postgraduate studies in Ontario and at Manchester University. He served as Professor of English, Head of Department, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and General Studies on numerous occasions at the University of the West Indies. He has figured prominently as a leader in national and international literary and academic associations, and has adjudicated significant literary competitions. An outstanding poet and critic himself, he is regarded as one of the leading authorities on Derek Walcott’s poetry. It Was the Singing was published in 2000.

Kamau Brathwaite was born and brought up in Barbados and went on to study at Pembroke College, Cambridge University. The Arrivants (1973), a new world trilogy, established him internationally as a poet of distinction. Since then he has become renowned as a towering intellectual of Caribbean culture and for his pioneering role in giving credibility to ‘nation language’ in the influential History of the Voice (1984). Previously Professor of History at the University of the West Indies, Brathwaite is currently Professor of Comparative Literature at New York University.

Mervyn Morris was born and educated in Kingston, Jamaica, then studied at St Edmund Hall, Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. Internationally celebrated for his award-winning poetry, he is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing and West Indian Literature at the University of the West Indies. His many accomplishments include championing the poetry of Louise Bennett and Michael Smith. He was part of the group that launched the CPP in Jamaica in 2010. I been there, sort of: New & Selected Poems is published by Carcanet.

Sir Andrew Motion studied at University College, Oxford and is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is a notable poet, biographer, essayist and critic, and a renowned writer of memoirs. He was Poet Laureate from 1999–2009, during which he set up many initiatives including the online Poetry Archive with Richard Carrington. He served as Chair of the Man Booker Prize in 2010. The Cinder Path is published by Faber.

Olive Senior was born and brought up in Jamaica (to which she regularly returns) and studied at Carleton University, Ottowa. She now lives in Toronto, Canada. Recognised internationally as a distinguished, award-winning poet, she is also esteemed as a writer of short stories, a journalist, journal editor, scholar and tutor of creative writing. Her non-fiction work focuses on Caribbean culture. Gardening in the Tropics is one of her most highly regarded collections.

Benjamin Zephaniah was born and raised in Handsworth, Birmingham. As a young man he was strongly influenced by the music and culture of Jamaica. A passionate and powerful poet, he has also branched into writing novels, screen and stage plays, and documentaries for television and radio – for both adult and youthful audiences. Zephaniah is a very popular performer, and his many accolades include fifteen honorary doctorates. Too Black, Too Strong is published by Bloodaxe.


An important element of the Teaching Caribbean Poetry course was poets performing their own poetry:

John Agard
Christian Campbell
Anthony Joseph
Mark McWatt
Kei Miller
Mervyn Morris
Philip Nanton
Esther Phillip
Dorothea Smartt

The final performance of the project took place at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus on April 8th, 2015 to an audience of 150 people. Poets reading were Eddie Baugh, Mervyn Morris, Mark McWatt, Philip Nanton, Velma Pollard and Tanya Shirley.

Photo of Sir Andrew MotionThis is a very important and very exciting scheme, designed to realise a properly large and international audience for the extraordinary richness of Caribbean poetry. It deserves the most enthusiastic support.”   Andrew Motion

Photo of Olive Senior"Poetry matters because it is a tool for helping us to discover who we are. As individuals, as Caribbean peoples, as citizens of the world. All praise to this initiative that aims to free poetry from its tag as ‘boring subject’ and relocate it in the hearts and minds of teachers and students as a lifelong gift to be savoured and treasured." Olive Senior

Photo of Benjamin ZephaniahCaribbean poetry has been so influential and made such a positive impact on British culture … we need to bring it out of the margins and into the mainstream. Projects like these are really valuable.” Benjamin Zephaniah