Showing posts from February, 2014

Benjamin Zephaniah: ‘It is my duty to help and inspire’

(Interview originally published by the New Internationalist)

As professor of poetry and creative writing at London’s Brunel University, you are surrounded by and can inspire passionate, creative young people. Is this your dream job?
Yes! But I’ve always mentored people. A lot of the time by post: they send me their poetry and I talk about it or they meet me every now and again. So when this position came up I thought: yeah, this is a kind of formalized version of what I do anyway. 
A couple of week ago I saw a poster for a poetry gig and the guy who was headlining it was my student. And I thought: yes! I stood next to the poster and started posing.
As a young boy you wrote to Bob Marley and received a reply that really inspired you…
I remember how pointed that reply was for me. I’m paraphrasing now, but it said something like: ‘Britain needs somebody like you.’ And I thought, gosh, he’s not even here and he’s telling me Britain needs somebody like me. Everything that I do [at Brunel] is a…