Black British Writing: Benjamin Zephaniah’s Didactic Poetics

Osborne, Deirdre. 2020. Black British Writing: Benjamin Zephaniah’s Didactic Poetics. In: Guido Rings and Sebastian Rassinger, eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Intercultural Communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 412-431. ISBN 9781108555067 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This chapter explores the ways in which poetry can serve an explicitly didactic purpose in educating readers/listeners about racial-cultural exclusion zones in Benjamin Zephaniah’s late-twentieth-century school poems (School’s Out, Propa Propaganda, City Psalms). Through centring black pupils’ perspectives, (while pupils of all ethnicities constitute his primary addressees, auditors, interlocutors), Zephaniah contests the narrowness of curriculum, elucidates the consequences of ignoring the rich cultural heritages that multi-ethnic populations bring to education, and represents the effects of restricted views of history upon a minoritised young person’s sense of themselves in the world - which links directly to today’s salient question, ‘Why is my curriculum white?’

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Book Section

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black British, didactic poetics, performance, intercultural, colonially, consequences, school

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Theatre and Performance (TAP)


February 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

13 Dec 2018 10:49

Last Modified:

09 Feb 2021 15:50


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