Posted: 8 August 2011
Last week's launch of Benjamin Zephaniah's When I Grow Up was an unusually joyous occasion. Taking place in the distinctive setting of Keats House, with its lovely setting and extraordinary literary connections, the party celebrated the publication of a book which uses photographs (taken by Prodeepta Das) to show children the many options open to them in their adult life and to encourage them to aspire to interesting careers.
Benjamin Zephaniah spoke movingly of his own evolution as a poet. Leaving school at 13 with severe dyslexia which meant he could neither read nor write, the young Benjamin went ‘to the bad' for several years but later had the blinding revelation that what he really wanted to do was to be a poet. His mother tried to persuade him to think about a safer career but he was entranced with words and their power, and determined to pursue poetry. That he did this in his own way, through performance poetry, is part of his remarkable story. In doing so he has already inspired so many children and young people with the message that they can be and do anything they want.
When I Grow Up is published by Janetta Otter-Barry Books at Frances Lincoln Ltd at £11.99.
Categories: Poetry News