Island Voices

This series explores why Jamaica has produced more than its fair share of highly acclaimed poets.

Alongside its music, poetry is one of Jamaica's great achievements and most dynamic exports.

Presenter Valerie Bloom takes us on a journey to the Caribbean island which sees her reunited with her family.

She explores her development as a writer, growing up in the rural centre of the island, and we are introduced to the voices who influenced her.

Episodes

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This series explores why Jamaica has produced more than its fair share of highly acclaimed poets.

Alongside its music, poetry is one of Jamaica's great achievements and most dynamic exports.

Presenter Valerie Bloom takes us on a journey to the Caribbean island which sees her reunited with her family.

She explores her development as a writer, growing up in the rural centre of the island, and we are introduced to the voices who influenced her.

Valerie explores the warmth, immediacy and poetic possibilities of the Jamaican language and also looks at its troubled history.

Until recently, it wasn't considered poetic to write in anything but Standard English.

Louise Bennett is the pivotal figure who changed the linguistic landscape forever.

Now in her eighties and still writing, she tells us what provoked her to became a champion for the Mother Tongue at the age of 14.

Jean Binta Breeze, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Lorna Goodison, Mervyn Morris, Eddie Baugh and Mutabaruka, all giants on the Jamaican poetry scene, reflect on her impact and their own development.

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The diverse riches of Jamaican poetry are revealed through a tropical journey.

Writer and presenter Valerie Bloom makes a literary pilgrimage to the island of her birth.

The lush, fertile landscape has inspired her work, but Valerie is keen to know what part it has played in the imagination of her fellow poets.

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The love affair between Jamaican music and poets from the island is celebrated in the final part of this series.

Presenter Valerie Bloom explains how the cultural ferment that gave rise to reggae and Bob Marley also stimulated the development of Dub Poetry.