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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Recommendation: I Am Nobody's Nigger by Dean Atta

Dean Atta's poems act as a plea to his readers to stand up against the injustices of modern life. Whether he's descrying the use of the word 'nigger' or reflecting on his absent father, Atta's writing is about seeking change. It is this which makes it so powerful.

Capturing moments with strong rhythms and rhymes, Atta's words jump from the page until you can almost hear the poet performing them at spoken word gigs around London. There are moments where the reader is aware that the experience of reading the work cannot be compared to the experience of hearing and seeing it.

However, there is enough of substance to hold the reader, as the poet explores modern life; our technological era, the reality of destruction caused during the London riots, and sexual freedom which offers little. The poet fails time and again to find the connections he so desperately seeks. It is only through writing that he finds some solace, as poems such as 'Therapy' show.

A broad reaching collection, at once tender and real, I am Nobody's Nigger burns with searing honesty which is not easy to forget.

This piece was commissioned by Book Trust and first published here.

Order the book: I am Nobody's Nigger

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