Berry, James

(1924- )
   Born in Jamaica, he showed promise as an author from a young age. From 1941 to 1945 he worked in America but, finding the discrimination against black people intolerable, he returned to Jamaica. From 1948 to 1977 he worked in England for British Telecom as an overseas telegraph operator, attending evening classes to further his education. The award of a C. Day Lewis Fellowship allowed him to write fulltime. He now lives in Brighton, Sussex, and divides his time between the U.K. and Jamaica. He has won several prizes for his poetry and was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1990. An active campaigner on the part of black people, he helps to promote young black writers in particular. In his poems, he uses a mixture of standard English and Creole, the language of Jamaica. Two of the anthologies he has edited are Bluefoot Traveler: An Anthology of West Indian Poets of Britain (1976) and News for Babylon (1984). Some of his poems: "Back to Hometown Kingston," "Benediction," "Fantasy of an African Boy," "Sounds of a Dreamer," "Spirits of Movement," "Thinking Back on Yard Time."
   Sources: 100 Poems on the Underground. Gerald Benson, Judith Cherniak and Cicely Herb, eds. Cassell, 1991. Around the World in 80 Poems. James Berry. Illustrated by Katherine Lucas. Macmillan Children's Books, 2004. Biography and Works of James Berry. C4 - BookBox (http://www.channel4.com/learning/microsites/B/bookbox/authors/berry/). Caribbean Poetry Now. Stewart Brown, ed. Edward Arnold, 1992. Microsoft Encarta 2006 (DVD). Microsoft Corporation, 2006. Only One of Me: Selected Poems of James Berry. Macmillan Children's Books, 2004. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Heinemann Book of Caribbean Poetry. Stewart Brown and Ian McDonald, eds. Heinemann, 1992. The New British Poetry, 1968-1988. Gillian Allnutt, Fred D'Aguiar and Ken Edwards, ed. Grafton Books, 1989. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Penguin Book of Caribbean Verse in English. Paula Burnett, ed. Penguin Books, 1986. Wheel and Come Again: An Anthology of Reggae Poetry. Kwame Dawes, ed. Goose Lane Editions, 1998.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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