Born in Birmingham in 1958, Zephaniah grew up in Jamaica and in Handsworth, where he was sent to an approved school for uncontrollable, rebellious and 'a born failure', ending up in jail for burglary.
After prison, he turned from crime to music and poetry: 'I started writing poetry because I didn't like poetry.' As a reggae DJ in Handsworth, he refused to mimic other toasters with their chants about Jamaican life, instead turning to Britain for his own native patter; comic stories and rhymes.
City Psalms is his fourth book of poems.
Original title: City Psalms
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