i (The Independent), 'If You're Staying In...'
Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze is a popular Jamaican Dub poet and storyteller whose performances are so powerful she has been called a “one-woman festival” (Culturebase). Her poems use personal stories and historical narratives to explore social injustice and the psychological dimensions of black women’s experience.
Striking evocations of childhood in the hills of Jamaica give way to explorations of the perils and delights of growth and change – through sex, emigration, motherhood and age. This book brings together new poems with poetry and reggae chants from four previous collections: Riddym Ravings (1988), Spring Cleaning (1992), On the Edge of an Island (Bloodaxe, 1997) and The Arrival of Brighteye (Bloodaxe, 2000).
Many of the poems are included on the accompanying DVD, which features two Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze performances filmed at Leicester’s Y Theatre, plus an interview with Jane Dowson.
“Hers is a poetry for the people written in the voice of the people. The project: to make of their lives and language an art form. ... Breeze has a warmth, humour and charisma in performance that stands unrivalled. The accompanying DVD needs to be watched, because her poems are transformed by a delivery that is rhapsodic, incantatory, hypnotic and always entertaining.”
Bernardine Evaristo, The Independent
"Accompanied by a DVD of her performances, this broad selection of verse - often in patois - steps deftly between lyricism and passion, sorrow and humour."
"It is one of the strongest books you will come across this year, pulling and pushing and tugging in different languages and registers, shouting and laughing and whispering."
Andy Croft, Morning Star
"It is amazing: the work transcends its origins in dub and becomes something very special - a celebration of multi-culturisms which does not forget the hardship at its roots and a representation of the voices of five generations of Jamaican women."
Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze is a poet, actress, dancer, choreographer, film writer and theatre director. Her most recent collection from Bloodaxe is The Fifth Figure (2006). She has performed her work all over the world, and now divides her time between Jamaica and Leicester. She received a NESTA Award in 2003, joined Michael Symmons Roberts on the judging panel for the Forward Prizes for Poetry in 2007, and performed at the Glastonbury Festival in 2010.