Jean "Binta" Breeze
|Jean "Binta" Breeze|
Pictured in 2007
|Occupation||Writer, dub poet|
Jean "Binta" Breeze MBE (born 1956) is a Jamaican dub poet, and storyteller. She has worked also as a theatre director, choreographer, actor and teacher. She has performed her work around the world, in the Caribbean, North America, Europe, South-East Asia and Africa, and been called "one of the most important, influential performance poets of recent years".
Breeze was born and raised in rural Jamaica, and studied at the Jamaican School of Drama in Kingston with Michael Smith and Oku Onuora. She came to London in 1986, at the invitation of Linton Kwesi Johnson; She taught Theatre Studies at Brixton College. She has since also written for drama in various media. Her first book of poetry, Ryddim Ravings, was published in 1988 by the Race Today Collective. She went on to write the screenplay for Hallelujah Anyhow, a co-production of the British Film Institute and Channel 4. She also released several albums, contributing to Woman's Talk (1986), and recording Tracks in 1991 with Dennis Bovell's Dub Band.
She suffers from schizophrenia and has written poetry about what she herself calls "madness". In April 2006, on the BBC Radio programme The Interview, Breeze gave her perspective on mental illness and advocated increased attention to the needs of schizophrenics who do not have a "talent" like hers.
Honours and awards
Books of poetry
- Answers (1983)
- Riddym Ravings and Other Poems (1988) edited by Mervyn Morris
- Spring Cleaning (1992)
- On the Edge of an Island (1997)
- Song Lines (1997)
- The Arrival of Brighteye and Other Poems (2000)
- The Fifth Figure (2006)
- Third World Girl: Selected Poems (2011)
- Riddym Ravings (1987), ROIR
- Tracks (1991), LKJ
- Hearsay (1994)
- Riding on de Riddym (1997), 57 Productions
- Eena Me Corner (2010), Arroyo Rec.
- Sheri Elaine Metzger, "Jean “Binta” Breeze 1956–", Contemporary Black Biography, 2003. Encyclopedia.com. 4 March 2013.
- British Council, Literature.
- Larkin, Colin (1998), The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0242-9, p. 36.
- "Poet is set to share her skill", Leicester Mercury, 19 February 2010.
- Honorary Creative Writing Fellows, School of English, University of Leicester.
- The London Gazette: . 16 June 2012.
- Queen's birthday honour's list 2012: MBE, The Guardian, 16 June 2012.
- Jean "Binta" Breeze at British Council: Literature
- Jean "Binta" Breeze at Poetry Archive
- A Conversation with Jean "Binta" Breeze at www.57productions.com