BLACK POETS MASTERCLASS
My weapon is literature. – Chinua Achebe
Tutor: Dzifa Benson is an award-winning Ghanaian-British poet and multi-disciplinary artist who received a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship and was shortlisted for the inaugural James Berry Poetry Prize in 2021 and toured South Africa with the British Council in 2010. Her abridgement and adaption of the National Youth Theatre REP Company’s 2021 production of Othello, in collaboration with Olivier award-winning director Miranda Cromwell, toured the UK the same year. Her byline, covering poetry, theatre, music, fiction and non-fiction appears in the Telegraph, the Financial Times, The Times Literary Supplement, Wasafiri and Poetry Review. She is also a Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critic.
Black British Poetry
Tutor: Anthony Joseph is an award winning Trinidad-born poet, novelist, academic and musician. He is the author of five poetry collections and three novels. His 2018 novel Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, the Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award, and long listed for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. In 2019, he was awarded a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship. As a musician, he has released eight critically acclaimed albums, and in 2020 received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Composers Award. He is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Kings College, London. His collection Sonnets for Albert won the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2022.
Black American Poetry
Karen McCarthy Woolf
Tutor: Karen McCarthy Woolf’s An Aviary of Small Birds was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. She is a Fulbright Scholar/Writer in Residence at the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA. Her latest book is Seasonal Disturbances, explores nature, the city, the sacred and the self. It won second place in the 2020 Laurel Prize. A poet of English and Jamaican parentage. Her father emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1957 as a part of the Windrush generation, and her experience and identity as a mixed-race woman has informed her poetry. She has served as Chair and Judge of the Brunel International African Poetry Prize several times and was a judge of the National Poetry Competition in 2021.
Jason Allen Paisant
Tutor: Jason Allen-Passiant holds a DPhil in Medieval and Modern Languages from Oxford and is a senior lecturer in Critical Theory and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester. He’s the author of two poetry collections, Thinking with Trees, winner of the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for poetry, and Self-Portrait as Othello, the Poetry Book Society Spring Choice for 2023. His monograph Engagements with Aimé Césaire will be published by Oxford University Press in 2023, and his non-fiction book, Scanning the Bush, will be out with Hutchinson Heinemann in 2024. Jason is an associate editor of Callaloo and his work is anthologised in a number of locations, including More Fiya: A New Collection of Black British Poetry and the Faber anthology Nature Matters.
Introducing the Black Poets Masterclass Series
“It was so good! I learned so much, still sitting with the fruitful wisdom and discussion!”Angel GriotAnti-disciplinary creative practitioner
“Stunning, brilliant and so generous, I loved poems all over again.”Labeja KoduaWriter
“I was able to view the two hour seminar on African poets presented by the excellent Dzifa Benson, and it truly was a masterclass. Now, I have a month to review these poems over and over before Part II, and each poem is worth contemplation and study. As an emerging black woman poet, Obsidian’s offering is a treasure trove.”Ellen WrightPoet, retired English teacher
“This was a wonderful overview of African poetry! I leaned a great deal about how poets from the continent confront socio politics in their work and reclaim the sheer beauty of their humanity. Thanks again to Djifa for this well-done masterclass!”Amanda T. McIntyreWriter