Allow me to introduce you to Peace the Poet.
Where you will find Art, particularly in musical or theatrical form, there is a chance that you may find amongst your fellow witnesses the person who is known as Peace the Poet. Amongst his many loves are the love of live music and the love of the use of what he terms ‘pro-community liberational artistic expression.’
Peace is first and foremost a Humanitarian and a man who has since his youth, used various art forms as a means of attempting to realise his dreams and aspirations. It just so happens that his were and are the types of dreams and aspirations that you might expect of a man wishing with his whole heart to see Peace, Love and Harmony across the whole wide world.
Peace writes poetry, and has been doing so since before he can remember. He also has performed his poetry in public. During the 90s, in front of an audience of around 200 people he rendered an impromptu rendition of a poem he called ‘Chicken Rock’, a poem which dynamically explored the topic of Freedom and which had ironically been written during a period of time in his home town when public relations, and particularly those between the Britafrican Caribbean community and the local Police, were at an all time low.
A passage from the poem recounts the experience of a young man who is forced to steal in order to eat and who, in realising the utter audacity of his plight, steals, cooks and eats his illegally acquired meal with no remorse or regret.
“Me seh me teef one chicken.
Yes me teef it, inna di broad daylight
And me nyam it
And it feel alright.’
Peace the Poet was born in Wednesbury in 1964 to Britafrican Caribbean parents who had migrated to England from Jamaica during the earlier part of the century. The fact that he was born in Wednesbury was incidental. On the night, in the lead up to his birth no room was available for his mother at her local hospital in Walsall and so she was transported to a maternity centre in the neighbouring district.
Born Donovan Antonio Campbell, he lived in Harden, Walsall throughout much of his early years in the company of his parents and three sisters. His love for the arts was apparent to those around him from an early time and it wasn’t long before he was appearing in school plays and performances.
There is much that can be said about his journey but this literature focuses on his poetry. In 1989, following the split of his reggae band ‘Bandyt’, a popular band which he describes as ‘an Act of God that really laid the foundation for many of the beautiful things that followed in my life” , Peace began to work at the Afro Caribbean Community Centre in Walsall. Many of his as of yet unpublished works were recorded for the first time during this period. ‘Leaf on a Tree’, ‘Natalie (Napthali)’ and ‘Ethiopan’ are pieces of work that were written during this era and remain to this day poems that are kept amongst his private library.
In 2007 he created a website dedicated to poetry , titled it ‘The Echoes Collection’ and added to it some poetry that he’d written during the previous years alongside an ardent desire to continually add to the collection fresh, adventurous new pieces. Five years later the collection has grown to over thirty poems that vary in style, mood, length, rhythm and texture. One can almost taste the undercurrent of exquisite rage that must have been burning within him during his writing of the anti establishment poem ‘Just Sometimes’ (2008), whilst in comparison his invitation to the reader to join him in recounting and reliving some of his beautiful, liberated and often amusing childhood memories can be unearthed in such poems as ‘Dad’s Drama’ (2009) and ‘This Broken Bridge’ (2013).
The Echoes Collection remains an ongoing project alongside the ‘A Day In The Life Of A Rose Thorn’ series (or ADITLOART as her refers to it) which he began in 2012.
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