December 5, 2009

Lorna Goodison on Claude McKay's Signature Poem

Jamaican poet Claude McKay wrote a poem in 1919 called, "If we must die" in response to race riots across American cities. 

It was a poem of such quality that it became an anthem of resistance everywhere. Twenty years later British Prime Minister Winston Churchill used it as a rallying call to encourage troops in the second world war and to persuade the US to join the war. But Prime Minister and his speech writers never attributed the words to McKay.
BBC's Mark Coles recently discussed the poem with Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison.

Listen to Mark Coles' interview with Lorna Goodison


Photo by James L. Allen
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