Benjamin Zephaniah has described the moment a Big Issue vendor took him by surprise with a “word for word” rendition of one of his most renowned works, ‘Me Green Poem’.
“I was in Oxford a few years ago and I’ll never forget this,” said Zephaniah. “There was somebody selling The Big Issue. He stood back and he performed a poem of mine called ‘Me Green Poem’.
“It’s a really long, fast poem. And he performed it word for word. I went, where the hell did you learn that? He said: ‘Man, I was one of your biggest fans.’ It blew me away.”
A writer, musician and actor, Zephaniah is best known for his politically active poetry. His work is often described as “dub poetry”, a form of spoken word performance that draws on the rhythms of reggae.
As a legendary performance poet, Zephaniah was impressed that the vendor didn’t just know the words of the poem, he delivered them with style.