In May 2016, Birmingham City University announced it will be accepting applications for its new degree in ‘Black Studies’— the first of its kind in Europe. The course is said to be an interdisciplinary area of study that will look into migration of the African diaspora, black scholars, and the effects of economics within black communities. Estimated to parallel the popular and esteemed African-American study programmes present at the likes of Yale, Harvard, and Howard University, this programme is finally addressing an underlying problem within British education. More specifically, why black voices have long been ignored or overridden in academic spheres. As a Birmingham native, I have never been more proud to witness this advancement, but we cannot stand by the belief that its implementation is enough.
The following poem includes 44 chopped-up book titles of novels that have won the Man Booker Prize. This poem comes after Marlon James won the prize last week with his brutal and cacophonous novel A Brief History of Seven Killings.
It is quite something. I remember the days of children
dreaming of spending their inheritance on books
now waiting patiently, in that English way, for nothing
to happen, staring blindly at the ghosts that besiege
the moon late at night, push it, give marching orders
and last warnings. Those small assassins send troubles
to elected people, young and old, gathering them as books
often do, from bodies, sacred fleshy remains, sea-wood
chewed offshore. The history dividing them: no matter.
for every hunger pang, famished child, books.