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Linton Kwesi Johnson and Kei Miller Listed in 50 Greatest Love Poems in 50 Years

Linton Kwesi Johnson and Kei Miller

Linton Kwesi Johnson and Kei Miller have been included in the South Bank Centre’s list of 50 Greatest Love Poems in 50 Years, with Derek Walcott also included as one of two brawta poems on the list, which actually comprises 52 poems. 

The poems, featuring verse from by poets from 30 countries across the world, was created as a part of the South Bank’s Festival of Love and will be showcased in a live event on Sunday, July 20, 2014 in a staged reading featuring 50 actors and poets on the Royal Festival Hall Stage

Johnson’s ‘Hurricane Blues’, Miller’s ‘Epilogue’ will share the stage with Chinua Achebe’s Love Song (For Ana), Billy Collin’s ‘Night Club’, Maya Angelou’s ‘Come, And Be My Baby’, Margaret Atwood’s ‘Variations on the Word Love’, Ted Hughes’ ‘Love Song’, and Valzhyna Mort’s ‘Love’.

Langston Hughes’ ‘The Dream Keep’ forms the epilogue for the list, while Walcott’s ‘Love After Love’ makes the envoi.

While poets from the United States (10), the Great Britain (8) take up much of the list, poets from France, Turkey, Canada, Japan, Latvia, Isreal, South Africa, Romania, Norway and India also make list.

The List:


Langston Hughes (US) The Dream Keeper

  1. Michael Donaghy (US) ‘The Present’ 
  2. Naomi Shihab Nye (Palestine-US) ‘Shoulders’ 
  3. Philippe Jaccottet (France) ‘Distances’ 
  4. Tadeusz Rózewicz (Poland) ‘A Sketch for a Modern Love’ 
  5. Billy Collins (US) ‘Night Club’ 
  6. Nâzim Hikmet (Turkey) ‘Things I didn't know I loved’ 
  7. Margaret Atwood (Canada) ‘Variations on the Word Love’ 
  8. Mutsuo Takahashi (Japan) ‘Dove’ 
  9. Anna Swir (Poland) ‘Thank-you, My Fate’ 
  10. Lawrence Bradby (UK) ‘If Your Faith in Me Should Fail‘
  11. Mary Oliver (USA) ‘Wild Geese’ 
  12. Anat Zecharaya (Israel) ‘A Woman of Valour’
  13. Karlis Verdins (Latvia) ‘Come to Me’ 
  14. Doina Ioanid (Romania) ‘The Yellow Dog’ 
  15. Ana Ristovic (Serbia) ‘Circling Zero’ 
  16. Katharine Kilalea (South Africa) ‘You were a bird’ 
  17. Ted Hughes (UK) ‘Lovesong’ 
  18. Kim Addonizio (USA) ‘You Don't Know What Love Is’ 
  19. Kim Hyesoon (Korea) ‘A Hole’ 
  20. Choman Hardi (Iraqi Kurdistan) ‘Summer Roof’ 
  21. Carolyn Kizer (USA) ‘Bitch’ 
  22. Nina Cassian (Romania) ‘Lady of Miracles’ 
  23. Don Paterson (Scotland) ‘My Love’ 
  24. Ashjan Al Hendi (Saudi Arabia) ‘In search of the Other’ 
  25. Edwin Morgan (Scotland) ‘Strawberries’ 
  26. Chinua Achebe (Nigeria) ‘Love Song (for Anna)’ 
  27. Muriel Rukeyser (USA) ‘Looking at Each Other’ 
  28. Linton Kwesi Johnson (UK/Jamaica) ‘Hurricane Blues’ 
  29. Tracy K. Smith (US) ‘Duende’ 
  30. Warsan Shire (UK) ‘For women who are difficult to love’ 
  31. Frank O'Hara (USA) ‘Having a Coke With You’ 
  32. Adrian Mitchell (UK) ‘Celia Celia’ 
  33. Jackie Kay (Scotland) ‘Her’ 
  34. Maya Angelou (USA) ‘Come. And Be My Baby’ 
  35. Kutti Revathi (India) ‘Breasts’ 
  36. Sujata Bhatt (India) ‘Love in a Bathtub’ 
  37. Annabelle Despard (Norway) ‘Should You Die First’ 
  38. Alice Oswald (UK) ‘Wedding’ 
  39. Valzhyna Mort (Belarus) ‘Love’ 
  40. Nikola Madzirov (Macedonia) ‘When Someone Goes Away Everything That's Been Done Comes Back’ 
  41. Iman Mersal (Eygpt) ‘Love’ 
  42. Sinéad Morrissey (Ireland) ‘Forgive Us Our Trespasses’ 
  43. Kei Miller (Jamaica) ‘Epilogue’ 
  44. Faiz Ahmed Faiz (Pakistan) ‘Before You Came’ 
  45. W. S. Merwin (USA) ‘In Time’ 
  46. Arundhathi Subramaniam (India) ‘Prayer’ 
  47. Yves Bonnefoy (France) ‘A stone’ 
  48. Ko Un (South Korea) ‘Snowfall’ 
  49. Amjad Nasser (Jordan) ‘A Song and Three Questions’ 
  50. Vikram Seth (India) ‘All You who Sleep Tonight’


Derek Walcott (Saint Lucia) ‘Love After Love’