Poet. Educator. Spoken Word Performer
Some things only get better with age, and dub poet
Lillian Allen continues to define the form and explore its leading innovative edge. She has performed her work in many major venues in North America taking poetry to larger and larger audiences. She has produced Juno award winning recordings, critical acclaimed publications, and she has performed her work for television, film, radio, and print media across the world. Lillian is also a professor of creative writing at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, inspiring students to claim space for their dreams in the world and to use their creativity to make revolution.
– Banff Centre for the Arts
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Short Bio - 283 words
Lillian Allen’s first album of poetry with music, Revolutionary Tea Party, was proclaimed a Landmark Album by Ms. Magazine in 1991. She won a Juno award for that album and for Conditions Critical. Freedom & Dance, her third album; her 2012 release ANXIETY; and her recording for children and young people Nothing But a Hero received critical acclaim. Her latest single Woken & Unbroken (2018) is available free to stream from CDBaby.
Allen has published several ground-breaking books of poetry – her latest collection Make the World New: The Poetry of Lillian Allen, edited by Ronald Cummings (published in Spring 2021, part of the Laurier Poetry Series), her first trailblazing book of poetry Rhythm An’ Hardtimes (a Canadian best seller), Psychic Unrest, and Women Do This Everyday. Her work for young people includes three books: Why Me, If You See Truth, and Nothing But a Hero.
As a playwright she has produced One Bedroom With Dignity, Love & Other Strange Things and the radio play Marketplace. Allen is also co-producer and co-director of Blak Wi Blak, a film documentary on Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka, and has been featured in three short films/videos.
Lillian Allen is internationally recognized as a godmother of dub lyricism, rap, and spoken word poetry. A pioneering exponent of the highly politicized form of dub poetry created in Jamaica by Oku, popularized in Britain by Linton Kewsi Johnson and Benjamin Zephaniah. Allen embedded feminist voice in the literary dub art form. Founder of the visionary Toronto International Dub Poetry Festival and a variety of cultural organizations such as youth empowering Fresh Arts, Allen has spent over three decades writing, publishing, and performing her work to appreciative audiences around the globe.
Short Bio - 288 words
LILLIAN ALLEN- Doctor of Canadian Letters and Godmother of Everything
Lillian Allen is an acclaimed foremother of Canadian Poetry. Poet, writer/performer, and long-time arts activist, Lillian is an international exponent of dub poetry with its politically charged reggae-infused aesthetic of resistance and visionary futures. Lillian has also been a successful Cultural Strategist, contributing to the International Cultural Diversity Agenda and playing a key role in transforming the Toronto and Canadian cultural landscapes. A mentor to the mentors for individuals and groups across many cultures, she brings her critical and effective equity and community-building strategies to institutions such as OCAD University. A creative writing professor at OCAD University, she initiated and led the development of a BFA in Creative Writing Program that acknowledges community-connected writing, and traditional and new writing forms.
Over the decades, she created opportunities for new generations of artists and initiated and led community-building youth-supporting programs as Fresh Elements and Fresh Arts. She has received numerous accolades and awards, including being the recipient of an Honourary doctorate in recognition of outstanding contribution to Canadian Literature (from Wilfrid Laurier University), the Toronto Cultural Champions Award, The Margo Bindhardt Award for significantly impacting the arts in Toronto through both creative work and activism, the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations.
Lillian is the author of Make the World New– selected works, old & new, edited by Ronald Cummings, WLU Press 2021, other books include Women Do this Every Day, Psychic Unrest, plus books and recordings for children and young people. Also, a globally recognized recording artist, Ms. Allen is a two-time Canadian Juno award winner for her recordings Conditions Critical, and Revolutionary Tea Party which was recently nominated for the prestigious Polaris Heritage Prize in Canada.
1983 Rhythm an’ Hardtimes
1984 The Teeth of the Whirlwind
1987 If You See Truth
1991 Why Me
1993 Women Do This Every Day
1999 Psychic Unrest
2021 Make the World New: The Poetry of Lillian Allen
Dub Poet: The Poetry of Lillian Allen (1983)
De dub poets (1985)
Curfew Inna B.C. (1985)
Revolutionary Tea Party (1986)
Let the Heart See (1987)
Conditions Critical (1988)
Nothing But a Hero (1992)
Freedom & Dance (1999)
Anxiety (European release) (2012)
Woken & Unbroken (single release) (2018)