One of the best loved and most taught poets in Britain, a great champion of Caribbean culture, an influential anthologist and a determined advocate of friendship between races- James Berry passed away. His poems intimately caught the speech patterns of his native Jamaica.
Berry had his significant share to enrich and diversify the capacities of the English language. Along with his fellow writers Andrew Salkey,George Lamming, Samuel Selvon, Kamau Brathwaite, Wilson Harris, Stuart Hall and John La Rose, he associated himself with the Caribbean Artists Movement, formed in London in 1966. In 1971 he was its acting chairman.
James grew up in a family reliant on subsistence farming and the sea. There were few educational opportunities, but he was close to his parents. He had five siblings. Alzheimer’s disease had affected him for more than 12 years.