In Rise Like Lions, Booker Prize winning writer Ben Okri has compiled a collection of poems that celebrate the many voices of politics, from polemics and rallying cries to lyrics and meditations. Many of these poems have resonated with readers over lifetimes and through generations, from William Blake to Marvin Gaye. In exploring the impact political poems have on ideas, vision, protest, change and truth, Okri demonstrates how the need for this strand of poetry is as great as it has ever been, and its inspiration just as powerful.
Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you:
Ye are many – they are few.
– Percy Bysshe Shelley
Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than two dozen books on world history and politics, and seven novels as well as scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of New Left Review.
William Dalrymple is a writer and historian, and co-founder of the Jaipur Literature Festival. He has won numerous awards for his books and has specialised in Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern art and history.
Helena Kennedy is a barrister, broadcaster and a Labour member of the House of Lords.
David Calder is a much-loved actor who recently appeared in the movie The Lady in the Van and as Julius Caesar in the Nicholas Hytner’s Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre.
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Laurie Penny is a columnist and author, and has contributed articles to publications such as The Guardian and the New Statesman, and has written two books on feminism.