Lemn Sissay

Author, poet and playwright

A man with dark skin tone sitting in a room with low tables and woven baskets, looking out the window Lemn Sissay, by Madeleine Waller, 24 July 2006, NPG x131827, © Madeleine Waller / National Portrait Gallery, London

Author and broadcaster. Sissay released his first book of poems, Tender Fingers in a Clenched Fist (1988) at the age of twenty-one. Since then he has published numerous collections of poetry and plays. The first official poet of the London 2012 Olympics and he is currently known for his Morning Tweets that describe dawn each day. Awarded an MBE for Services to Literature in 2010.

Revolutions have passed between us,
emperors dethroned, guns and red flags raised.

From ‘Mill Town and Africa’ in Rebel Without Applause (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2000)

It seems to me that around each corner beneath each stone
Are humans quietly looking for a place to cry on their own.

From ‘Quiet Places’ in The Poetry Olympics Marathon Anthology (London: New Departures, 2001)