Dorothea Smartt FRSL

Dorothea Smartt FRSL is a poet, live artist  and literary activist. She was born and grew up in London, her parents having migrated from Barbados in the late 1950's.

She is an Associate poetry editor of Sable LitMag, a magazine of new Black writing. Her poetry has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies including Bittersweet (Women’s Press, 1998), The Fire People (Payback Press, 1998), Mythic Women / Real Women (Faber, 2000), IC3: The Penguin book of new Black writing in Britain (2000),  A Storm Between Fingers (Flipped Eye, 2007), and most recently New Daughters of Africa (Myriad, 2019) and Beyond Homophobia (UWI Press, 2020).

She has two full poetry collections (Peepal Tree Press). Her chapbook Reader, I Married Him & Other Queer Goings-On (Peepal Tree Press, 2014), “…about Black diasporic love”, is “…subversive, radical, and surprisingly panoramic...”. Her collection Ship Shape is an ‘A’ Level English Literature text.

She's been a guest writer and speaker at several USA universities, including Oberlin College and Florida International University. She has held several residencies and commissions, including Poet in Residence at Brixton Market (as part of the Poetry Society’s Poetry Places project), 'attached live artist' at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts, and in 2018 was commissioned to write poems for the ventilation columns at nine of London's Thames Tideway Tunnel open-air sites. All of these poems are thematically linked to London’s ‘Lost Rivers’.

She works in schools, facilitates workshops, produces events and performs in Britain and internationally. She remains Programme Manager of Inscribe, a Black & Asian writer development programme housed by Peepal Tree Press and is currently a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art and the University of the Arts London.

For her contribution to British cultural life, she was nominated for a Barbados Golden Jubilee Award. In 2019 she was inaugurated a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She’s currently a PhD candidate at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill developing a new poetry/live art work revisioning normative historical narratives:  imagining same-sex relationships and traditional spiritual practices, among ‘West Indian’ migrants in Panama during the USA construction of the Canal.

London (Greater London)


  • Connecting Medium. Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2001.

  • Samboo’s Grave / Bilal’s Grave. Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2007.

  • Ship Shape. Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2008. (includes the poems from Samboo’s Grave / Bilal’s Grave)

  • Reader, I Married Him & Other Queer Goings On. Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree Press, 2014.


  • Words from the Women's Cafe: Lesbian poetry from 'Word Up' (edited with Bernadette Halpin). London: Centerprise, 1993.

Animation, Books, Online writing, Poetry, Radio, Theatre, Videogames

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work:

c.1967 – Sweet potato n’ callaloo

Bringing it all back Home

Shake my Future

Generations Dreaming I

Black Girl Shuffle


Connecting Medium II