Allen provided the text for Kristi Allik's 1984 composition Riddim (premiered by the Canadian Electronic Ensemble at the Winchester Street Theatre in Toronto, 25 Nov 1984). Collaborating with percussionist Billy Bryans and guitarist Dave Grey of the Parachute Club, bassist Terry Lewis, and others, she made the LPs Revolutionary Tea Party (1986) and Conditions Critical (1987), the former including such notable songs as "I Fight Back," "Riddim an' Hardtimes," and "Birth Poem." Both records were released and distributed by Allen's label, Verse to Vinyl, and received Juno awards for best reggae/calypso album, in 1987 and 1988 respectively. She has appeared at literary, music and feminist festivals and events in Canada, the US, the Caribbean, Great Britain, France, and Germany, and was heard at Expo 86.
Throughout the 1980s-90s Allen wrote and published books of poetry, short fiction, and plays. She was featured in the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) film Unnatural Causes (1989), co-produced and co-directed the documentary Blak Wi Blakk (1994), and released her third album, Freedom and Dance, in 1999. In 2003 Allen was a driving force in the founding of the Dub Poets Collective and in 2004 hosted Wordbeat, the CBC radio program on poetry and spoken word. Allen has been a consultant on diversity and culture for government and community groups, and since 1992 has been a professor with the Faculty of Liberal Studies at the Ontario College of Arts and Design.
The Teeth of the Whirlwind (Toronto 1984)
If You See Truth: Poems for Children and Young People (Toronto 1990)
Why Me? (Toronto 1991)
Women Do This Every Day: Selected Poems of Lillian Allen (Toronto 1993)
Psychic Unrest (Toronto 1999)
The Poetry of Lillian Allen. 1985. Verse to Vinyl VV001
Revolutionary Tea Party. 1986. Verse to Vinyl VV101
Let the Heart See. 1987. Verse to Vinyl
Conditions Critical. 1988. Verse to Vinyl VV102
Nothing But a Hero. 1992. Verse to Vinyl WRPM08
Freedom and Dance. 1998. Verse to Vinyl VV101
Author Revised: Krista L. Roberts
Doran, Susan. "Taking aim with words," Canadian Composer, 218, Feb-Mar 1987
Dafoe, Chris. "Allen pushes dub poetry far beyond reggae roots," Toronto Globe and Mail, 5 Apr 1988
Bartley, Wende. "dis word breeds my rhythm," Musicworks, 42, Fall 1988
Lazier. Kate. "Political songwriters," Canadian Composer, 239, 1989
"Lillian Allen: Dub poetry is reggae," Talent, vol 1, no. 14, Jun-Jul 1989
Dawes, Kwami. "360 Degrees Black: a conversation with Lillian Allen," West Coast Line, vol 31, Spring-Summer 1997
Nopper, Sheila. "Vocal resistors," Herizons, vol 11, no. 3, 1997
Carr, Brenda. "Come mek wi work together: community witness and social agency in Lillian Allen's dub poetry," Ariel: A Review of International English Literature, vol 29, Jul 1998
Links to Other Sites
Lillian Allen’s Toronto – pOetic gEsture
Lillian Allen's poem about the city that is Toronto. From whatistoronto.ca.
An interview with Toronto-based, Jamaican-Canadian dub poet, writer, playwright and professor Lillian Allen. Also features a video of Lillian Allen's performance of "Dub Ellington." From soundaddictions.com.
A biography of Lillian Allen, an "award winning and internationally renowned poet and writer of short stories and plays." From the ArtistsData website.