Malachi Smith is originally from Westmoreland, Jamaica and grew up in Central Village, Spanish Town, St. Catherine. A determined man who charted a unique course for his life as a police officer, a poet, a playwright and a philanthropist.
Malachi is an accomplished Jamaican writer of poetry and plays, and an actor, performing in his own plays and other productions in live theatre and on radio and television. He is a fellow of the University of Miami’s Mitchner Caribbean Writer’s Institute where he studied poetry under Lorna Goodison and play writing under Fred D’Aguilar.
He was one of the readers at the first Talking Trees in May 2011, and appeared again at the second Talking Trees in 2012, and returns to the Talking Trees stage on May 27, 2017. Malachi’s earlier appearances include being the headliner in 2004 at the International Dub-Poetry Festival in Toronto and in 2008 at the Love-In Festival in Miami with Richie Heavens and other greats. He also made three appearances in New York, and toured St. Kitts and Nevis in the summer of 2000 to rave reviews. More recent appearances include: 2012 – International Poetry Festival of Colombia, Medellin, Colombia; 2014 – International Poetry Festival of Nicaragua; 2015 – International Poetry Festival of Taiwan; 2016 – Poetry Africa, Durban, South Africa; 2017 – Polokwane Literary Fair, Limpopo, South Africa – Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverly Reading Festival, Broward Community College; and 501 Café, New York. 2018 – Honduras International Poetry Festival, University of the West Indies, Bookophilia and other locations in Jamaica; 2019 – Festival Contemporanea San Cristobal, Mexico, La Guagua Poetry Festival, Lowell, Massachusetts; 2020 – Toured Jamaica with Judith Falloon-Reid’s, An Awe Inspiring Journey – Down in Antarctica (featured on the team song with Falloon-Reid); Read via Zoom at 16 Festival Internacional de Poesia de Quetzaltenango, Gutamala.
His awards include the 2016 Akamedia Award in the Reggae Category for his poem How Yuh Mek Har and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) 4th Place Choice Writer (gold and bronze medals) 2018; Best Adult Poet in 2017 and 2014, following earlier JCDC awards: 2009 most outstanding writer in the poetry and 2006 four Literary Awards for poetry and playwriting. Also in 2006 he won the Joe Higgs Music Award for dub poet of the year, and was nominated for the dub poet of the year in the Reggaesoca Awards, and for the poet of the year in the Martin’s International Music Awards. He has been a nominee in the IRAWMA Award for Best Poet (2012 -2016). Malachi was one of the 50 Jamaicans living in the USA, who were special honored for their contribution to Jamaica on the occasion of Jamaica’s 50 year of independence. Malachi launched Jamaican Poets School Nomadic Poetry Tour in 2017 and coordinates the annual, Louise Bennett-Coverley Writer’s Clinic.
In 2020, Malachi released his 8th studio album, Tick Off, on his 4-M Records Label; featured on the 2020 Yasus Afari produced album, Dub Poetry Ina Yu Face; directed the highly successful Reggae Musical, Power Game. The documentary film, Dub Poetry: the life and work of Malachi Smith premiered in 2007. Malachi’s CDs include Hail to Jamaica, released in 2011; Scream, released in 2014; and his latest 2017 release, Wiseman. He is awaiting publication of two new poetry collections, The Gathering and Stony Gut, and is currently writing a series of short stories.
An alumnus of Florida International University (M.S.C.J. & B.Sc.), Miami-Dade College (AA) and Jamaica School of Drama, Malachi was one of the founding members of Poets in Unity, a critically acclaimed ensemble that brought dub-poetry to the forefront of reggae music in the late 1970s, and carried it forward for a decade.
Malachi is the host of the popular weekly radio show, Strictly Roots dub poetry and more which airs on WZPP 96.1 FM and WZOPP 92.7 FM, Sundays, 7PM-10PM.
In addition to being a poet, Malachi served in the police force in Jamaica and Florida, retiring from the latter in 2016. He was a freelance writer for the Jamaica Daily Gleaner (Overseas Edition), a board member of the Jamaica Ex-police Association of South Florida, as well as the Caribbean Education Foundation; and the Honorable Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council. Malachi is married to his childhood sweetheart Marcia and has two sons Maurice and Marlon.