Winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, 2012
John Agard has been broadening the canvas of British poetry for the past 35 years with his mischievous, satirical fables. In Clever Backbone, the Guyanese-born word magician plays havoc with biology and makes a monkey out of Darwinian evolution – on the occasion of the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his Origin of Species. His Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems (with DVD) was published at the same time.
‘John Agard’s poetry is a wonderful affirmation of life, in a language that is as vital and joyous as we are able to craft it in the Caribbean, in spite of our history of distress’ – David Dabydeen
‘A specialist in word trickery… Agard is one of our most consistent, culture-crossing spokesmen’ – Graeme Wright, Poetry Review
JOHN AGARD: Alternative Anthem
John Agard performs his 'Alternative Anthem' with the audience at London's Soho Theatre. 'Alternative Anthem' is also the title poem of Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems (2009), a new DVD-book featuring Agard's performances at two different venues. This video is from the DVD John Agard Live! included in his Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems from Bloodaxe.
JOHN AGARD: Listen Mr Oxford don
John Agard reads his poem 'Listen Mr Oxford don', familiar to thousands of school students from the GCSE syllabus. This video is from the DVD John Agard Live! included in his Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems from Bloodaxe.
JOHN AGARD with Keith Waithe
A second excerpt from the Alternative Anthem DVD-book (2009). John Agard and fellow Guyanan Keith Waithe perform 'Flute Boy', a piece specially written by Agard for his flute maestro friend. Then Waithe accompanies Agard's performance of his poem 'Marriage of Opposites'. Finally, the third poem in this excerpt is Agard's much celebrated 'Half-caste', now on the syllabus in many English schools. This live performance by Agard and Waithe was filmed at Havant Arts Centre in 2008. This video is from the DVD John Agard Live! included in his Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems from Bloodaxe.