John Agard is a poet, a children’s writer, and a playwright.
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Facts About John Agard
- John Agard was born in 1949 in Grantham (British Guiana, now Guyana), and he grew up in Georgetown.
- As a child, he loved listening to cricket commentary on the radio. He particularly liked the words used by John Arlott. He was inspired to make up his own commentary, and this kindled his life-long love of language.
- He was also a keen actor, playing Captain Hook in a production of Peter Pan, Bottom in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the white rabbit in a production of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
- He enjoyed Enid Blyton books, PG Wodehouse books, and The Hardy Boys series when he was young.
- At A-Level, John Agard studied Latin, French, and English.
- He published his first poems when he was in sixth-form.
- He was inspired by the Mersey Sound poets, such as Roger McGough, Adrian Henri, and Brian Patten.
- In 1967, he left school and worked as a language tutor, sub-editor and writer for the Guyana Sunday Chronicle, and as an assistant in the local library.
- In 1977, John Agard moved to England with his father, and his partner, the poet Grace Nichols. They settled in Ironbridge, Shropshire.
- John Agard has received several awards for his poetry, including the Paul Hamlyn Award for Poetry (1997), the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry (2012), and the BookTrust’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Humour is a very powerful weapon that can awaken people’s minds. If people feel you’re preaching at them, you can alienate them.John Agard
- He currently lives in Lewes in Sussex.
- He has written dozens of books for children, including Lend Me Your Wings, We Animals Would Like a Word With You, We Brits, The Young Inferno, and Butter-Finger.
Going right back in our evolutionary DNA, poetry was the medium of utterance, ecstasy, a lullaby, an incantation, so before you had things written down, there was poetry. But somewhere along the line, particularly in the western tradition, the oral was cut off from the written, and then poetry began to be perceived as something abstract and airy fairy and not about the concrete fact. But let us face it: do we want to dwell in a world of concrete facts?John Agard
- Some of his most famous poems include Windrush Postscript, Flag, Half-caste, Coffee in Heaven, Checking Out Me History, Bridge Builder, Windrush Child, and In Times of Peace.
- His earliest memory is of standing on a chair because he was terrified of a dog called Spot.
- His favourite rivers are the River Thames, and the River Demerara in Guyana.