John Agard becomes first poet to win BookTrust lifetime achievement award

Posted in Articles, Media Archive on 2021-12-14 02:40Z by Steven

John Agard becomes first poet to win BookTrust lifetime achievement award

The Guardian

Alison Flood

‘It’s not just me receiving this award’ … John Agard. Photograph: Rex

Reading charity pays tribute to ‘incredible words’ of Afro-Guyanese author, who came to Britain in 1977 where he has become a staple of English lessons

The Afro-Guyanese writer John Agard has become the first poet to receive the BookTrust lifetime achievement award.

Agard, who was born in Georgetown, Guyana and moved to England in 1977, has been a fixture on the curriculum since 2002 for poems including Half-Caste (“Explain yuself / wha yu mean / when yu say half-caste / yu mean when picasso / mix red an green / is a half-caste canvas?”) and Checking Out Me History. Winning the Queen’s award for poetry in 2012, he is the author of more than 50 books for children and adults.

“John’s incredible words have caught the imagination of a whole generation of children,” said Diana Gerald, chief executive of the reading charity, which has given its lifetime achievement award in the past to some of the biggest names in children’s literature, from Shirley Hughes to Raymond Briggs and the late Judith Kerr

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Mixed Up: ‘I worry about unspoken discrimination. Have you judged me before I’ve even said a word?’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-06-12 22:48Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘I worry about unspoken discrimination. Have you judged me before I’ve even said a word?’

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle reporter

Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie Morris
‘Most of my class called me an “Oreo” and bullied me mercilessly for years’ (Picture: Jerry Syder for

Marie Farmer is a mother and founder of a family nutrition app. She has Jamaican and Scottish heritage, but she doesn’t identify as either black or white. In fact, she hates being asked to choose.

‘There were only a handful of non-white children in my primary school, which did lead to certain issues in the playground,’ Marie tells

‘Whenever we pretended to be the Spice Girls, I always had to be Scary because I was “brown” – even though I was clearly the best Posh.

‘When I was a bit older I remember reading the poem “Half-caste” by John Agard in a class.

‘I clearly didn’t understand the message as I was really pleased I had a name to identify myself with. I told my mum and she explained why it was a racist term, so I quickly switched to saying I was mixed.

‘That was the first time it occurred to me that being mixed could be controversial. I don’t remember anyone before that pointing out that I was different and that it was a bad thing.’…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Travel Light Travel Dark

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Poetry, United Kingdom on 2012-09-24 18:05Z by Steven

Travel Light Travel Dark

Bloodaxe Books
96 pages
216 x 138 mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781852249915

John Agard

John Agard has been broadening the canvas of British poetry for the past 35 years with his mischievous, satirical fables which overturn all our expectations. In this new symphonic collection, Travel Light Travel Dark, Agard casts his unique spin on the intermingling strands of British history, and leads us into metaphysical and political waters. Cross-cultural connections are played out in a variety of voices and cadences. Prospero and Caliban have a cricket match encounter, recounted in calypso-inspired rhythms, and in the long poem, “Water Music of a Different Kind,” the incantatory orchestration of the Atlantic’s middle passage becomes a moving counterpoint to Handel’s Water Music.

Travel Light Travel Dark brings a mythic dimension to the contemporary and opens with a meditation on the enigma of colour. Water often appears as a metaphoric riff within the fabric of the collection, as sugar cane tells its own story in “Sugar Cane’s Saga” and water speaks for itself in a witty debate with wine, inspired by the satirical tradition of the goliards, wandering clerics of the Middle Ages.

Tags: ,

Half-Caste and Other Poems

Posted in Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Poetry, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Teaching Resources, United Kingdom on 2009-12-19 22:06Z by Steven

Half-Caste and Other Poems

Hodder Literature
Paperback: 80 pages
19.4 x 12.2 x 0.8 cm
ISBN-10: 0340893893
ISBN-13: 978-0340893890

John Agard

Half-Caste’, the title poem of this collection, is one of the set poems for GCSE English for AQA A, the largest spec with 375,000 candidates. But its influence and presence extends well beyond the ‘AQA’ schools, making John Agard one of the most popular, well-known and respected poet-performers on the schools circuit.

Through his 45 poems, John Agard explores a wide variety of themes: racial harmony, tension and diversity; war and religion; society, patriotism and politics; as well as more personal ideas on relationships, love and attraction. This is all delivered with a range and depth in terms of content, language, poetic form and technique that will engage and motivate KS3 and KS4 pupils while developing their understanding. An ideal collection to sit at the heart of a scheme of work on cross-cultural themes.

Table of Contents

And All Was Good
My Move Your Move
Union Jack and Union Jill
Half-caste [Read here.]
A Word
Message From Your Mobile
Right-On Mr Left
Smoke-loving Girl Blues
Angels For Neighbours
A Vampire’s Priorities
A Hello From Cello
The Hurt Boy and The Birds
That Mouth
Behold My Pen
Punctuating The Silence
Poetry Jump-Up
Follow That Steel Pan
Coal’s Son and Diamond’s Daughter
A Date With Spring
volte For Your Local Shadow
The Ozone Liar
Who’ll Sve Dying Man?
For the Record
One Question From A Bullet
A Hand On A Forehead
Not Arms
Checking Out Me History
Toussaint L’Overture Acknowledges Wordsworth’s Sonnet ‘To Toussaint L’Overture’
Windrush Child
Crybaby Prime Minister
A Social Skeleton
The Giant With A Taste For Mongrel Blood
Behind The Menu
Marriage of Opposites

Tags: , , ,