John Agard on Desert Island Discs
John Agard was the castaway on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on 16 November 2014.
‘Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the poet John Agard. His work is studied widely in British schools. He was the BBC's first poet in residence and, along with WH Auden and Philip Larkin, he's a recipient of The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Born in Guyana, he arrived here in the mid-1970s already playing with words like some people play with musical notes. If his style is often satirical, his subjects provide wincing real-ism - examining the scars of slavery or the historical myopia of a shared past judged solely through European eyes. He says he believes that 'the poet keeps us in touch with the vulnerable core of language that makes us what we are.'’
During the course of the interview John Agard read an extract from his poem ‘Listen Mr Oxford don’ from Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems. A film of him reading this poem is included on the DVD that accompanies the book.
The interview is archived on the Desert Island Discs pages of the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04p5m1k
[05 July 2018]