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John Agard: 'I feel an empathy with the bad characters'
Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Not Enabled Word Wise: Not Enabled Screen Reader: The uncovering of secret names in many cultures is also a severe trauma. The anguish is evident in the poem: I put it to Agard that there is a tendency in his poems to delve beneath the conventional view. Agard grew up in Georgetown, in what was then British Guiana.
He fondly recalls his time spent as an altar boy, his Roman Catholic upbringing evident in his poems. Another key influence that affected his love of words was BBC cricket commentary. I ask him whether he ever dreamed of going on Test Match Special: Agard moved to Britain in , with his wife, the poet Grace Nichols, to pursue their dream of becoming writers. He describes feeling the pull of the mother country as a result of a childhood spent studying Chaucer and Shakespeare. He has spent more time living in Britain than his native homeland, yet he is still heavily influenced by his upbringing in Guyana.
As a result, he says continents fill his head space and inspire his creativity. I ask him if he has had to contend with racial prejudice in Britain. The sooner we can face the fact that Western education is entrenched with preconceived notions of other societies, the better. Has British society made progress in its attitudes, I ask? That would never happen in France or Spain. I had to stop reading it during my diner as I was choking with laughter.
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- John Agard: 'I feel an empathy with the bad characters' - Telegraph.
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