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John Agard

Kirsty Young talks to poet and playwright John Agard.

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 realism - 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."

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

45 minutes

Music Played

  • Kate Bush

    Wuthering Heights

    • The Kick Inside.
    • EMI.
  • Amália Rodrigues

    Aranjuez, mon Amour

    • Amália Canta David.
    • Edições Valentim de Carvalho.
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience

    The Wind Cries Mary

    • The Singles Album: Jimmy Hendrix.
    • Polydor.
  • Bob Dylan

    Shelter from the Storm

    • Bob Dylan at Budokan.
    • Columbia.
  • Jimmy Cliff

    Vietnam

    • The Best Of Jimmy Cliff.
    • Reprise.
  • Jethro Tull

    A Time for Everything

    • Benefit.
    • Chrysalis.
  • Emeli Sandé

    Read All About it

    • A Symphony Of British Music: Music For The Closing Ceremony Of The London 2012 Olympic Games.
    • UMC/Decca.
  • Lord Invader

    You don't Need Glasses to See

    • Calypso War.
    • Sequel.
  • Book Choice

    • Book of Hours by Thomas Merton

  • Luxury Item

    • A roll up of organic tobacco

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest John Agard
Producer Cathy Drysdale

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