John Agard To Receive The Queen's Gold Medal For Poetry 2012

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John Agard To receive Queen's Gold Medal For Poetry

Buckingham Palace announced earlier this week that John Agard is to be awarded The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2012. The Medal is awarded for excellence in poetry, and will be formally presented in 2013.
Guyana-born Agard is only the second black writer to receive the Gold Medal for Poetry. The award's scope was widened in 1985 to include writers from across the Commonwealth.

The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has said, "John Agard has always made people sit up and listen. He has done this with intelligence, humour and generosity. He has the ability to temper anger with wit and difficult truths with kindness. He levels the ground beneath all our feet, whether he is presenting Dante to children or introducing his own (Guyanan) culture to someone who hasn't encountered it before. In performance he is electrifying - compelling, funny, moving and thought-provoking. His work in Education over years has changed the way that readers, writers and teachers think about poetry."

John Agard commented, "When told the news out of the blue on the phone by the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, I couldn't believe my ears and it took a little time to sink in. I am delighted as well as touched to be in the company of such names as Charles Causley, Norman MacCaig, Gillian Clarke, Stevie Smith , Derek Walcott. I am deeply thankful to the Poetry Medal Committee who supported my nomination for this honour and to all who supported my work over the years."

John Agard grew up in Georgetown, Guyana, in the 1950s. In 1977 he moved to the UK, and he has lived in Lewes, East Sussex, since 1978. He is a poet, performer and anthologist who has published many books of poetry both for adults and for children. His first two collections of poetry for adults were published by Serpent's Tail, followed by five with Bloodaxe, most recently his two 2009 publications, Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems (with an accompanying DVD JOHN AGARD LIVE!), and a separate collection Clever Backbone. A new collection, Travel Light Travel Dark, will be published by Bloodaxe in June 2013. His most recent book of poems for younger readers is Goldilocks on CCTV (Frances Lincoln, 2011). John Agard won the Casa de las Américas Prize in 1982, a Paul Hamlyn Award in 1997, and the Guyana Prize for two of his Bloodaxe collections From the Devil's Pulpit (1997) and Weblines (2000). His collection We Brits (Bloodaxe, 2006) was shortlisted for the 2007 Decibel Writer of the Year Award. He was writer-in-residence with the BBC in 1998, working with the Windrush Project, and writer-in-residence at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich in 2007. As a touring speaker with the Commonwealth Institute, he visited nearly 2000 schools promoting Caribbean culture and poetry. John Agard is available for interview.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on December 22, 2012 9:40 AM.

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