John Agard

John Agard was born and educated in Guyana and came to Britain in 1977. He has won numerous awards internationally for his poetry, including the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2012, the Casa de las Américas Prize (1982), and a Cholmondeley Award (2004). His book We Brits was shortlisted for the 2007 Decibel Writer of the Year Award and he has won the Guyana Prize twice. His many collections of poetry for children and adults include Playing the Ghost of Maimonides and Travel Light, Travel Dark. He has also written Alternative Anthem, The Young Inferno – a spin on Dante's classic for young readers, which was awarded the 2009 CLPE Poetry Prize – and Book, in which the Book tells its own story. He was the first poet in residence at the South Bank Centre in 1993, and has also been poet in residence at the BBC and at the Greenwich Maritime Museum.

Photo: François M. Norris


Roll Over Atlantic »

The enterprise of Christopher Columbus re-imagined in verse and song

Wed 1 March | 19:30 - 21:00 | £9.50/£7.50 | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Auditorium


Columbus Discovers Himself

Sailing interior seas is a risky enterprise.

Who knows what Other dwells
under the skin’s uncharted skies?

What manner of fauna and flora
will the blood’s Sargasso deliver?

The brain’s treacherous horizon ahoy.
The tierra incognita of self-discovery.

O maples mariner lost in his inner Indies.


John Agard

From Travel Light, Travel Dark (Bloodaxe, 2013)