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Alternative Anthem

John Agard has been broadening the canvas of British poetry for the past 30 years with his mischievous, satirical fables which overturn all our expectations. "Alternative Anthem" is a live album of poems from books published over three decades, including "John Agard Live!", a DVD of filmed highlights from recent performances made by filmmaker Pamela Robertson-Pearce. It includes poetry from "We Brits" in which the Guyanese-born word magician gives an outsider-insider view of British life in poems which both challenge and cherish our peculiar culture and hallowed institutions; "Weblines" that contains three powerful Caribbean myths of transformation: the steeldrum, the limbo dancer, and Anansi, the spider trickster god; and, "From the Devil's Pulpit" that is a Devil's eye view of the world, sweeping from Genesis across time; and, other collections including "Mangoes and Bullets" and "Lovelines for a Goat-Born Lady", as well his children's books, featuring some of Agard's best-known poems - "Listen Mr Oxford don", "Palm Tree King", "Half-Caste", and "English Girl Eats Her First Mango".John Agard's latest collection, "Clever Backbone", is published by Bloodaxe at the same time as "Alternative Anthem".
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About the Author

Poet, performer, anthologist, John Agard was born in Guyana and came to Britain in 1977. He won the Casa de las Americas Prize in 1982, and a Paul Hamlyn Award in 1997. 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. His books include five collections from Bloodaxe, From the Devil's Pulpit (1997), Weblines (2000), and We Brits (2006), which was shortlisted for the 2007 Decibel Writer of the Year Award; and now Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems and Clever Backbone, published simultaneously in 2009. His anthology Hello New (2000), published by Orchard Books, was chosen by the Poetry Society as its Children's Poetry Bookshelf Best Anthology. He lives in Lewes, East Sussex.


'John Agard's poetry is a wonderful affirmation of life, in a language that is as vital and joyous as we are able to craft it in the Caribbean, in spite of our history of distress' - David Dabydeen 'His poems are direct and arresting, playful, full of startling imagery, and are hilarious, passionate and erotic as often as they are political - often managing to be all these things at once' - Maura Dooley 'One of the most eloquent contemporary poets - rich in literary and cultural allusion, yet as direct as a voice in the bus queue' - Helen Dunmore, Observer

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