WORD! Black History Special with John Agard and Friends

  • This PAST event happened on: Thu, Oct 26, 2023

  • Venue:Attenborough Arts Centre, Lancaster Road, LE1 7HA
  • Time:6:30pm
  • Cost:£4 / £7
  • Web Address:https://www2.le.ac.uk/hosted/attenborougharts/whatson

  • Join us for a very special evening celebrating the poetry and words of international poet John Agard and local poet sensations brought to you through a collaboration between Renaissance One and WORD! We'll offer a space for conversation, performance and a Caribbean-style lime. 

    John Agard is a poet, playwright and short story writer who grew up in Guyana, where his love of language stemmed from listening to cricket commentaries on the radio. He has won many prizes, including the Smarties Book Prize and the Queen’s Gold Medal and in 2021 was awarded the prestigious BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding contribution to children’s literature. John is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and his work appears in an AQA anthology for GCSE English Literature. With his wife, the poet Grace Nichols, John has edited the Walker anthologies A Caribbean Dozen and Under the Moon and Over the Sea, and he is the author of the Carnegie-longlisted My Name Is Book. John lives in Lewes, East Sussex. 

    John will be supported by several key local poets, including Kamisha and Michael Brome

    Kamisha is a local poet who runs a yearly African Caribbean Poetry Honouring at Spinney Hill Park at the Oscar Frank Memorial Bench. Kamisha wrote her first poem at school at 8 years old, which she still has. Her Poetry journey really began in 2021 by attending poetry events such as WORD! and Pinggg...K! Kamisha headlined at the Y theatre in September this year with her personal collection of poems covering a range of subject areas from self reflective to self empowerment as well as themed poems about her late Father and the Ancestors.

    Michael Brome is a poet and a favourite on the East Midlands arts scenes.  He’s performed widely, from music festivals and arts venues to universities, pubs and day centres. He was winner of the national ‘Spoken Word Commission’ initiated by Baroness Lola Young that resulted in a showcase at Southbank Centre and he was also a contributing artist to the ‘Freedom Showcase’ the abolition of the slave trade bicentenary series.  Michael uses his writing and powerful oratory to respond to changes in culture and society resulting in diverse commissions. 

    Praise for John... 

    "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 

    “A unique and energetic force in contemporary British poetry, John Agard’s poems combine acute social observation, puckish wit and a riotous imagination to thrilling effect.” - Poetry Archive 

    “A wonderful affirmation of life, in a language that is vital and joyous”— David Dabydeen 

    “John is one of the most exciting, energetic and spellbinding readers you’ll hear, breathing passion and energy into each of his poems when he speaks them aloud.” - Poetry Archive 

    “Surreal and playful, John Agard’s stories reveal hidden truths that subtly change our view of who we are and where we come from.”— Hope Publishing 

    “Agard received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2012, but he is nonetheless a poet of the people; or, better still, the nation’s jester, speaking truth to power in many registers.” - Fred D’Aguiar, Times Literary Supplement.  

    "In the year when we learnt of the damage and cruelty that the UK’s hostile-environment policies inflicted on the Windrush generation, John Agard strikes back with these cleverly crafted parables of an outsider.'– Maria Crawford, Financial Times (Poetry Books of the Year 2018), on The Coming of the Little Green Man 

    "If Agard had not already been forged in the roller-coaster aftermath of empire, there would be an urgent need for society to invent someone like him.’ – William Wallis, Financial Times  Magazine