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Clever Backbone
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About the Author

Poet, performer, anthologist, John Agard was born in Guyana and came to Britain in 1977. His many books include eight from Bloodaxe, From the Devil's Pulpit (1997), Weblines (2000), We Brits (2006), Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems (2009), Clever Backbone (2009), Travel Light Travel Dark (2013), Playing the Ghost of Maimonides (2016) and The Coming of the Little Green Man (2018). He is the winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry for 2012, presented to him by The Queen on 12 March 2013. He won the Casa de las Americas Prize in 1982, a Paul Hamlyn Award in 1997, and a Cholmondeley Award in 2004. We Brits was shortlisted for the 2007 Decibel Writer of the Year Award, and he has won the Guyana Prize twice, for his From the Devil's Pulpit and Weblines. The Coming of the Little Green Man is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. He lives with the poet Grace Nichols and family in Sussex; they received the CLPE Poetry Award 2003 for their children's anthology Under the Moon and Over the Sea (Walker Books).

Reviews

'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 'The new poems create multiple entertaining voices, but they are also urgent fables for our time' - Paula Burnett, Times Literary Supplement 'A specialist in word trickery - Agard is one of our most consistent, culture-crossing spokesmen' - Graeme Wright, Poetry Review '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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