John Agard was born in 1949 in British Guyana and moved to England in 1977. He is a playwright, poet and short story writer. His poetry reflects on the linguistic and cultural clashes between immigrant and British culture. Even though the themes in his poems are serious, he writes them with a humorous approach. He has travelled the world with his poetry and introduced the Caribbean culture to people around the world.
The poem is called ‘Listen Mr Oxford don’ and it was written in 1985. The title gives the reader a desire to find out what the author wants to tell the don. It also gives the impression that the poem is a proclamation to the don and that the author is angry with the don.
The poem is written in a first person speak from John Agard’s point of view. He expresses his anger towards the ‘don’. In the poem, it say that he is an immigrant and that he did not graduate. He expresses a threat towards the don: “I’m a man on de run, and a man on the run, is a dangerous one” and “I warning you Mr Oxford don, I’m a wanted man, and a wanted man is a dangerous one”. He is angry because people is accusing him of being dangerous because of his language and different looks and culture.
What is standard English in the text and what is not?
He writes ‘de’ instead of ‘the’ and “I ent have no knife” instead of “I don’t have a knife”. He also writes “yu” instead of “your”, “dem” instead of “they” and “mek” instead of “make”. He writes it the way he pronounces the words because of his accent.
He is doing it on purpose because he wants to rebel against the Standard English: “… mugging the Queen’s English is the story of my life”. The words he chooses shows that he has a different background than the ‘normal’ British people. He is an immigrant from British Guyana and he does not have a long education: “I didn’t graduate, I immigrate”.
In the text, you can see that he is in a low...