Analysis

An analysis of “Listen Mr Oxford don” by John Agard tells us that the poem’s outer composition is comprised of eight stanzas with different lengths. Its inner composition shows that the poem explores several aspects related to differences between immigrant and English culture, and the idea that, because of these differences, immigrants are often discriminated against in the UK.

The characters in the poem include the speaker, who is a Caribbean immigrant, and Mr Oxford don, an imaginary English professor from Oxford University. Mr Oxford don represents educated English people who see immigrants in a negative light.

The poem’s language reflects how many immigrants often use dialect and non-standard grammar. Since some English people condemn immigrants for how they use the English language, the speaker uses non-standard grammar on purpose to take ownership of this aspect of his culture, and uses it as a weapon to speak against discrimination.

You can read the full analysis in the following pages.

Poem analysis

For more advice about analyzing poetry, you can read our general guide to poem analysis.