Composition

The outer composition of John Agard’s “Listen Mr Oxford don” shows us that the poem is comprised of eight stanzas with different lengths in which the poet combines different rhyming and rhythm patterns.

The poem’s inner composition suggests that it explores prejudices about immigrants and how they are discriminated against in the UK by some English people, especially those who belong to traditional English establishments such as universities. The speaker also seems to warn the ‘Oxford don’ – a professor at Oxford University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world - that a man who is treated as a criminal might become dangerous. However, the speaker does not use literal weapons but instead uses language to protest against discrimination.

You can find our in-depth discussion on the composition of the poem in the next pages.