Speaker

The poem “Listen Mr Oxford don” by John Agard is written from a first-person perspective by a speaker who identifies as an immigrant: “Me not no Oxford don/me a simple immigrant/from Clapham Common.” (p. 69, ll. 1-3). The poem’s language reflects the Caribbean English dialect, suggesting that the speaker is a Caribbean immigrant. John Agard himself is an immigrant to the UK from British Guyana, a former British colony that is classified as a Caribbean country. The speaker’s words might, therefore, reflect Agard’s own experience in the UK.

The speaker also emphasizes one of the main perceived differences between him and white English people: “I didn’t graduate/I immigrate” (p. 60, ll. 4-5). This could also suggest that some Englishmen simply assume he is uneducated because he is an immigrant. By rhyming the words “graduate” and “immigrate”, the speaker hints that in his view the two situations are equally valid – even if they would not be seen as such by most English people.

The speaker usually adopts a...

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