1. Choose only one subject: Language or  Race
  2. 1st poem: “Inglan is a Bitch” by Linton Kwesi Johnson. 2ed Poem John Agard “Listen Mr. Oxford Don”

Compare and contrast them in terms of your chosen subject and with reference to the works’ background. (Brainstorming questions: How these poems use and cover that subject? What kind of an approach they bring and why? Do they criticize something? Do they support an idea? )


Contemporary English poets of commonwealth country origin  expose the racism of English society through language approach

the contemporary British poetry written by immigrants. – multiculturalism or transculturalism.

this kind of poetry actually makes race, gender, sexual orientation or geopolitical location, all these things are its subject matter

the British Empire was known infamously as the country on which the sun never sets, because they had lands all over the world, so it’s also kind of showing you a very sad story of colonization or colonized lands – West Indies or Jamaican culture.

Jamaican sub youth culture in England which is of course dominantly working class it affects the cultural scene in terms of music and poetry they are also bringing and evolving their cultural inheritance and fitting it into the everyday culture of England as well

Lee Jenkins in her article says that the poetry of immigrants, on the contemporary poetry in general, is the poetry and politica giving you the poetry in politics of this location. So, you are coming from a different country, different culture.




Agard at least studied maybe not college, but at least for his A levels he studied English, French and Latin Johnson is graduated from a university in London, he has a sociology degree. They’re English, . Agard and Johnson uses phonetic patois disregarding the rules of written English.  deliberately to make a point about how Immigrants or how the colonies were forced to learn English and it is very powerful because it shows us that language is actually important and dangerous tool.

It is rebellious because you know that he studied sociology at Goldsmiths and he’s a poet, it means that he knows perfect English

but it’s not my mother tongue and I can actually use it and abuse it as I like. But on the other hand, they are also playing with all these prejudices because when we are talking about immigrants

“Inglan is a Bitch” by Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Linton Kwesi Johnson, uses the English of the West Indies or Jamaican English. But John Agard, we can talk about a British Guyana. Therefore, they are all introducing their own regional dialect

look at the concept of language when it comes to someone who actually speaks English as second language not as his or her mother tongue

Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in 1952, he is a Jamaican dub poet which means a performance poet

Johnson is the person who coined the term ‘dub poet’. This kind of a performance using poetry is something he started, he named and following him another famous artist cultivated and combined it with reggae music, this idea is also very Jamaican,

. John Agard is coming from Georgetown.

He is trying to show us the situation for black people in Britain as well. Talking about the title “Inglan is a Bitch”, it is a very offensive title, it’s calling England as a bitch , So he’s kind of angry and disappointed as well


poorly paid jobs, it also requires hard work. And it starts with a job in the underground we see him taking so many different jobs day and night

You will be paid poorly but there is no possibility of staying at one job and getting promotions and becoming something completely different

Only at the very end, he finds a job at a factory and works there for 15 years, but then he is forced to retire or he’s forced to drop the job.

when it comes to you as the native of another land, speaking another language that you are just the colonized and you are always being seen as the other

you have a new kind of slavery as a working class immigrant that you have to suffer certain problems that you have to change jobs and do the hard work, etc. So maybe that’s why he says, “Dere’s no escapin it”

There is a certain way of building this poem in terms of language and form because it also enables Johnson to perform it. Of course inevitably it makes this poem or this kind of poetry something completely different than English poetry

this kind of reggae music and performing poetry is not making it English.

It’s something that’s to protect the culture, the Jamaican culture in it, that’s why Linton Kwesi Johnson is actually a very important poet. He is of course talking about immigrants, the black British working class community actually you don’t have to be a black working class person to sympathize and empathize with what’s going on because he is actually referring to any member of the working class, any immigrants living under these conditions in England.

John Agard    “Listen Mr. Oxford Don”

John Agard is an Afro-Guyanese poet. He’s coming from British Guiana, he was born in 1949 and moved to England in 1977.

He is not a university graduate but he studied English, French and Latin for his A Levels. So again, when it comes to the idea of learning a language and culture, he perfected it.

“Listen Mr. Oxford Don” is kind of a poem spoken to an Oxford don. Don means a professor in Oxford or Cambridge who very special and unique, they are not called professors, they are called Oxford dons.

the problem here is again, of course, the superior attitude of the highly educated white upper class man in England when it comes to the immigrants. This poem is a very, very ironic poem.

This poem is also using poetic patois, it’s not completely written in perfect English,

We can see that this is again a very deliberate choice on the poet’s side, he wants to get something from the common immigrants’ point of view using his language but at the same time this is also something to do with the prejudices as well. An Oxford don will always think that you are an immigrant.

There is the idea of cultural ratio or cultural erosion that you are not just colonizing the land, you are colonizing everything, starting with the language, culture, literature, etc. You are affecting everything *  if you want to actually kill a nation, if you want to make them completely dependent on you kill their language.

language is a very a powerful weapon and that’s why he says that “I ent have no gun / I ent have no knife” but while saying this, according to an Oxford Don, he’s already committed crime because he’s killing the language by evading all of its rules

The way we use language is a dangerous weapon. The language that we use is our accessory, that’s why he says “I making de Queen’s English accessory/ to my offence”. But of course using poetic patois, he’s again kind of trying to show us the frictions between writing and speech, and it’s again revealing something about ethnicity and regional dialect, so, of course, the dominant idea of being an immigrant, and he also says that I “from Clapham Common”. Clapham Common is in South London and South London is still known for its multicultural and multinational structure.