Fred D’Aguiar

Fred D’Aguiar is Northern Arts Literary Fellow for 1990-1992. He is the author of two books of poems, Mama Dot and Airy Hall.

Three Poems

Fred D’Aguiar, 5 August 1993


Pert cushions with a limited supply of blood, and heat. Buns that can grab.

They rob the high-jumper of that extra centimetre, costing the world record.

They deny the ballet dancer that perfect straight line while tucking in the tail.

An innocent slap on the backside is never an innocent slap on the backside.

We would take from our buttocks to save our face but not from our face to...

Poem: ‘A Gift of a Rose’

Fred D’Aguiar, 25 October 1990

Two policemen (I remember there were at least two) stopped me and gave me a bunch of red, red roses. I nursed them with ice and water mixed with soluble aspirin. The roses had an instant bloom attracting stares and points from children; toddlers cried and ran.

This is not the season for roses everyone said, you must have done something to procure them. I argued I was simply flashed down and...

A Necessary Gospel

Sean O’Brien, 6 June 1996

It was as a poet that Fred D’ Aguiar first won recognition, with his 1985 collection Mama Dot, set in the Guyanese village where the English-born D’ Aguiar was sent to be educated....

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Ever so comfy

James Wood, 24 March 1994

Every handful of John Updike’s silver has its square coin, its bad penny, its fake. This exquisitely careful writer tends to relax into flamboyance: it is the verbal equivalent of...

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Robert Crawford, 20 April 1989

‘Where do you come from?’ asks one of the most important questions in contemporary poetry – where’s home? Answering the pulls and torsions of that question produces much...

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Dialect does it

Blake Morrison, 5 December 1985

Poetry written in dialect seems to be undergoing a resurgence. Tony Harrison has made extensive use of Northern idioms. Tom Paulin has been busy raiding Ulster (and, I suspect, Scottish)...

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