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Gold Medal for Poetry awarded to John Agard

John Agard has been given the royal seal of approval as the winner of Her Majesty’s Gold Medal Award for Poetry in 2012.

Agard has been recognised for his body of work in recent years, including his 2009 volume Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems and Goldilocks on CCTV, his book of children’s poems released in 2011.

The poetry medal committee, chaired by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, met in November at Buckingham Palace and agreed Agard should be nominated for the award.

Growing up in Guyana where his first books were published, Agard moved to the UK in 1977 working as a touring speaker for the Commonwealth Institute and the National Maritime Museum in London. Numerous volumes of his prose and verse have since been produced.

Duffy said: "John Agard has always made people sit up and listen. He has done this with intelligence, humour and generosity. He has the ability to temper anger with wit and difficult truths with kindness.”

The Gold Medal was first introduced by King George V in 1933 and is awarded to someone in the UK or Commonwealth who showcases an outstanding published poetry collection, or body of work.

Awarded to John Shapcott last year, other previous winners include Laurence Whistler and John Betjeman. The Queen will present Agard with his medal in 2013.