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Fred D'Aguiar

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  • Fred D'Aguiar was born in London of Guyanese parents, and grew up in Guyana before returning to London for his secondary and tertiary education. He has lived in the US since the mid-90s and currently he is Professor of English at UCLA. He trained as a psychiatric nurse before reading African and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury. He was Judith E. Wilson Fellow at Cambridge University and has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. For the Unnamed (2023) is Fred D'Aguiar's fifth collection with Carcanet. His previous poetry book, Letters to America was a Poetry Book Society Winter Choice in 2020. Carcanet also published his nonfiction, Year of Plagues (2021).
    Praise for Fred D'Aguiar 'D'Aguiar's electric prose vividly recounts a cancer diagnosis and treatment in the Covid year, a private suffering amid a collective one.'

    Sandeep Parmar, New Statesman

    'Nothing in this book is sentimental or simple... Reading Year of Plagues is a contradictory experience. Both its language and the experience it conveys are too complex and rich to skim over, and yet the prose has an ongoing urgency, speed and impatience that hustle the reader along. Time passes both slowly and quickly... Yet when he breaks into song or waxes rhapsodic, time stops.'

    Rachel Hadas, Times Literary Supplement

    'I've long admired D'Aguiar's poetry for its musicality, which rarely has anything less than perfect pitch, even when taking on extended narrative or dramatic monologue... Still, there's a shift in these Letters, even more swing and dare in the language and an unflinching political activism. Put simply, D'Aguiar is writing the most accomplished and interesting work of his life.'

    James Byrne, The Poetry Review

    'There are some exceptional poems, including the title poem Letters to America (An Abecedary) [...] The poetry is vibrant and musical'

    Adrian B. Earle, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal

    'An array of sublime poems that unfold unsettling accounts of 'black' identity and the horrors of slavery...written with refreshing candour.'
    Mohammad Fahran, Wasafiri
    'Translations from Memory everywhere suggests the vital necessity of continually revisiting and revising our cultural past... It asserts the presence of those who have been written out of it and shows how the complex legacies of slavery and colonialism remain under-explored and undigested.'
    Sarala Estruch, The Times Literary Supplement
    'D'Aguiar manages to weave together memoir, history and critical race theory in ways that deepen our understanding of his poetics...Translations from Memory [...] will no doubt cement his standing as one of the most important Guyanese writers of the twentieth century.'
    Leo Boix, Poetry London
     'D'Aguiar is not generally concerned with textual translation in this collection: he applies the word in a broader sense... abbreviations seem part of the serious trans-cultural game, inviting recognition, but also making the outsider notice the limits and exclusions their own education has entailed. Whether the planet's human creatures might coexist without radically mistranslating each other is one of the vigorously posed questions.'
    'Reformation' was The Guardian's Poem of the Week, September 24th 2018

      'A prolific, multi-talented writer in genres including drama, prose fiction and the verse-novel, D'Aguiar fulfils both contemporary and traditional expectations of the poet's role.'
    Carol Rumens, The Guardian
     'D'Aguiar interrogates and reassesses whatever he sees in a poetry that is flexible and fast paced, every action, every relationship thrown into fierce relief by a sense of threat and insecurity...'
    Charles Bainbridge, The Guardian
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