The verses use many of the signposts of oral poetry tradition, reflecting the Afro-Caribbean situation. Every single person that visits has helped contribute, so thank you for your support. (…) The other thing this verse notes is that, unsurprisingly, the class learns about Christopher Columbus, and it is here that they do learn about other cultures — specifically the Carib Islanders and the Arawak peoples. They very strongly capture the image of a determined, intelligent, influential woman and ask why no one learns about her. While Agard shows anger at his lack of Caribbean education, he ends the poem on a positive note. Flag By John Agard. Checking Out Me History is a poem of two sides. When John Agard wrote ‘Checking Out Me History’ (published in 2005), however, he wanted a different voice to be the speaker of the poem — not the reader, and not necessarily himself either, but someone who didn’t already have one. The poem ‘Checking Out Me History’ is both an angry and assertive poem that links the history one is taught in school with a sense of cultural identity or lack thereof. Apply understanding of the poem with questions that target each of the AOs, Or for a quick revision tool have a look at our Checking Out Me History Revision Sheet, Collect useful revision information on all of the Power and Conflict poems with this DIY Knowledge Organiser, Identify key quotations across the Power and Conflict cluster with this matching card activity pack. John Agard received the Queen’s Medal for Poetry in 2012 and his poetry frequently appears on the GCSE curriculum. He refers to the need to learn about his history in a permanent way. No dem never tell me bout dat, The narrator of this poem is introduced through their voice, relayed through words such as “dem” and “wha,” better understood as “them” and “what,” which indicates to the reader immediately that English is not likely the native language of the speaker. Checking Out Me History is a modern poem by the Guyanese poet, John Agard. Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest and greatest poetry updates. The Soldiers Came by John Agard. Add an image, video, or tweet by pasting in the URL:; Add a link like this: [Check out my fave website]( John Agard. Toussaint The Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon was defeated and forced to abdicate his position as French Emperor is also mentioned. The annotation prompts are a supportive tool, intended to encourage further poetry analysis and interpretation. (…) He uses the physical separation of the stanzas and the font styles to indicate which culture he is referencing. Dem tell me bout 1066 and all dat dem tell me bout Dick Whittington and he cat But Touissant L’Ouverture From the perspective of a culturally oppressed individual, this verse is inspirational and very saddening. And de cow who jump over de moon Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Links Off. Much of colonial society was about being told what one’s place in the world was by someone else — in this verse, the narrator is breaking free. Both women came to great repute during the war among soldiers, who were grateful for their commitment — but the speaker is only learning about Nightingale, amidst nonsensical stories of Robin Hood and “ole King Cole.”. Toussaint de beacon Further blogs featuring poems on the Power and Conflict module can be explored in ‘The Emigrée or ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. A bandage should be healing in nature but here it is used to hide the truth from the poet. She is shown to be more sensible and brave than the British who tried to prevent her from reaching Russia. He points out, for instance, that Toussaint was able to defeat (“lick back”) Napoleon in battle, a strong contradiction to the highly respected image of Napoleon that would have been especially prominent in a colonial schooling environment. In some ways, this is why poetry can be such a subjective art form — without any voice aside from the reader’s own, those readers are free to draw their own inferences and meanings from the text. Use of metaphor is reserved for the figures from black history rather than those from British culture. The language and structure of this verse is all that is required to indicate that the narrator believes it is far more important to learn about figures with vision and heart who fight for what they believe in, than to learn about folklore tales. A bargain and a time-saver all in one! The line could easily be a part of an old cheerful song, and this is the idea — John Agard is juxtaposing the nature of what the speaker is learning with the nature of what they are not learning. In terms of meaning, ‘Checking Out Me History’ is a fairly straightforward poem; the voice is the most unique element, but it is filled with a rich historic context that makes up the bulk of the poem’s story, which is, in large part, a colonial story. There isn’t an enforced structure that dictates the poem, but there is rhyme throughout much of it; in these stanzas, there is a loose rhyme at the end of the second and third stanza, without a syllable count to solidify any kind of structure. The second stanza in this section of ‘Checking Out Me History’ highlights much of the perceived character of Nanny the Maroon, using nature-based imagery to bring a positive influence to the picture. Mary Seacole’s defiance of the British is referred to as a heroic action: ‘even when de British said no’. ‘Checking Out Me History’ is about how we are educated and how it can be biased. Start studying Checking out me history - key quotes. After logging in you can close it and return to this page. Hopeful stream The use of ‘bandage’ perhaps refers to the fact that colonialists felt they were doing this (giving a European education) ‘for the good of the people’. The title of the poem reflects the subject matter. Lord Horatio Nelson, an officer of the British Navy famous for losing an arm and an eye before losing his life after continually fighting and achieving victory after victory during the Napoleonic Wars, is something the speaker learns about. He is determined to learn about and embrace his own history.