Roger McGough’s Summer with Monika

Roger McGough

I have been a fan of Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten ever since I came across The Mersey Sound, Penguin Modern Poets 10, in my schooldays. Published in 1967, the same year as the Beatles came out with Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, it had the same mixture of whimsy, youthfulness and social commentary. Like the Beatles, McGough, Henri and Patten came from Liverpool; hence the title of their anthology, The Mersey Sound. It was a bestseller and I loved it. Especially the poems Tonight at Noon and Love Is…, both by Adrian Henri.

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Unleash the poet within

Unleash The Poet Within
Is a primer for women
To try their hand at verse,
Though why it’s male-averse
I’ve no notion
Or explanation
For. Is the author,
Wendy Nyemaster,
A literary feminist,
A versifying specialist,
Intent on a sorority
Skilled in prosody,
But absolutely no time
To teach men to rhyme?

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The poems of Philip Larkin

Often wry and dry, mocking and wistful in turns, sometimes even bitter and foul-mouthed, Philip Larkin is no Wordsworth, William Blake or Keats. He doesn’t go into raptures about love or nature or into spiritual ecstasy. He isn’t a poet who offers solace or comfort. And yet, as James Booth says in his book, Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love:

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Life Saving: Why We Need Poetry

Reading a book of poems can be such a pleasure. There’s the thrill of discovering a poem that absolutely bowls you over, the pleasure of re-reading an old favourite and learning something about the life of the poet or poets whose poetry fills the book. I derived all three pleasures from Life Saving: Why We Need Poetry, Introductions to Great Poets by Josephine Hart.

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