category: Poetry

October 03, 2006

National Poetry Day - Readings at Liverpool Libraries


Thursday 5th October – Identity: LIVERPOOL – City of Poets

North End Writers will read 10 poems in 5 Liverpool libraries in the north end of the city on Thursday starting at Fazakerley (10 am), then Walton (11.30 am), Breck Road (1 pm), Norris Green (2.30 pm) and Kensington (4 pm). These readings were designed as a celebration of many wonderful poets from Liverpool on a day that has taken Identity as its theme; also, for North End Writers, the readings had other purposes – to take poetry to people in the North of the city which, they believe, often misses out on cultural and creative opportunities and to raise some funds to help develop the work they are already doing, through sponsorship from friends and local businesses.

They read from the work of Felicia Hemans, John Tessimond, Adrian Henri, Roger McGough, Brian Patten, Deryn Rees Jones, Matt Simpson, Mohammad Khalil, Michael Murphy and Paul Farley. The reading concluded with a spoken version of the Beatles In My Life – performed as a love poem to the city itself.

Pauline Rowe, Co-ordinator, said – “We decided to start with one of the most parodied poems of all time, Felicia Hemans‘ Casabianca which opens: ‘The boy stood on the burning deck, whence all but he had fled..‘ Hemans was one of the best-selling lyric poets of the nineteenth century and she was born in Duke Street – whether we like it or not her writing reflects an imperialistic worldview which is part of the city’s story.“

The readings also included a poem by Birkenhead born John Tessimond (who died in 1962) whose work is being increasingly recognised for its originality and pathos – and the famous three – Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten – whose 1967 penguin anthology The Mersey Sound has been one of the best-selling poetry anthologies of all time. Pauline Rowe said: “There’s a shed load of snobbery about their contribution to the development of contemporary poetry - which we think is intolerable. Coming up to the city’s 800th birthday there should at least be some kind of permanent memorial to Adrian Henri (who died in 2001) - and Roger McGough and Brian Patten should be invited to key events and celebrations here because they are true cultural ambassadors for Merseyside.“

One of the most significant poems included in the readings, with the blessing of its author, is Muhammad Khalil’s Slavepool. Other poets included in the North End Writers line-up were Deryn Rees-Jones and Paul Farley (both recognised as New Generation poets by the Poetry Society) and Michael Murphy a writer and academic – whose collection Elsewhere was published by Shoestring Press in 2003.

Pauline Rowe said: “We’re also reading from the work of Matt Simpson and if Liverpool decided to have its own laureate it should be him – he writes movingly of his life and experience of the city and has done so with quiet brilliance for nearly 30 years.“

Currently North End Writers have writing groups based in Norris Green and Tuebrook, a Young Writers group in Old Swan and a writing team working on a community pantomime for 2007; for further information contact their Co-ordinator, Pauline Rowe, at

October 02, 2006

National Poetry Day Reading at Tate Liverpool

National Poetry Day Thursday October 5th 2006

Library Services across North West England are joining the worldwide Book Crossing phenomenon and at the same time encouraging people who may have never picked up a poetry book before, to read and enjoy something new.

On National Poetry Day, library staff will be leaving specially purchased poetry collections by poets from the North West region, in public places such as health centres, leisure centres, pubs and cafes, hairdressers’ salons- wherever they think someone will have time and curiosity enough, to pick up a book and read a poem or two. Finders of books can read and keep them, or pass them on, after registering their “find” on These books do not have to be returned to libraries.

The intention is to get poetry into the hands of people who may never have picked up a poetry book before. We hope that after finding a Book Crossing book by chance, some readers will be motivated to visit their local library for more poetry books.

Book Crossing is a worldwide book group with almost half a million members. It asks readers to share the books they have enjoyed with other people, by leaving them in public places. Books have their own unique number registered on the Book Crossing website, so that they have the potential to be tracked on their journeys round the world.

While books are being released across the whole of the NW region, four poets are crossing 4 points in the region to give short readings of their own poetry and tell people about the Book Crossing project. Rosie Lugosi in Liverpool (Tate Liverpool), Mandy Coe in Manchester (BBC mobile studio), Joy Winkler in Carlisle (Castle) and Jennifer Copley in deepest Cheshire (Deep Store) are all reading briefly before leaving their own collections somewhere in the locality.

Rosie’s reading will take place in the DLA Piper Series: International Modern Art display on the
1st Floor of Tate Liverpool at 15.00 on
Thursday 5 October.

April 28, 2006

Poetry in the City

poetry in the city - liverpoolThe Poetry in the City (Liverpool) 2006 Festival started on Tuesday April 25th with a Writers of Colour Group at Central Library then Levi Tafari at the Unity Theatre. Lots more as it runs until May 13th.
There's a nice website with complete listings:

November 15, 2005

Roger McGough Interview

Emma Brockes interviews Roger McGough for The Guardian November 14th 2005

Roger McGough likes to think he is the model for what his fellow poet, Wendy Cope, calls a Tump: a Typically Useless Male Poet. He can't drive. He is indecisive - or rather, he is accused of being indecisive and denies it ("If I decide to be indecisive, that's my decision"). He broods. He is impractical. When he sits down to write, he thinks, gloomily: "Just what the world needs, another book of poetry." With fondness he supports Cope's conclusion: "Bloody useless."