About Brian Patten

It’s no wonder that Brian Patten’s poems appeal to both children and adults – he’s a great example of the importance of keeping a childlike wonder when looking at the world, and in holding on to the ability to dream and imagine. Brian’s poems are full of imagination, whether telling a story about a dragon that is also a story about love, or teaching a lesson to the cold-hearted Minister for Exams.

Brian’s interests are wide-ranging even when he sticks close to home, and whether he’s talking about how little you can tell about someone’s talents by looking at marks on a piece of paper, or being inspired to travel to far-away places by a teacher, his poems are always open windows onto a new world of experiences and possibility.

Brian is a brilliant reader of his work, and his talent for picking just the right tone of voice – one minute steely and determined, the next delicate and quiet – makes him not only a perfect way of hearing his work’s rich rhymes and images but also an ideal guide to seeing the world in new ways.

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Brian writes in both free verse and stricter forms, sometimes using rhyme to give his stories a songlike rhythm, as in ‘Geography Lesson’.

Brian left school at 15 and became a reporter for a local newspaper, writing about music. It was through this work that he met two other poets from Liverpool – Roger McGough and Adrian Henri. With those two Brian published The Mersey Sound, a bestselling book of poems which helped bring poetry to new audiences and helped people to think of poetry as something to be said aloud not just read on the page.

Brian has written for adults as well as children and has been given many honours, including the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in 2001.

Brian's recording was made for The Poetry Archive on 4 August 2005 at The Audio Workshop, London, UK and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Featured in the Archive

Selected Bibliography

Selected Poems, Penguin, 2007

The Collected Love Poems, Harper Perennial, 2007

The Monster's Guide to Choosing a Pet, Penguin Books, 2004

Ben's Magic Telescope, Puffin, 2003

The Story Giant, Flamingo, 2001

Juggling with Gerbils, Puffin, 2000

The Impossible Parents Go Green, Walker, 2000

The Walker Book of Funny Stories, Walker, 2000

The Puffin Book of 20th Century Children's Verse, Puffin, 1999


2002 Cholmondeley Award

1967 Eric Gregory Award

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