About Michael Rosen
People do say some odd things. Michael Rosen listens out for those things and turns them into small dramas. In poems such as ‘Rodge said’, you can hear their characters brought to life. This poem and others like it might sound like more storytelling than poetry. It’s as if we’re eavesdropping on the conversations.
Michael’s poetry is filled with tales of his own childhood – about his brother, his parents, and his friends Rodge and Harrybo. There are also tales about his own children. And he puts his finger unerringly on those things that can make the world seem puzzling or worrying place – for both adults and children.
Michael is particularly interested in words – in their slippery meanings and their satisfying sounds. In ‘Words are Ours’, you can hear him relish the rhythm and the word play. In some poems, he even adds vocal sound effects!
Michael is perhaps best known for his free verse. But there are lots of poems with regular rhythms and end rhymes, too. Many of these have short lines that bounce along, as you can hear in ‘Words are Ours’. The short lines in the very bouncy ‘‘Where does the bounce come from’ are actually kennings.
Michael Rosen was born and brought up in London. He says his parents were people who loved jokes, stories and songs. His father used to sing songs in lots of different languages as well as reciting bits of poetry or plays. At school, Michael discovered he loved acting and writing stories, and also began to write poems.
When he left school he went to train as a doctor. But he soon realised it was a mistake, and went to study English at university instead. While he was there he wrote, directed and acted in lots of plays.
He went to work at the BBC, writing for children’s programmes, and published his first book of poems for children in 1974.
As well as being a poet, Michael makes radio and television programmes, writes books and pens articles for newspapers. He also goes all over the country, performing his poetry and helping children and teachers to write their own poems and stories.
Michael's first recording was made on 5 April 2005 at The Audio Workshop, London. His second recording was made at ID Audio, London, on 12 April 2016. Both recordings were produced by John Green.
Quick, Let's Get Out of Here!, Puffin, 1983
Michael Rosen's Big Book of Bad Things, Puffin, 2010