About Roger McGough

Roger’s poems have a brilliant knack for taking things we recognise – places, people, situations – and giving them a spin so all of a sudden we see them in new ways, and usually have a big belly laugh along the way. A poet with great comic timing and a sharp eye for the silly, as well as a wonderful ear for word play, Roger’s also able to make us think as well as laugh, as in a poem like ‘Oxygen’. You’ll never take the air you breathe for granted again.

Roger is a brilliant reader and performer of his work, whether it’s with a bit of added music in the background or in front of adoring audiences, and as you’ll hear on these poems he can switch between storytelling- wit to spooky whisper, depending on the mood of the poem. In ‘Nine to Five’ the world of work gets a peculiar twist – listen to hear how he uses the language and images from the start of the poem to create hilarious confusion by the end.

Roger uses a mix of free verse and form, sometimes using rhyme to help the poems have more of a songlike quality and rhythm. He also loves word play and nonsense, bringing playfulness to his work.

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Roger was born near Liverpool and after studying he returned to Merseyside to work as a teacher. He formed a band called The Scaffold, performing a mix of songs and his poems and even managing to land a number one single!

Together with two other poets, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten, Roger released The Mersey Sound anthology in 1967 which went on to become one of the country’s most loved and read books of poetry. Roger’s appeared in films, is a regular figure on the radio and has received lots of awards and other honours, including the Freedom of the City of Liverpool.

Roger's recording was made on 5 April 2003 at Colwall Village Hall, Herefordshire and was produced by Adrian Mealing. 

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Selected Bibliography

Sky in the Pie, Penguin UK, 1983

Nailing the Shadow, Penguin UK, 1987

An Imaginary Menagerie, Penguin UK, 1988

Pillow Talk, Puffin, 1990

The Kite and Caitlin, Penguin UK, 1996

Bad Bad Cats, Penguin UK, 1997

Good Enough to Eat, Puffin, 2002

Moonthief, Kingfisher, 2002

What on Earth Can It Be?, Penguin, 2003

The Bee's Knees, Puffin, 2003

All the Best, Puffin, 2004

Dotty Inventions, Frances Lincoln , 2005

The Monsters' Guide to Choosing a Pet, Puffin, 2005

Slapstick , Puffin, 2008


2003 Freedom of the City of Liverpool

1998 Cholmondeley Award

1999 Signal Poetry Award Bad, Bad Cats

1984 Signal Poetry Award Sky in the Pie

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