‘The patron saint of poetry’ Carol Ann Duffy
‘rueful, unpredictable observation to please the sharpest wits’ The Independent
‘a poemy torch in dark corners’ Ian McMillan – Poetry Review
‘He is a true original and more than one generation would be much the poorer without him’ The Times
In an interview with the Guardian, Roger once said “If I do a poetry reading I want people to walk out and say they feel better for having been there – not because you’ve done a comedy performance but because you’re talking about your father dying or having young children, things that touch your soul. I hope people will feel better for it. Better.”
It is with this sentiment that Roger approaches poetry; he has never been afraid to express his vulnerability, or explore themes or issues that others may find intimidating. That is not to say that he is pretentious, but rather the opposite; his subject matter is without guile, revelling in the simplicity of commonplace experiences. He weaves the stories of our daily lives and encounters, transfiguring the everyday into the profound.
As one of Britain’s best loved poets, he has been performing for audiences of both adults and children over the course of his career and has written over 50 different poetry books.
Born in 1937, Roger studied at the University of Hull before returning to Liverpool where, in the early sixties, he became a part of the city’s vibrant Mersey Beat poetry scene. Roger, alongside Mike McCartney and John Gorman, formed the comic group The Scaffold, which in 1968 reached No 1 with Lily the Pink. After a brief affair with pop music, his turned again to poetry, his first love. His work first received national attention in the Penguin Modern Poets collection The Mersey Sound, which also included Adrian Henri and Brian Patten and went on to sell over a million copies.
Witty, thoughtful, and whimsical, Roger continues to be a thought-provoking, engaging and inspiring force within British poetry. He believes a poet is anyone who writes poetry, and a poem is that which is written by a poet. He also believes that you become a poet the moment you write your first poem. “I know that sounds pretentious, and I remember Auberon Waugh sort of throwing a chair at me for saying that, but it happens to be true.”
Roger McGough’s new show with LiTTLe MACHiNe features a fine selection of vintage, classic & surprising poems set to music. It’s a gala gig that’s making waves!
Formed in 2009 LiTTLe MACHiNe are the ‘must have’ act at Literary Festivals from York to Dubai. Drawing on three thousand years of poetry – Sappho, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Blake, Byron, Eliot, Larkin and many more – they set classic poems to music and perform them with energy, passion and humour. Music that moves the feet for words that move the soul!
‘It’s a long time since I heard something so exciting, a wonderful way of delivering poetry. The most brilliant music and poetry band in the world’. Carol Ann Duffy
Roger McGough & LiTTLe MACHiNe will be performing at Wise Words on the 29th April 2017.
Photographs taken by: Nick Wright & Colin Clarke