Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Mersey Sound

At secondary school we studied Chaucer, Wordsworth and Byron. I enjoyed poetry – and we had a brilliant English teacher – Mr Nichols. (His nickname was Old Nick and he did have a whiff of sulphur about him.) And then, in 1967, this book came out and it changed my life. I know – that’s a cliché and a bit glib. But it’s true. I was in a band, and a massive Beatles fan. This was the poetic equivalent of the Beatles. Funny, serious, melancholic, relevant – about girlfriends, supermarkets, fish and chips and the nuclear holocaust that we all felt sure was on the way – accessible and with none of the pretentiousness of other modern poetry. No wonder it went on to sell over half a million copies and became one of the best-selling poetry anthologies of all time. It also made the name of the three poets involved – Roger McGough, Brian Patten and Adrian Henri.

The poems owe much to the Beat Poets and to Pop Art. But this was our British equivalent. The poems still hold up and the poets went on to continuing success although Adrian Henri, is alas, no longer with us. More about them in further dispatches. Meanwhile, if you don’t have a copy, buy the book now. You can find it in second-hand bookshops. And most likely in one of the bigger bookshops. (Although most shops hold a derisory amount of poetry on their shelves.)
Last words to Roger McGough.

There's the moon trying to look romantic
Moon's too old that's her trouble
Aren't we all?



C.J.Duffy said...

Poetry is something I know little of but then again i know little of anything. My idea of poetry hangs on a thin thread of Basho, Beefheart (?) and Dylan Thomas.

I do like the idea of poetry though as evident in my feeble attempts at the artform. Roger McGough hold's enormous appeal for me as I have heard him a lot buthave never read anything of his.

Your word verification, quite rightly, is: LAGHTBLE

wastedpapiers said...

This is one of the very few poetry books that I do own. I had a copy when it first came out but it went awol some years ago. I recently found a copy in a boot sale so nice read it again. It conjures up perfectly those halycon days of art school in the 60's for me when we discovered books like On The Road, A Clockwork Orange and Lord Of The Rings to name but a few.

C.J.Duffy said...

PS. Really good to see you back here Roger rather than seeing your front there.

Nessa said...

I have to check it out.

Car Goes Boom

Roger Stevens said...

Was that an aside, CJ?

It's all about time. Fairly quite on the poetry front right now so have a bit more time for fun projects like this.

You should read some RM poems. They'll probably have some in your library.

C.J.Duffy said...

Roger>>>I understand all too well the time thing. That and the fact that bills need to be paid and life lived.

Roger Stevens said...

Hmmm... meant quiet. Quite!