sixteen: Roger McGough, The State of Poetry

Late once again – really late this time. Life has been full in ways both good and stressful recently, so I’ll not apologise too much.

Roger McGough‘s The State of Poetry was a welcome read after a few weeks of fairly tough poetry: fun, bouncy, full of jokes and puns. In fact pretty much all of the selection (‘of his shorter, more playful poems’, says the blurb) is based around wordplay and punning: a favourite –

I have outlived
my youthfulness
so a quiet life for me.

Where once
I used to
scintillate

now I sin
till ten
past three. (‘Scintillate’)

And there are a fair few that work beautifully on the page – ‘The State of Poetry’ – the image/poem (?) on the front cover especially. This was probably my favourite of all, ‘Italic’:

ONCE I LIVED IN CAPITALS
MY LIFE INTENSELY PHALLIC

but now I’m sadly lowercase
with the occasional italic

You can hear McGough (‘the patron saint of poetry’, according to Carol Ann Duffy) reading three of his poems here.

The State of Poetry, Roger McGough (Penguin, 2005)

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1 Response to “sixteen: Roger McGough, <i>The State of Poetry</i>”



  1. 1 Don Paterson, Landing Light « fifty-two poets Trackback on 27 June, 2008 at 3:08 pm

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