Take comfort from this
You have a book in your hand
not a loaded gun or a parking fine
or an invitation card to the wedding
of the one you should have married
Roger McGough’s new book of poems shows him writing as fluently and inventively as ever. There may be a stronger strain of melancholy than before (the death of a regular in the local pub; the news that a daughter might be moving abroad), as well as a distinct sense of menace, small but insistent, which inhabits many of the poems. But there is plenty of McGough’s characteristic wit and wordplay too, including a scintillating series of haiku inspired by a London tube strike and a striking reworking of his famous 1960s poem ‘Let Me Die a Youngman’s Death’, this time entitled ‘Not For Me a Youngman’s Death’. Who but McGough would characterize the butcher’s window as ‘the friendly face of the abattoir’, or imagine the almost limitless ways in which we might go to bed?
A new book of poems by Roger McGough is always an event. Published just ahead of his 75th birthday, As Far As I Know is truly cause for celebration.
‘The patron saint of poetry’ Carol Ann Duffy
Roger McGough was born in Liverpool. During the 1960s he was a member of the group Scaffold which had an international hit with ‘Lily the Pink’. He has won two BAFTAs and a Royal Television Award for his broadcasting work, and presents the popular Radio 4 programme Poetry Please. He has published many books of poems for adults and children, and both his Collected Poems (2003) and Selected Poems (2006) are bestselling poetry titles on the Penguin list. He was made a Freeman of the City of Liverpool in 2001, and received a CBE in 2004 for his services to literature.