Roger McGough

b. 1937

the patron saint of poetry - Carol Ann Duffy

Funicular Railway

Roger McGough

Nine to Five

Roger McGough

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About Roger McGough

Roger McGough (b. 1937) is one of Britain's best-loved poets. Top-selling The Mersey Sound: Penguin Modern Poets 10 with Liverpool poets Brian Patten and Adrian Henri, hits with Mike McCartney and John Gorman in The Scaffold and college touring with GRIMMS were followed by internationally acclaimed collections of poems and stories, regular broadcasts and edited anthologies. He holds a D.Litt from the University of Hull, and was honoured with the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in 2003, and awarded the CBE for services to poetry in 2005.

Much travelled and translated, his poetry has gained increasing popularity, especially from its widespread use in schools. A prolific writer, he is twice winner of the Signal Award for best children's poetry book and recipient of the Cholmondeley Award. McGough is an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University and an Honorary Professor at Thames Valley University. He has an MA from the University of Northampton.

'Funicular Railway' is a classic McGough poem, creating humour from an unusual experience and the peculiar ways people, including the poet, react to it; 'Nine to Five' takes an imagined office life that confuses itself as the poem continues. His reading style is chatty for these poems, but for 'Oxygen' he uses a threatening whisper as the element reminds us of the power it has over our lives. This reading is taken from McGough's live CD Lively, and his enjoyment, and that of his audience, makes clear why The Independent recently described him as "an extraordinary man. He may choose to depict himself as Mr Ordinary, but there is nothing at all ordinary about his energy or talent."

His recording (Lively, UK Touring 2003) was made on 5 April 2003 at Colwall Village Hall, Herefordshire and was produced by Adrian Mealing. Lively is available from

Additional material and useful links

BBC Poetry Season

Visit W.H. Auden's page on the BBC site.

Roger McGough's A Fine Romance

Roger McGough reads 'A Fine Romance' for Alzheimer's Society

Selected bibliography

As Far as I Know Viking, 2012

SlapstickPenguin Books Ltd, 2008

That Awkward Age Penguin Books Ltd, 2009

Said and Done, Random House 2005


Selected Poems, Penguin 2006


Wicked Poems (editor), Bloomsbury 2004


Collected Poems, Penguin Books 2004


What on Earth can it Be?, Puffin 2002


Moonthief, Kingfisher 2002


Good Enough to Eat, Puffin 2002


Everyday Eclipses, Viking 2002


The Way Things Are, Viking 1999


Five Finger-Piglets: Poems (with Brian Patten, Jackie...

The Ring of Words: An Anthology of Poems for Children, (...


The Kingfisher Book of Poems about Love (editor),...

Bad, Bad Cats, Viking 1997


Another Day on Your Foot and I Would Have Died (John...

The Kite and Caitlin, Bodley Head 1996


The Magic Fountain, Bodley Head 1995 - out of print

Stinkers Ahoy!, Viking 1995 - out of print

Penguin Modern Poets 4, (Liz Lochhead, Roger McGough,...

Lucky, Viking 1993 - out of print

Another Custard Pie, Collins 1993 - out of print

My Dad's a Fire-Eater, Penguin 1992 - out of print

Defying Gravity, Viking 1992


You at the Back: Selected Poems 1967-87, Cape 1991 - out...

The Lighthouse that Ran Away, Bodley Head 1991

Pillow Talk, Viking Kestrel 1990 - out of print


Helen Highwater, Viking 1989 - out of print

Counting by Numbers, Viking Kestrel 1989 - out of print

An Imaginary Menagerie, Viking 1988 / Puffin 1990


Nailing the Shadow, Viking 1987 - out of print

The Stowaways, Viking Kestrel 1986 - out of print

Noah's Ark, Dinosaur 1986 - out of print

Melting into the Foreground, Viking 1986 - out of print

Kingfisher Book of Comic Verse, (editor), Kingfisher...

Crocodile Puddles, New Pyramid Press 1984 - out of print

Sky in the Pie, Viking Kestrel 1983 / Puffin 2003


Waving at Trains, Cape 1982 - out of print

The Great Smile Robbery, Viking Kestrel 1982

Strictly Private: An Anthology of Poetry (editor),...

You Tell Me: Poems by Roger McGough and Michael Rosen, (...

Holiday on Death Row, Cape 1979 - out of print

Frinck, A Life in the Day of, and Summer with Monika:...

Mr Noselighter, André Deutsch 1976 - out of print

In the Glassroom, Cape 1976 - out of print

Sporting Relations, Eyre Methuen 1974 - out of print

Gig, Cape 1973 - out of print

After The Merrymaking, Cape 1971 - out of print

Watchwords, Cape 1969 - out of print

The Mersey Sound: Penguin Modern Poets 10, (Roger...


The Liverpool Scene, (contributor), Donald Carroll 1967...

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