Brian Patten

BookBrian Patten

Brian Patten

Writers and Their Work


September 26th, 1996

Access Token


Other Formats



In 1967 Penguin Books published the work of Brian Patten, along with co-poets Roger McGough and Adrian Henri, in the collection The Mersey Sound, frequently credited as the single most significant anthology of this century in bringing poetry to new audiences. Some half a million copies have been sold, and thousands of poetry fans have flocked to theatres, arts centres and schools to watch Patten in performance. This is the first full-length critical evaluation of Patten’s work – as a poet, as a performer and as a hugely popular children’s writer. It seeks to explore his position in relation to his fellow “Liverpool Poets” and to contemporary poetry more widely. Consideration of Armada, Patten’s most recent poetry collection for adults, is central to this study. The author explores the ways in which themes and pre-occupations from earlier works have now sharpened and developed, and argues that Armada signals the maturation of his talent.

Author Information

Linda Cookson is Assistant Principal at Central School of Speech and Drama, London. As well as writing and broadcasting in the field of literary criticism, she is herself a writer of fiction. Her first short story collection, After the Fountain, was recently also translated into German. She is currently working on a novel.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half Title2
Title Page4
Biographical Outline13
A Note on the Texts16
1 The Early Years: 1946–196718
‘The Liverpool scene’23
The leaving of Liverpool28
2 ‘Poets of the Sixties’30
The Liverpool poets30
The war with the ‘Establishment’38
Thirty years on43
3 Travelling Between Places: Poems 1967–197646
Little Johnny’s Confession46
Notes to the Hurrying Man52
The Irrelevant Song and Vanishing Trick59
4 The Skeleton in Everyone: Poems 1979–198871
Grave Gossip and Storm Damage71
5 Going Back and Going On: Poems 199681
Afterword: Writing for Children92
Children’s fiction92
Children’s poetry95
Select Bibliography99