Michael Rosen · Poetry · Writing

Michael Rosen

This week please welcome Michel Rosen to the blog. Thanks Michael for taking the time to answer my questions.

What poets did you enjoy reading as a child?

Before I was about 12 or 13, I’m not sure that I did really like the poetry I heard or read. But around 12 I heard Louis Macneice’s poem about the unborn child, Browning’s Last Duchess and then not long after some DH Lawrence poems like Snake, Bat, etc…I think what I was responding to was the idea of the spoken monologue.

Do you remember the first poem that you ever wrote? How old were you? Can you share it with us?

The first poem I wrote at school when I was about 10 was about a train slowing down. I can only remember one line: ‘and now the train is slowing down’ – Exciting, huh? Today in a school, we were trying to think of ways of making it more exciting: ‘and now the train is slowing down and it turned into a tomato’. or ‘and now the train is slowing doooooowwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnn and uuuuuuuuuuuupppp again’.

Do you write mostly in rhyme or in free verse? Do you know why?

A mixture. Sometimes, truly ‘free verse’, sometimes rhythm but no rhyme, sometimes rhyme and not much rhythm sometimes rhythm and rhyme. It depends on what I’m trying to say

Are your poems best performed aloud or read quietly to oneself? Can you provide an example?

Again, a mixture of both.

Who first published your poetry?

Very first was BBC Schools Radio booklets that went with the radio programmes. The first book was published by ‘Andre Deutsch’. Doesn’t exist anymore. got swallowed up by Scholastic.

Where else have your poems been published?

Many different publishers. Puffin, Bloomsbury, Walker Books are the main ones

What are you working on at the moment?

Finishing off a book of poems with Puffin. Have some picture books with Walker Books just reaching completion, one of them with a poem as its text. And I’m reprinting one of my books myself. ‘Hairy Tales and Nursery Crimes’.

Do you have a website/blog/facebook etc – where we can find out more about you?

My website is http://www.michaelrosen.co.uk

and my facebook name is Michael Rosen

Do you have any favourite poetry websites?

The National Poetry Archive is pretty good.

Would you like to share one of your poems with us?

Down behind the dustbin
I met a dog called Felicity.
It’s a bit dark down here, she said
they’ve cut off my electricity

6 thoughts on “Michael Rosen

  1. Thanks Jackie and Michael for that interview! So many people think that if the scanning and rhyme are not PERFECT, it isn’t children’s poetry. What a mistake that is! How humdrum and boring it would be without the sort of wonderful dramatic or humorous variation free verse or the marvelous ‘mix’ can bring!

  2. It’s interesting to note that Michael changes his style to what works for each poem: free verse, rhyming, not rhyming etc.
    Sometimes I think poets try too hard to make the words ‘conform’ to the style rather than fitting the style to the topic and what the poet wants to express.

    I like Michael’s view of poetry that the style ‘depends on what I am trying to say’.

    Margaret

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