Poetry of Roger Mcgough

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Examines and evaluates the accessibility of McGough’s message to a wide, general readership, as well as appraising it by the most rigorous literary standards, and to challenge and answer the notion that his popularity and commercial success indicate lack of intellectual integrity. Rather than addressing his association with musical groups, or his appearances on stage, or television and radio performances, attention will be focused on publication and readings of his serious poetry, even in some of the children’s collections, but primarily in the more penetrating social satires such as Summer with Monika, Holiday on Death Row and more recently in Blazing Fruit, The Way Things Are, and Everyday Eclipses.


“More than thirty years ago [in British Poetry Since 1960], I predicted that, of the ‘Liverpool’ school of poets, it would be Roger McGough who would gain lasting success and a permanent reputation as a poet ... Events have justified this view. McGough has continued to publish prolifically and with originality ... In these circumstances, a critical study of his work is long overdue, and there can be no doubt that Dr. Ben Wright is the person uniquely placed to do it. He commands a clear prose style and a wide range of knowledge which allows him to situate McGough in a wide literary and historical context ...” – Professor Grevel Lindop (retired), University of Manchester

“With the emergence of Cultural Studies in the last decade or so, a number of important contemporary literary figures have been accepted as worthy of academic study. Roger McGough is clearly one of these figures ... Since 1967, with the publication of The Mersey Sound, the British public has been aware of the special talents of this versatile writer. With this book, McGough’s audience will be treated an insider’s view of his writing ... This book will go a long way to establish McGough’s academic reputation, while at the same time bring together the elements of his amazing literary career into a knowable sequence of events which grant the reader a keen insight into the man and his work.” – Professor Patrick J.M. Quinn, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

“In Dr. Ben Wright, British poet Roger McGough has found a passionate and able advocate. The critic is well positioned to comment on the poetry. He knows his subject backwards, his enthusiasm is patent, and his writing conveys that he is able to bring his comprehensive knowledge to bear on the work in lucid and engaging ways ... We are given illuminating insights into McGough’s Liverpool childhood and the pervasive influence of Catholicism, always somewhere in the background. Nor does Dr. Wright neglect some of the more problematic areas of McGough’s male chauvinism. These factors are sensitively dealt with in relation to the poetry itself ...” – Clive Bush, Emeritus Professor, King’s College, London

Table of Contents

Foreword by Clive Bush
Foreword by Grevel Lindop
1. Biography and Voice – Poetic Signature
2. Maturing Poetics
3. The Dark Side
4. Resuscitating the Commonplace, Revivifying the Idiom: McGough’s Resurrectionist Poetic
5. A firecracker under the dead hand of time, or a volcano to light the way to bed

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