A quote from former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy proclaims Roger McGough “the patron saint of poetry,” and it’s an accolade that is in evidence in all the work supporting poets and poetry that McGough undertakes, as well as in the pages of this fine, funny, full-of-feeling collection – Safety In Numbers – which again goes to prove his endless inventiveness and creativity.
With his trademark warmth and wit, we take McGough by the hand and are led through terrains familiar yet also strange as the poet addresses everyday concerns such as holes in socks, leaving items on trains, applying paint, riding a bicycle, staycationing, and queueing up – but with, very often, a twist or quirk demonstrating the poet’s playfulness and intelligence.
I love, too, how some of his poems in Safety In Numbers, such as Creeping Up On Poetry and The Poem You Are About To Read Has Not Yet Been Written, showcase the writer’s wry, more self-deprecating reflections on poetry, intimating that, despite all his accolades, it still isn’t the be-all and end-all. Sparky, thoughtful, inventive, and fun, it’s also the mix of these qualities that makes this a fantastic collection. There may be ‘safety in numbers’ but McGough, as with his many books before, stands out.
Safety In Numbers, Roger McGough (Penguin)
Price: £9.99. Info: here
words MAB JONES
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