About Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters
Andrew Fusek Peters (b. 1965) and Polly Peters (b. 1965) have written and edited more than 45 books, in many genres including poetry, plays, fiction and graphic novels. As well as visiting hundreds of schools with writing workshops, Andrew has also appeared on television and radio, and Polly has worked extensively in youth and community theatre, following a career as a teacher of English and Drama. They are probably best known for their groundbreaking Poems with Attitude books, the first collections of poetry written specifically for teenagers, and their novel in verse, Crash, which was shortlisted for the North East Book Award and nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
Their poems are grounded in strong opinions and real experience of teenage life, so that the subjects, from bullying and friendship to sex and drugs, can be treated openly and honestly. These are poems about what it is like to be a teenager, not a sweetened version of what adults may feel it ought to be like. (A poem like 'What my Mother Said' demonstrates exactly how useless an adult's advice can be.) The poems run from the painful end of teenage life, with 'Bruises Heal' giving a voice to the pain of bullying, through joyful poems of friendship such as 'Perfect Blend', to poems like 'Recipe for Disaster', where an illicit house party while parents are away is made comical through a wildly extended cookery-book metaphor.
Peer pressure is a recurring theme in these poems. A poem like 'Pressure' acknowledges that it is hard to resist, but the pair of poems 'Slugs and Snails and Puppydog Tails' and 'Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice' both show ways of resisting stereotypes. On the other hand, poems such as 'Good to be a Lad' celebrate a sense of belonging in "The sweet hours / Of being a lad".
Both poets are interested in performance, so that poems can be chanted, sung, rapped or acted out - or simply read. Both are also interested in form, which is seen as part of the performance, ensuring the poem works onstage and on the page. The Guardian's claim that "it is rare and welcome to find a collection that speaks so directly to teenagers" is here reinforced by the poets' practiced, unpatronising delivery, which speaks as directly as the poems do.
Their recording was made on 10 January 2006 at the Audio Workshop, London and was produced by Richard Carrington.
Flip Side (Plays with Attitude), Evans Brothers Ltd 2008
Much Ado About Clubbing (Plays with Attitude), Evans...
The No-No Bird, Frances Lincoln Children's Books 2008
Priceless! (Skateboard Detectives), Orchard 2008
Diamonds are for Evil (Skateboard Detectives), Orchard...
Ever Clever Eva (White Wolves: Stories from Different...
Mad, Bad and Dangerously Haddock: the best of Andrew...Buy
Sheep Don't Go To School, Bloodaxe 1999Buy
Ghosts Unlimited, Oxford University Press 2006
Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters Reading their poems
2What my Mother Said
12The Nighthawks (After Edward Hopper)
The writer and broadcaster Clive James introduces a few of his favourite poems in the Poetry Archive.