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.

Selected bibliography

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...

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Sheep Don't Go To School, Bloodaxe 1999

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Ghosts Unlimited, Oxford University Press 2006

Prizes

2005 Carnegie Medal nomination Crash

Prize website

Recordings

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1Where were the Experts when it came to Kissing?

2What my Mother Said

3Brace Yourself

4Skate Date

5Goldilocks and the Phwoar Boys

6French Verbs

7Unevensong (Sung by the Stupid)

8Bruises Heal

9Remembrance Day

10Under my Skin - Self Harm

11It's All In A Name

12The Nighthawks (After Edward Hopper)

13Slugs And Snails And Puppy Dogs' Tails

14Sugar And Spice And All Things Nice

15Good to Be a Lad

16Perfect Blend

17He and She

18Luv my Bruv

19For Mark

20A Period Costume Drama

21Our Steve

22Just

23The Long Waiting

24The Professor of Philosophy

25Red Ribbon - World Aids Day

26First Drink

27Recipe for Disaster

28Glue

29The Pearls of Primrose Hill

30Bogeyman

31Icarus Sickarus

32The Night Kitchen

33Pressure

34Diagrammatic

35Easy

36Size Matters

37Scritch

38Petal

39Performance Pressure

40On the Radio On the Way Home

41Will

42Nat - The Rollercoaster

43Carl - Afterburn

44Kate - The Heart's Haiku

45Mrs Newbury - One Week After

46Precious Autumn

A tour of the Archive with Danielle McShine

The Poetry Archive is an invaluable resource for hearing some of my favourite poems, read by their authors, and for...

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Books by Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters