Roger McGough

b. 1937

the patron saint of poetry - Carol Ann Duffy

Funicular Railway

Roger McGough

Nine to Five

Roger McGough

Previous Next

About Roger McGough

Roger McGough (b. 1937) is one of Britain's best-loved poets. Top-selling The Mersey Sound: Penguin Modern Poets 10 with Liverpool poets Brian Patten and Adrian Henri, hits with Mike McCartney and John Gorman in The Scaffold and college touring with GRIMMS were followed by internationally acclaimed collections of poems and stories, regular broadcasts and edited anthologies. He holds a D.Litt from the University of Hull, and was honoured with the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in 2003, and awarded the CBE for services to poetry in 2005.

Much travelled and translated, his poetry has gained increasing popularity, especially from its widespread use in schools. A prolific writer, he is twice winner of the Signal Award for best children's poetry book and recipient of the Cholmondeley Award. McGough is an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University and an Honorary Professor at Thames Valley University. He has an MA from the University of Northampton.

'Funicular Railway' is a classic McGough poem, creating humour from an unusual experience and the peculiar ways people, including the poet, react to it; 'Nine to Five' takes an imagined office life that confuses itself as the poem continues. His reading style is chatty for these poems, but for 'Oxygen' he uses a threatening whisper as the element reminds us of the power it has over our lives. This reading is taken from McGough's live CD Lively, and his enjoyment, and that of his audience, makes clear why The Independent recently described him as "an extraordinary man. He may choose to depict himself as Mr Ordinary, but there is nothing at all ordinary about his energy or talent."

His recording (Lively, UK Touring 2003) was made on 5 April 2003 at Colwall Village Hall, Herefordshire and was produced by Adrian Mealing. Lively is available from

Additional material and useful links

BBC Poetry Season - McGough

Visit Roger McGough's page on the BBC site.

Roger McGough's A Fine Romance

Roger McGough reads 'A Fine Romance' for Alzheimer's Society

Selected bibliography

As Far as I Know Viking, 2012

SlapstickPenguin Books Ltd, 2008

That Awkward Age Penguin Books Ltd, 2009

Said and Done, Random House 2005


Selected Poems, Penguin 2006


Wicked Poems (editor), Bloomsbury 2004


Collected Poems, Penguin Books 2004


What on Earth can it Be?, Puffin 2002


Moonthief, Kingfisher 2002



1984 Signal Poetry Award Sky in the Pie

Prize website

1999 Signal Poetry Award Bad, Bad Cats

Prize website

1999 Cholmondeley Award

Prize website

2003 Freedom of the City of Liverpool

Prize website

Books by Roger McGough