About Wes Magee

Wes Magee (b. 1939) was a teacher when he began writing his first poems. A boy in his class complained that there were no dinosaur poems, and Wes set out to write some for him, little realising he was to become a firm favourite in children's poetry, both as poet and editor. He now writes full time, producing poems (for adults too), stories and plays from a hut at the bottom of a large wild garden in the North York Moors, and touring his Poetry Show to theatres and schools around the country.

Several of the poems deal with Magee's experience in schools, sometimes from the point of view of the teachers, sometimes from the point of view of the pupils. The glee at being the first to be 'Down by the School Gate' is particularly delightful for working equally well from both angles.

There is life outside school too. In the introduction to The Very Best of Wes Magee, he writes that "Some of the poems are sad (like 'The Day After'), some are silly (like 'My Dog's First Poem'), some are spooky (like 'The Ghosts of the Grange'), some are serious (like 'Until Gran Died'), and some simply... sunny (like 'What is the Sun?')." 'The Boneyard Rap' is another of the spooky ones, full of rattling bones and scary noises. It's not as alarming written down as it is when Wes performs it, spine-chillingly drawing out the word "wooooooooo!".

Many of the poems provide opportunities for performance, from fingersnaps to French accents, and Magee clearly enjoys the rhythms, letting the rhymes ring out in a resonant voice. He gives helpful introductions to several of the poems, whether to let us know that 'Tracey's Tree' is a true story, or to tell us the form of 'A Week of Winter Weather', and for the other poems in this recording he simply launches into the poems with the kind of gusto that makes it clear why he is a cherished figure in children's poetry.

His recording was made on 7 May 2003 at the Audio Workshop, London and was produced by Anne Rosenfeld.

Wes Magee's Favourite Poetry Saying:

"Poetry is two four-letter words... hard work!" - Wes Magee

Interviews and other readings

Wes Magee interview

School is an important inspiration for popular children's poet...

Selected bibliography

So, You Want to be a Wizard?, Caboodle Books, 2010

Stroke the Cat, Kingscourt, 2006

The Ghost Train Ride at Fangster's Fair, Salt, 2011

Joyriding Salt, 2010

The WinterWorld War (story), Barrington Stoke 2002

The Emperor and the Nightingale (story), 19998

The Dogs, the Cats, and the Mice (story), Ginn 1998

The Snowgirl and the Snowboy, Ginn 1994

Oliver, the Daring Birdman (story), Longmans 1978

Recordings

Wes Magee

Wes Magee Downloads

1Tracey's Tree

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2At the End of a School Day

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3My Dog's First Poem

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4The Strangest School Secretary

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5The Ghosts of 'The Grange'

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6Down There On The Corner

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7Faraway Places

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8In the Castle of Gloom

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9Sun

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10Noisy and Quiet Places

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11I Like Emma

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12The Chimney Boy's Story

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13A Week of Winter Weather

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14Calling, Calling

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15The Witch's Brew

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16What Is The Sun?

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17Down By The School Gate

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18Up on the Downs

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19A British Garden

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20The House on the Hill

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21Big Aunt Flo'

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22Until Gran Died

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23Who?

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24The Meadow in Midsummer

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25City Sounds Heard After Dark

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26The Headmonster

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27The Boneyard Rap

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28Miss Jones, Football Teacher

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29The Girl in the Graveyard

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30The Day After

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31Our Miss Gill And Mr Scott

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32A Charm for Sweet Dreams

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33The Cat With No Name

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34The Spoons Music Man

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35In The Misty, Murky Graveyard

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36Pauline the Poltergeist

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37Up in the Attic... and Down in the Cellar

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38Tiger Night

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39Guard Wolf in Siberia

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40The Travelin' Britain Rap

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41The Mystery Space Beasts

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42The School Year

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43Questions on Christmas Eve

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44It's Christmas Time!

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45An Accident

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46Teacher Teacher

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47Sunday Morning

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48The Signal

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49A Short Cut... After Dark

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50The Twenty Steps to the Cellar

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51Voices

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