An interview with
Wes Magee

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Transcript

Where do you get your ideas for poems?

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Where do you write your poems?
I'm sitting in a little stone building half way down my garden and I call it 'The Hut' and this is where I do all my writing. It's nice to be able to get away from the house and to be absolutely private and on your own and of course nobody's going to worry whether I leave papers or books lying around. I can make as much mess as I like.

Do you get inspiration from your readers?
I do get inspiration from my readers and I meet many of them when I visit schools as an author for a book week, or a book day or a book festival. It's interesting to watch what children are up to in schools and to note the peculiar habits of teachers and head teachers.

Can you read me one of your poems about school?

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How long does it take you to write a poem?
It takes me a long time to write a poem because I do work very slowly. Once I've got a subject matter I then try to work out a rhyme scheme and also give the poem a particular shape on the page. I do like to make each poem look different and sound different.

What was the first poem you wrote?
The first poem I wrote was a poem about a dinosaur called 'Stegosaurus'. Many years ago when I was a teacher, I'd been working with my class on the subject of dinosaurs and I decided for the first time in my life I would try to write some poems for my class about dinosaurs.

What's your favourite poem that you've written?

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Do you illustrate your own poems?
I don't do any of the illustrations. Of course it's wonderful when a really talented artist comes along and adds to the poems by terrific pictures. I'm always surprised at the illustrations that appear beside the poems.

Select bibliography

  • Poetry Introduction 2, Faber & Faber 1970 - out of print
  • Urban Gorilla, Leeds University Press 1971 - out of print
  • No Man's Land, Blackstaff Press 1978 - out of print
  • Oliver, the Daring Birdman (story), Longmans 1978
  • A Dark Age, Blackstaff Press 1981 - out of print
  • Morning Break and Other Poems, Cambridge University Press 1989 - out of print
  • The Witch's Brew, and Other Poems, Cambridge University Press 1989 - out of print
  • Flesh or Money, Littlewood/Arc 1990 - out of print
  • The Puffin Book of Christmas Poems (editor), Puffin 1990
  • The Snowgirl and the Snowboy, Ginn 1994
  • The Dogs, the Cats, and the Mice (story), Ginn 1998
  • The Emperor and the Nightingale (story), 19998
  • The Very Best of Wes Magee, Macmillan 2001
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  • The Boneyard Rap, and Other Poems, Hodder Wayland 2001
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  • The Phantom's Fang-Tastic Show, Oxford University Press 2001
  • The WinterWorld War (story), Barrington Stoke 2002
  • Wes Magee Reading from his Poems, The Poetry Archive 2005
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  • Joyriding Salt, 2010
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  • The Ghost Train Ride at Fangster's Fair, Salt, 2011
  • Stroke the Cat, Kingscourt, 2006
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  • So, You Want to be a Wizard?, Caboodle Books, 2010
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