His poetry is, by turns, romantic, politically engaged, elegiac and funny, and often takes its inspiration from current events - this is easily heard in poems such as 'The Hutton Inquiry', 'The Pete Doherty in Prison Poem', and 'THE RESTRUCTURE', which personifies the 2009 financial situation in the figure of its central character. But the events that are current to the poet are also the personal ones that do not make the national press, and through this reading a listener is invited to overhear 'A Proposal', to be present at 'The Nuptials', and, in the latter poem, is even offered space to "enter your name here" to witness the marriage.
In an interview, McCabe has spoken of the ability of modern audiences to grasp the moments of synchronicity and randomness as an influence on his writing, referring to "Poetry as a potentially more meaningful form of channel-hopping." It is no surprise, then, that many of the poems in this performance skip from image to image, idea to idea, daring a listener to stay alert so as to keep up with the quicksilver presentation. But there are also sonnets devoted to locations in London and Liverpool, the two cities he describes as most important to him, a poem in the shape of 'A 98p Voicemail Message to Blaise Cendrars', and a form built around the repetition of "the Scouse word 'like'".
Iain Sinclair has described McCabe's work as "brisk and self-confident", and the quietly forceful reading style in this performance would encourage any listener to agree. The important events that are significant to a piece are flagged in his introductions, as are any unusual stylistic decisions, making this a reading that welcomes its audience into its exhilarating blend of urgency and passion.
His recording was made on the 16th January 2009 at the Audio Workshop, London, and was produced by Richard Carrington.