© Image by Caroline Forbes

Kit Wright

(b. 1944)

"I think so highly of poetry that I've dedicated my life to it. It's the most important thing to me." - Kit Wright

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These poems come from a special recording for the Poetry Archive:

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Select bibliography

  • Soundings: A Selection of Poems for Reading Aloud (editor), Heinemann Education 1975 - out of print
  • The Bear Looked Over the Mountain, Salamander 1977
  • Arthur's Father (illustrated by Eileen Brown), Methuen 1978 - out of print
  • Arthur's Granny (illustrated by Eileen Brown), Methuen 1978 - out of print
  • Arthur's Sister (illustrated by Eileen Brown), Methuen 1978 - out of print
  • Arthur's Uncle (illustrated by Eileen Brown), Methuen 1978 - out of print
  • Rabbiting On: and Other Poems (illustrated by Posy Simmonds), Fontana Lions 1978 - out of print
  • Hot Dog and Other Poems (illustrated by Posy Simmonds), Kestrel 1981
  • Professor Potts in Africa, Watts 1981 - out of print
  • From the Day Room, Windows Press 1981 - out of print
  • Bump-Starting the Hearse, Hutchinson 1983
  • Poems for Ten Year Olds and Over (editor), Viking Kestrel 1984 - out of print
  • Poems for Nine Year Olds and Under, Puffin 1985 - out of print
  • Cat Among the Pigeons, Viking Kestrel 1987
  • One of Your Legs is Both the Same: A Poem, Turret 1987 - out of print
  • Poems 1974-1983, Hutchinson 1988 - out of print
  • Short Afternoons, Hutchinson 1989 - out of print
  • Puffin Portable Poets, (Brian Patten, Kit Wright, Roger McGough), Puffin 1990 - out of print
  • Funnybunch: New Puffin Book of Funny Verse (editor), Viking 1993 - out of print
  • Tigerella (illustrated by Peter Bailey), André Deutsch 1993 - out of print
  • Great Snakes (illustrated by Posy Simmonds), Viking 1994 - out of print
  • Dolphinella (illustrated by Peter Bailey), André Deutsch 1995 - out of print
  • Rumpelstiltskin, Scholastic 1998
  • Hoping It Might Be So: Poems 1974-2000, Leviathan 2000; Faber 2008
  • Write Away, Times Supplements 2000
  • Kit Wright Reading from his Poems, The Poetry Archive 2005
  • A Lisbon Sheaf King's Lynn Poetry Festival, 2006
  • The Magic Box: Poems for Children Pan Macmillan, 2009
Kit Wright (b. 1944) is the author of more than twenty-five books, for both adults and children, and the winner of awards including an Arts Council Writers' Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award and (jointly) the Heinemann Award. After a scholarship to Oxford, he worked as a lecturer in Canada, then returned to England and a position in the Poetry Society. He is currently a full-time writer.

His poetry can move elegantly through the tensions between restraint and emotion, as in 'Sonnet for Dick' which, by beginning in stiff-lipped restraint - the dead man was "a useful number six who could whack it about" - makes the grief in the poem, once expressed, all the more powerful. Similarly, in 'Red Boots On', a great glimpse of joy in the snow, one of the pleasures of the poem is seeing the poet's exuberantly stomping girlfriend through the speaker's more hesitant viewpoint.

Wright's reading voice is an example of what "well-spoken" refers to. He is clearly aware of the assumptions this can lead to, teasing himself for it in 'How the Wild South-East Was Lost', which he introduces as an attempt "to describe my upbringing as though it had been other than soft." Other introductions include explanations of references, inspirations, and allusions to other poems - or songs. One of the high points, 'The Orbison Consolations', suggests to the singer of 'Only the Lonely' that he should restrain his hyperbole, giving a list of other types of people who, right up to "lastly the ghastly / Know the way you feel tonight."

That enjoyment of rhyme means that Wright has been compared to Betjeman, and this is certainly evident in his easy way with formal features. While some poems revel in that, others lull us into feelings of jauntiness before giving us a real jolt. This can best be seen in 'I Found South African Breweries Most Hospitable', a savage satire on the boycott-breaking English cricket team of the 1980s. This reading shows that, as the poet Anthony Wilson has said, Wright "can be funny, serious and moving, and sometimes all three in the space of a single poem".

His recording was made on 31 March 2003 at The Audio Workshop, London and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Kit Wright's Favourite Poetry Sayings:

"I like what vamped me / In my youth: / Tune, argument, / Colour, truth." - Kit Wright (from 'Poetry')


1977 Alice Hunt Bartlett Award The Bear Looked Over the Mountain

1978 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize The Bear Looked Over the Mountain

1985 Arts Council Writers' Award

1990 Heinemann Award Short Afternoons

1995 Hawthornden Fellowship

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