Poetry Pie by Roger McGough: a video special

poetry pie

The CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) is the only children’s poetry award in the UK. The winner will be announced on 13th July.

This year’s shortlist includes One by Sarah Crossan, Dancing in the Rain by John Lyons, Falling Out of the Sky, edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright, illustrated by Emma Wright, A Great Big Cuddle by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Chris Riddell, and Poetry Pie by Roger McGough, whom I’m delighted to feature on today’s blog.

Poetry Pie is a collection of more than 50 poems, ranging from topics including food and animals, wordplay and poetry, school and recycling. There’s a bit of everything in bitesize chunks. McGough plays brilliantly with the words on the page – not only twisting and rhyming, but playing with placement, typeface, the space on the page, and formatting. There are calligrams, and concrete poems. There’s a poem about letter writing that is set out like an email at first, and ends in handwriting like a letter.

The mix is exhilarating, witty and thoughtful, with McGough’s own illustrations interspersed throughout – and these also make the reader think. The cleverness of the poems is that McGough chooses subjects (particularly food) that are appealing to a young reader, and yet he incorporates some complex ideas by choosing different viewpoints from which to tell the poems, playing with form, and being deliberately deconstructionist.

From beautiful assonance in the poem Besotted – about otters, to the cool sophistication and emotion of The One and Lonely – opening up a bank of ideas and discussion – there is the perfect mix of poetry to be read aloud, and poetry to be read alone and deconstructed in its own way. For readers young and old. See the video below of Roger reading Poetry Pie

Roger McGough – Poetry Pie from CLPE on Vimeo.

and the video here of Roger giving advice to young poets:

Roger McGough – What advice would you give to young poets from CLPE on Vimeo.

For more information on CLPE and poetry, click here. And to buy the book, click here.