A tour of the Archive with

Roger Stevens

I really enjoyed listening to all the poems in the Archive. It's fantastic to hear poets reading their own work. It took me a long time to choose my favourites - I think it would be much easier to choose fifty rather than six! But here are my favourite poems today. Tomorrow I might be feeling differently - and have a different list.

Elephant Eternity
by Adrian Mitchell
I have always loved Adrian's poetry and I was really pleased to find this poem in the Archive. Adrian was a great peace campaigner and here he seems to be saying that you can be strong, like an elephant, without being aggressive. You can be gentle at the same time as being firm. This poem has a great rhythm - and I love the line 'Elephants walking like time'.
Brendon Gallacher
by Jackie Kay
I've chosen this poem for its rhythm and for its spikiness. Jackie's Scottish accent fits the words so well. It's such a great story and it rings true to life. Did you ever have a friend like Brendon, I wonder? And the twist at the end is wonderful.
Talk Us Through it, Charlotte
by Allan Ahlberg
I lived in the Black Country for a while - and the accent that Allan adopts sounds perfect for this poem to me. He's one of my favourite children's poets and I was torn between choosing 'Please Mrs Butler' and 'Scissors' - until I found this poem in the Archive. I hadn't heard it before and it made me laugh out loud. It has a secret message (what do you think it's really about?) and, like 'Brendon Gallagher', a great last line.
Red Boots On
by Kit Wright - Children's Poems
Kit Wright has written some good poems. He wrote 'The Magic Box' - which teachers are always asking children to put things in. I like 'Red Boots On' because it's full of energy and it's really happy. It reminds me of being young, being outside in the wind or the rain or the snow, having no worries and running, just for the sake of it.
Tempest Avenue
by Ian McMillan
I like poems that describe particular moments in time and this one takes a moment from Ian's day (or night) and captures it exactly. It's a lovely poem because the description helps you feel the emotion of the moment so well. Like Kit Wright's poem, this is also about happiness. But it's a much quieter happiness. A gentle, unassuming poem.
The Sssnake Hotel
by Brian Moses
And finally a loud poem. Read to a slithery kind of beat, this poem is great fun - which poems are allowed to be. It has a lovely rhythm, some snaky rhymes and it's just a little bit... well... creepy. I mean, who on earth would ever spend a weekend in a hotel like this?

Roger Stevens is an author, poet and performer who visits schools, libraries, festivals and museums all over the UK. He's the author of several solo collections and his poems for children appear in over 200 anthologies. Roger has taught creative writing for adults at the University of Sussex and is currently working with Roehampton University and The Poetry Society developing a new poetry module for the teacher-training curriculum. His adult poetry books include 'Searching For Blue Sea Glass', 'Jazz in the Quiet Carriage' and 'The Next Station is Barking'. For further information or to book Roger, please contact Book a Poet at info@bookapoet.co.uk.

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