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Brian Patten Biography

(1946– ), Bootle Times, The Mersey Sound, Portraits, Maud, Little Johnny's Confession

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British poet, born in Liverpool, where he was educated at Sefton Park Secondary School and worked as a reporter on the Bootle Times. Prior to the enormous success of The Mersey Sound (1967), as a result of which Patten, McGough, and Henri became collectively well known as the Liverpool Poets, he had published Portraits (1962) and Maud (1965). His numerous subsequent volumes include Little Johnny's Confession (1967), Notes to the Hurrying Man (1969), Vanishing Trick (1976), Love Poems (1981), Storm Damage (1986) and The Magic Bicycle (1993); a selected edition of his work entitled Grinning Jack appeared in 1990. Much of Patten's work has an entertaining directness appropriate to his popularity as a performer of his poetry. He is widely regarded as the most interesting of the Liverpool Poets for the tonal range of his work, which extends from the sceptical tenderness of his love poetry to the sometimes scathingly ironic manner of his satirical and socially critical writing. Gargling with Jelly (1985) and Thawing Frozen Frogs (1990) are among the collections which have gained him a high reputation as a writer of poetry for children. His works for the theatre include The Sly Cormorant, produced in 1977.

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