Roger McGough at British Telecommunications

May 2000

Heigh Ho, comrades-in-verse. BBC Radio 4 have decided to make a programme about my attempts at grappling with the new technology as BT's poet-in-residence. The producer called round to sit with me as I rattled on about the joys of reading your poems and illustrating my new-found skills as a technopoet.

May I, apropos of nothing, recommend two interesting poetry magazines that have come my way over recent weeks. One is [removed at editor's request - no longer publishing], a lively mix of fiction, poems, competitions and friendly chat. The other is the Rue Bella c/o Nigel Bird at 16 Albion Tce, Heptonstall Road, Hebden Bridge, W.Yorks, HX7 6BE. Mainly poetry but the occasional short story. I know that many of you are looking to place your work in print, so you might well try here.

I remember the thrill when I had my first poem published in a small magazine. It was way back in 1959 a magazine called Tomorrow published in Oxford by Michael Horovitz (still busy publishing and performing) and Ian Hamilton (a critic). My poem, which I wouldn't dare reproduce for fear of your scorn and ribald laughter, was called Sunset, and compared the fiery orb with an egg frying in a pan. (Ah, they don't write them like that anymore!)

On Thursday May 4th, I will be traversing the great frying-pan of the sky on my way to Durban for Poetry Africa 2000. Performing with loads of poets from allover. School visits, workshops, lion-taming etc etc. When I go to exotic places I don't often write poems about them for some strange reason, even though I keep a journal of sorts. I sometimes wonder if poems spring from sensory deprivation rather than an overload. Most of my work being internal anyway.

Best wishes, Roger McG