5 Things We Learned about Roger McGough and Valerie Bloom from Authors Live

Authors Live: Roger and Val

On Thursday 27 November the last Authors Live event of this year’s series went out to schools and libraries across the UK during Book Week Scotland. Aww, sad times but fret not, we will be back again in April next year with a new and exciting line-up!

This year’s series showcased some wonderful events; a storytelling relay, an illustration slam, a Gaelic Jumblebum, a special visit from Katie Morag, a journey into space with Lucy Hawking, a trek through the Amazon with Steve Backshall. We also talked dystopian high schools with Patrick Ness, searched for a stolen hat with Jon Klassen and discussed the laureateship with… the laureate, Malorie Blackman! (You can see all these previous events here).

The last stop on the literary fun train called at the Roger McGough and Valerie Bloom station. Both poets recited some wonderful participatory poetry from their collections and you can watch the event on demand. Here's our five things that we learnt from this final fun-packed event:

Roger McGough AL

1. Imaginary menagerie

We’d love to live in a world filled with Roger’s imaginary animals. Ever heard of a llama clock? Don’t be alarmed, It’s part llama, part clock. Or, an allivator? It’s an elevator alligator, of course. Roger’s imaginary menagerie would be a sight to behold. Just imagine that Attenborough series…

2. You're speaking my language

It’s easy to speak Jamaican Patois with the help of Valerie Bloom. Jamaican Patois, known locally as Patois (Patwa or Patwah) is an English-based creole language with West African influences spoken primarily in Jamaica and the Jamaican diaspora. Valerie taught us how to sound out some words and then we participated with some Jamaican poetry. Check out Valerie’s ‘Chicken Dinner’; you can really get the feel for this beautiful and lively language.

3. The Sound of Silence

‘He didn't leave his name,

Left us only silence,

Life will never be the same…’ 

We know that poetry is best read aloud as sound, pace and rhythm help to bring the imagery to life. Sound is a marvellous thing. Can you imagine a sound thief? Roger’s poem ‘The Sound Collector’ is a fantastically eerie poem. It’s about a stranger dressed all in black who calls one morning and steals all the sounds of the world leaving only silence. It’s great for exploring imagery and exploring sound effects. 

 4. Cake - it's a balanced diet

Valerie Bloom AL

Pinda Cake. My, oh, my. It sounds good. It’s peanut brittle. A hard candy made from peanuts and brown sugar. Yum. Valerie taught us a traditional song about this traditional Jamaican cake.  You can sing along when watching the event and it’s a great way to explore rhythm, rhyme and poetry. You can also witness Valerie’s balancing act!

5. Poetry pick 'n' mix

There’s a poem for everyone. When the event had finished we soon realised that each person left with their favourite poem in mind. There were some common denominators but each person had a particular poem that resonated with them. That’s the great thing about poetry, there’s a poetic style and topic for everyone. Roger and Valerie really cover a lot. From imaginary animals, to Jamaican traditions, to riddles, rhymes and role-play. Watch the event and then you can discuss your favourite poems or create your own.

Authors Live will be back next year with a new and exciting series of events but in the mean time you can watch all previous events on On Demand. Enjoy!

Do you have a favourite event so far? We would love to hear about it. Get in touch and send your thoughts to miriam.morris@scottishbooktrust.com.

Have a look at some lovely picture of Authors Live with Roger McGough and Valerie Bloom below: