The Liverpool Scene: English Poetry in the Sixties

A Guide for Teachers and Students

Textbook, 2015

130 Pages




Read the following extract from the “Introduction” to The Liverpool Scene, written by Edward Lucie-Smith and published in 1967.

The Liverpool Scene was born in the very early sixties. Pete Brown, more usually associated with jazz-and-poetry readings1 in London and the South of England, gives a lively account of it: “Well, this is the poetry thing really: I mean the atmosphere and the people were there already, definitely, and it was very sort of ripe. Late in 1960 Spike Hawkins and I were living in London but we met up with a team of people from Liverpool at the Beaulieu Jazz Festival in 1960 and they said, you know, that things were good up there and that we should come up and sort of enjoy ourselves. Well Spike and I got into conditions of extreme and dire poverty, so one night he hitched up there and accepted the invitation. They had this coffee bar there which was run by a very extraordinary guy – it was named after some Liverpool Victorian person, Mr Somebody Streate, and was called Streate’s Coffee Bar because of this painting they had of him there. This guy that used to run it was a very good guy. That was the centre of activity and meetings. Finally Spike and another guy called Johnny Byrne, who’s an Irishman who was living in Liverpool at that time and was a friend of Adrian Henri’s – they started these readings up there. The readings – well, Adrian, in fact, hadn’t written any poetry for about six or maybe more years before that – he knew all about it, of course, the things that were happening in poetry – but he hadn’t written any, and Brian Patten and Roger McGough were completely and absolutely unknown, and the fact of having regular sessions at this place brought them into the light and made Adrian start writing again.

This was early ’61. That’s how the poetry in Liverpool began, certainly, because I mean Roger and Brian just turned up at respective times when we were there and asked if they could read. And Roger at that time was a school teacher and Brian was, as far as I know, oh well, he was a cub reporter on The Bootle Times”.

Needless to say, various points in this account are contested by other people who claim to have been on the spot.

1. Look at line 1: what is meant by “Liverpool Scene”?

Choose among the following suggestions:

1) The panorama of the city.
2) The local current situation of a particular cultural and artistic activity and the people who were part of it.
3) A group of artists who lived and worked in the city, animating its cultural atmosphere.

2. Go very quickly through the text again and decide, with a partner:

- line 4: poetry thing means…
- line 4: I refers to…
- line 5: there refers to…
- line 8: things refers to…
- line 10: they refers to…
- line 11: it refers to…
- line 12: what does Victorian mean?
- line 12: is Somebody, Mr Streate’s real name? If not, why does Pete Brown call him that way?
- line 13: him refers to…
- line 13: this guy is…
- line 14: that refers to…
- line 17: they refers to…
- line 19: it refers to…
- line 22: them refers to…
- line 23: this refers to…
- line 24: we refers to…
- line 25: they refers to…
- line 25: that time refers to…
- line 26: he refers to…
- line 27: The Bootle Times is…
- line 29: the spot refers to…

3. Now complete the following chart:

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You can find more information about the Liverpool Poets on the web site: and its related links.

4. Now focus your attention on the last column of the chart and on line 16 of the text: “they started these readings up there”. What is the unusual, peculiar and new cultural element in this quotation? What is meant by “poetry reading”?

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5. Since poetry was communicated directly to the public listening to it during the readings, the channel used by the poets was mostly their voice, no more exclusively the printed pages of books, so we can regard it as oral poetry.

Can you think of any other examples of oral poetry in the English literary tradition?

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6. Finally discuss, with your class, the following Henri’s statement (taken from The Liverpool Scene): “As a communication-mechanism, poetry, particularly the way I do it at the moment, is not that often published and it is read out loud. It’s like a telephone, you know, and a telephone is a perfect communication system. You put a message in one end and it goes through and comes out the other. Poetry is like that! … If you read poems to an audience you can tell whether they hate them or not, or if they like them, or laugh at them…”.


Read the following extracts taken from the “Introduction” to The Liverpool Scene (1967).

Roger McGough talking: “If you’re, say, between the age of 15 and 98, and you say: “I’m writing poetry”, you wouldn’t think of going to London, you’d stay in Liverpool, because Liverpool is a scene now. Ten years ago one would have gone towards where the poetry scene was – to London.”

“I don’t think it’s a Liverpool thing as opposed to a Newcastle thing or a Birmingham thing; I think of it as a Liverpool thing as opposed to a London thing, or a public school thing”.

The relationship between metropolitan and provincial culture is one of the basic themes of this Introduction. Poets in Liverpool, like provincial writers and artists everywhere in England, seem to hover between two contradictory sets of attitudes. London inspires fear and resentment – a fear of being brushed aside, a resentment of slights either real or imagined. It also arouses mockery for its inhibitions and its pretentiousness. Liverpool poets feel a real sympathy for their environment, but an even greater loyalty… A man trying to write poetry in Liverpool usually has the attitude of a frontiersman: life is harder, but in some ways cleaner and better. It is more genuine, closer to essential values. The success of the Beatles had a seismic effect on the provincial culture as a whole. For the first time London had been left out in the cold till the very last minute. The upsurge of the groups went on for a long time after the Beatles had established themselves as international idols… Some of this glory was reflected on to the poets.

1. Go through the text and decide, working in pairs:

- line 1: you refers to…

- line 2: I refers to…

- line 3: one refers to…

- line 5: I refers to…

- lines 5-7: thing means…

- line 7: public school in England is:

a) state school.
b) private school

- line 10: hover means:

c) being in a state of indecision.
d) Make a decision, a choice.

- lines 11-13: look at the context of the clause: “London inspires…”. How would you translate into Italian the word slights (line 13) ?

e) inezie, piccolezze, cose di poca importanza.
f) Insuccessi, smacchi, sconfitte.

- line 12: it refers to…

- line 13: its refers to…

- line 16: it refers to…

- line 20: upsurge means:

g) an increase.
h) a decrease.

2. Focus your attention on McGough’s statement, lines 5-7 of the extracts above; why does the poet associate London with public school? What does he want to hint at?

Choose, between the following ones, the suggestion that you think the most suitable:

a) He wants to emphasize the contrast between the academic cultural world of the capital city of England and the popular cultural dimension of the English provinces.
b) He wants to imply a process of cultural democratization and decentralization taking place in England during the 60s, at the expenses of the academic world, identified with London, considered as the symbol of the official elitist culture.

3. Go through the extracts again and focus your attention on the author’s view on the relationship between metropolitan and provincial culture, then sum up his ideas and transfer the key-concepts in the following chart:

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5. Finally draw a similar chart as above and transfer in it your personal views on the issue metropolitan life versus provincial life, then compare and discuss your suggestions with your class pro or/and against.

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In Step One you will:

- Read five poems about Liverpool by Adrian Henri and Roger McGough
- Analyse the poems in terms of sound and rhythm, syntactical structure, figures of speech
- Know some information about Liverpool: how the city was changing in the 60s, its inhabitants, its atmosphere, the relationship between the poets and the city

Text 1

LIVERPOOL (Roger McGough, 1967)

1. Do you know where Liverpool is? Where exactly?

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2. What do you know about the city? In small groups, pooling your knowledge, decide whether the following statements about the city are true or false. Correct the false ones:

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3. Now scan very quickly the text of the poem “Liverpool”, written by Roger McGough, and check if some of your choices above are correct.

LIVERPOOL (R. McGough, 1967)

O Liverpool on the Mersey River Noble city, how I shiver With pride at the thought of your history And your great men who are gone Like Huskisson, and Mr Gladstone.1 After each you have named a dock From Bootle to the Liver clock And some miles further on, Even to Dingle and gay Garston.2 You are the greatest port in all the land, And your population runs to eight hundred thousand.3 Twenty miles of busy docking Thanks to all good men working On them. The brave stevedores An and the men in crane-driving Have helped to make this great port thriving. Your flour mills and other famous industries, Biscuit, pea, soap and sugar factories, All play a very important part; And of all industrial south-west Lancashire, Liverpool is the very heart. Noble city astride the River Mersey, I am sure we all salute thee.4

4. Look more carefully at the text of the poem and find the adjectives and expressions the poet uses to describe the city and the people:

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5. From what you have gathered so far which is the image of the city that the poet wants to emphasize and convey? (class discussion)

6a. How would you define the style of the poem? Tick as appropriate.

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6b. What is the effect achieved by the invocation to Liverpool at the beginning of the poem and by the use of rhyme?

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6c. There are some words from the beginning of the poem repeated at the end. Which are they? Why do you think the poet has decided to repeat them?

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6d. Look at the last line: “I am sure we all salute thee”. What is the effect achieved by the use of the verb “salute” and the archaic pronoun “thee”?

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7. Now compare your previous ideas about Liverpool with McGough’s vision of the city in the poem and complete the grid below. Then share your conclusions with other groups.

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Text 2

LIVERPOOL 8 (Adrian Henri, 1971)

1a. Read the following passage taken from the “Introduction” to The Liverpool Scene, written by Edward Lucie-Smith and published in 1967, and choose the most appropriate heading from the list A-G for each paragraph (1-6) of the text; there is an extra heading you do not need to use. Do this activity on your own first, then compare your notes with a partner and discuss any different choice.


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Any discussion of Liverpool poetry has to turn soon enough to the city itself, if only because of the curious love-hate relationship which seems to exist between the poets and the place.

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Liverpool is very much present in most of the poems written by the local poets, not only its various monuments, the street names and so forth, but in the very turns of speech and the attitudes to life which they express.

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To the outsider, the city has a strangely derelict air. There are many stretches of featureless rubble, many broken windows, many buildings in bad repair.

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As recently as 1875, the Canning Street quarter was described as “the best built and most respectable quarter of what may be called “intra-mural Liverpool”: a description which scarcely anyone would credit now.

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Liverpool is very predominantly working-class. People with money move out to the Green Belt1 on the other side of the Mersey. There is none of that wealth which you still occasionally get a sniff of in Manchester or Leeds.

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But the city continues to think of itself as something pretty special. “The most obvious thing about Liverpool at the moment”, says the informant I first quoted, “is that they have a lot of feathers in their cap – not only from the poetry point of view, but even from the football point of view”. Liverpool knows its own standards, and imposes them firmly. Its inhabitants are gifted with a famous sarcasm.

1b. Look back at the text and find meaningful adjectives, expressions or clauses related to the city of Liverpool, the people who live there and the local poets, and write them in the following chart.

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2. Read the poem “Liverpool 8”, written by the local poet Adrian Henri and published in 1967. But before you go through the text:

a. look at the title, why do you think there is a number after the name of the city?

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b. find a map of the city in the following web site: and spot the city area called “Liverpool 8”: is it a central city district or a suburban area?

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c. scan the text of the poem and find other references to street or place names mentioned in the poem and spot them in the map. You can also select some pictures of the locations in the following web sites: or Do you think that “Liverpool 8” can be considered a “city within the city”? Why?

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LIVERPOOL 8 (A. Henri, 1971)

Liverpool 8…A district of beautiful, fading, decaying Georgian Terrace houses… Doric columns supporting peeling entablatures, Dirty windows out of Vitruvius1 concealing families of happy Jamaicans, sullen out-of-work Irishmen, poets, queers, thieves, painters, university students, lovers…

The streets named after Victorian elder statesmen like Huskisson, the first martyr to the age of communications whose choragic monuments stands in the tumble-down graveyard under the cathedral… The cathedral which dominates our lives, pink at dawn and grey at sunset…The cathedral towering over the houses my friends live in…

Beautiful reddish purplish brick walls, pavements with cracked flags where children play hopscotch, the numbers ascending in silent sequence in the mist next morning… Streets where you play out after tea… Back doors and walls with names, hearts, kisses scawled or painted…

Peasants merrymaking after the storm in Canning Street, street musicians playing Mahler’s Eight in derelict houses… White horses crashing through supermarket windows full of detergent packets… little girls playing kiss-chase with Mick Jagger in the afternoon streets…

A new cathedral at the end of Hope Street, ex-government surplus from Cape Kennedy ready to blast off taking a million Catholics to a heaven free from Orangemen… Wind blowing inland from Pierhead bringing the smell of breweries and engine oil from ferry boats…

1a. Focus you attention on the adjectives and phrases the poet uses to describe the urban environment and complete the chart:

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1b. Then focus on the people and their activities:

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1c. Finally focus on the surrealistic images:

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and answer the following questions by choosing A, B or C:

1) What does the image of the horses crashing through the supermarkets windows suggest?

A – An advertisement.
B – A real situation witnessed by the poet.
C – A rhetorical device used to impress the reader.

2) Why Cape Kennedy is well known all over the world?

A – It is an important American scientific research laboratory.
B – It is an important American space research centre.
C – It is an important American nuclear power station.

3) What do they do at Cape Kennedy?

A – They launch rockets and space shuttles.
B – They carry out nuclear experiments.
C – They launch missiles.

4) Who are the Orangemen?

A – The Dutch national team football players.
B – The Protestants.
C – The followers of an Indian religion.

5) Refer to the last stanza of the poem: “A new cathedral…from Cape Kennedy ready to blast off…”. What does the poet want to imply?

A – The cathedral looks like a rocket.
B – The cathedral looks like a launching pad of Cape Kennedy.
C – The cathedral is similar to a spaceship.

6) Also refer to what comes next: “…taking a million Catholics to a heaven free from Orangemen…”. What does it mean?

A – Catholics and Orangemen are friends.
B – Catholics and Orangemen are enemies.
C – Orangemen want to get rid of Catholics.

7) Where does a centuried violent and bloody fight occur between Catholics and Protestants that has its tensest peak during the ceremony that takes place every year on 12th July, called “Orangeman’s Day”?

A – In Northern Ireland.
B – In Ireland.
C – In Scotland.

8) From what you have gathered so far and the descriptions in the poem, find the two pictures of the Catholic cathedral and the Protestant one in the above mentioned web sites (p. 11) and paste them in the spaces below:

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2a. The poem is a sequence of images related to the city of Liverpool described by the poet through (choose the most appropriate suggestion):

a) an objective point of view;
b) a subjective point of view.

Give evidence for you answer:

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2b. The language of the poem is characterized by:

a) nominal constructions where non-finite verb forms appear (infinitive, present participle, past participle);
b) constructions where there are usually subject, predicate (finite verb forms) and object.

2c. Decide (on your own first and then discuss your conclusions with your partner) about what Henri wants to achieve through these stylistic devices.

Here are some suggestions to start:

- Adrian Henri is a poet and also a painter…
- In the poem “Liverpool 8”, he wants to give the reader both a real and imaginary vision of the city using the technique of cinematic cutting from image to image without direct connection, like a collage or montage…

3. What is, in your opinion, the function of the dots used in the poem?

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4. Find alliterations, assonances and repetitions of sounds in the poem. What do you think is the effect achieved by them?

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5a. Find in the poem words appealing to the senses and write them in the grid below.

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5b. Why do you think they are so many?

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Text 3

POEM FOR LIVERPOOL 8 (Adrian Henri, 1971)

1. Focus on the following statement by Brian Patten, recorded by E. Lucie-Smith in the anthology The Liverpool Scene:

“Liverpool is a sort of – it’s a city. I mean I feel I belong here. I’ve got a sort of – what’s its name? Got a sort of complex about it – Oedipus complex, I expect.”

Then answer the following questions:

1) Who do you normally associate the Oedipus complex with?

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2) What are the implications here on the relationship between the poet and the city?

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Read another poem on the city written by Adrian Henri: “Poem for Liverpool 8”, published in 1971:

POEM FOR LIVERPOOL 8 (A. Henri, 1971)


blaze of trumpets from basement recordplayers loud guitars in the afternoon knowing every inch of little St. Bride St. brightgreen patches of mildew redpurple bricks stained ochre plaster huge hearts names initials kisses painted on backdoors tiny shop with a lightbulb in the window Rodney St. pavement stretching to infinity Italian garden by the priest’s house seen through the barred doorway on Catherine St. pavingstones worn smooth for summer feet St. James Rd. my first home in Alan’s flat shaken intolerable by Cathedral bells on Sundays Falkner Sq. Gardens heaped with red leaves to kick in autumn shuttered yellowgreen with sunlight noisy with children laughter in summer black willows into cold mist bushes railings pillowed with snow in winter Gambier Terrace loud Beatle Guitars from the first floor Sam painting beckoning phantoms hiding behind words bright colours in the flooded catfilled basement pigeons disappearing at eyelevel into the mist hopscotch-figures vomitstains under my morning feet Branby St. bright bazaars for aubergines and coriander Blackburne House girls laughing at bus-stops in the afternoon Blackburne Place redbrick Chirico tower1 rushing back after love at Dinnertime drunk jammed in the tiny bar The Cracke drunk in the crowded cutglass Philarmonic drunk in noisy Jukebox O’Connor’s smiling landlord on the doorstep huge in shirtsleeves and braces


now a wasteland2 murdered by planners not German bombers crossed by empty roads drunken lintels falling architraves Georgian pediments peeling above toothless windows no Mrs Boyne laughing in the Satyurdaynight Greek chipshop the tumbledown graveyard under the Cathedral where we kissed behind willowtrees bulldozed into tiny gardens huge tornups roots of trees pink sandstone from uprooted walls glittering in pale sunlight no happy dirtyfaced children littering the sidestreets only a distant echo of their laughter across the bonfire fireengine debris.

1a. Is there a turning-point in the poem? If so, where?

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1b. Why does the poet divide the poem into two halves? Which contrast can you find? Transfer your ideas into the following chart:

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2. What are the implications of Henri’s attitude towards the changes occurring in that period in the city of Liverpool?

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3a. Is the poem divided into stanzas?

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3b. What about the length of lines?

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3c. How would you define the rhythm of the poem: slow or fast?

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4a. Look at the syntactical structure of the poem. Like the previous poem in this book (“Liverpool 8”), this poem is also composed of a list of items but clauses are much shorter. What about the use of punctuation?

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4b. What is the effect achieved by the lack of punctuation and the juxtaposition of items?

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5. If the two poems (this one and “Liverpool 8”) were paintings, which kind of paintings would they be? In what would they be different?

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6a. The situations evoked in the poem are mainly described through sense impressions, as in the previous poem “Liverpool 8”. Find words and expressions in the text related to the senses and complete the chart:

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6b. Look at the columns of the chart, particularly at the second one; why does the poet run words together? What is the effect achieved?

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7. Read the following extract taken from an article from Sphinx (The Student Magazine for Liverpool), Autumn 1970:

[Henri talking:] “Life in Liverpool is a series of mixtures that shade over into each other – painters, poets, bricklayers, rock musicians; and it’s spreading to the rest of the country.”

Henri is much aware of the physical aspects of the city in relation to the state of its culture and it is with genuine feeling of loss that he talks of its changing appearances. The new housing estates and the new developments in the centre, he feels, are destroying much of its local character. Changing the face of Liverpool to resemble that of other major cities will be, according to him, a considerable loss of personality. Watching a dream turn into a nightmare is not a pleasant process and certainly not one he relishes.

Class discussion.

Text 4

LIMESTREETSCENE ’64 (Roger McGough, 1967)

Roger McGough talking (The Liverpool Scene, 1967):

“In Liverpool you’re a poet one minute, but the next minute you’re talking about football, or you’re buying bus tickets, or someone’s kicking your head in down at The Blue Angel. It’s all part of living. If you have an experience you go home and write the poem about that experience, then you go out and get drunk, or you meet friends and things.” … “Every day you walk out of your flat and you walk round Liverpool, and you know everywhere you’re going, you know every skyline and every gutter, every person and every street, every crook and nannie.”

1. Before you start a class discussion on McGough’s statements, focus your attention on the expression “every crook and nannie”, that is in the very last part of the text; can you suggest any Italian very colloquial example with equivalent meaning? Remember that the word “crook”, referred to people, has the informal meaning of: person who is habitually dishonest. The word “nannie” (colloquial short for “nanny”) is a childish expression for “grandmother”.

LIMESTREETSCENE ’64 (Roger McGough, 1967)

Turned left into Lime Street felt small like a pelota1 ball St George’s Hall black pantheonic like a coalman’s wedding cake glows in the neonic presence of Schweppervescence and “Guinness is good for you” Proud buses turn up Skelton Street and vomit an dribble up the hill once more to fill their “no smoking” “spitting forbidden” bellies. Ahoy Doris, docker’s delight with cheeky breasts and indelible lips tempting by smart as paint from your evilheels to your brothelblackhair laying a perfumed trail of gin Irish linen and men. Outside the Chinese cafes like buddhas bouncers stand lest a band of teds2 or sailors or drunken Viking whalers should seek to violate the chow mein3 and trample on the waterchestnuts Turned left into Brownlow Hill felt big as a pig.

1. Focus your attention on the central stanza of the poem where the character Doris is described and fill in the following chart:

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2. Look at the fourth stanza of the poem (lines 22-28): how do you explain the phrase: “… should seek to violate the chow mein…”?

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3a. Finally compare the first stanza with the last one and complete the grid:

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3b. Then suggest who the subject of the predicate “turned left” is, and explain why or what has caused the differences in the contexts: “small-pelota ball / big-pig”.

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4a. Looking at the title of the poem you can see that the poet has run three different words together and got only one which contains the three. This word formation process is called compounding.

You will have probably realized that also Adrian Henri uses this literary device (refer back to “Poem for Liverpool 8”), so we can conclude that the use of this technique is a distinctive aspect of the poet’s style as well as McGough’s.

Which is the effect that the poets want to achieve through this technique? Tick the most appropriate one(s):

- create neologisms
- reinforce the meaning of a word in combination with others
- offer a mini example of the technique of collage
- running two or more words together, produce compound nouns which condense different meanings

- create more effective metaphors

4b. Scan the text of the poem very quickly and find other examples. Which is, in your opinion, the most striking?

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5. Look at the length of lines in the poem. How does the different line length influence the rhythm of the poem?

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6. In the poem there are some rhyming lines. Which are they? What is the effect the poet wants to achieve?

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7. How would you define the tone of the voice of the poet?

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8a. Figures of speech. Find examples of simile, metaphor and metonymy in the text and complete the following grid:

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8b. Refer back to activity 4a, and discuss with your class if there can be any connection between the examples of “compounding” you have found in the text and the above figures of speech. If so, quote your findings.

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Text 5


1. Before reading the text of Adrian Henri’s poem published in 1967, “Mrs Albion you’ve got a lovely daughter”, dedicated to the American poet of the Beat Generation, Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), focus your attention on the title and decide among the suggestions given, who Mrs Albion is:

a) a woman really known by the poet or related to him;
b) a poetic mythical character that is the personification of England.

And who do you think is the daughter?

The title is borrowed from William Blake ’s poem: “Visions of the Daughters of Albion”, written in 1793.

In 1965 Allen Ginsberg was in Liverpool and declared: “I think Liverpool is at the present moment the centre of the consciousness of the human universe.” He then declaimed the following verse after the same English poet, painter and engraver William Blake (1757-1827):

Albion, Albion, your children dance again…

referring to the special atmosphere of renaissance of poetry among young artists in England during those years.


For Allen Ginsberg

Albion’s most lovely daughter sat on the banks of the Mersey dangling her landing stage in the water

The daughters of Albion arriving by underground at Central station eating hot ecclescakes at the Pierhead writing “Billy Blake is fab” on a wall in Mathew Street taking off their navy-blue schooldrawers and putting on nylon panties ready for the night

The daughters of Albion see the moonlight beating down on them in Bebington throw away their chewing gum ready for the goodnight kiss

sleep in the dinnertime sunlight with old men looking up their skirts in St John’s Gardens

comb their darkblonde hair in suburban bedrooms powder their delicate little nipples wondering if tonight will be the night

their bodies pressed into dresses or sweaters lavander at The Cavern1 or pink at The Sink2

The daughters of Albion wondering how to explain why they didn’t go home

The daughters of Albion taking the dawn ferry to tomorrow worrying about what happened worrying about what hasn’t happened lacing up blue sneakers over brown ankles fastening up brown stockings to blue suspender-belts

Beautiful boys with bright red guitars in the spaces between the stars

Reelin’ an’ a-rockin’ Wishin’ an’ a-hopin’ Kissin’ an’ a-prayin’ Lovin’ an’ a-layin’

Mrs Albion you’ve got a lovely daughter

1. Focus your attention on the protagonists of the poem and fill in the following chart:

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2. Look at lines 23-24. In the context the “Daughters of Albion” are worrying about what happened / hasn’t happened. What do they have to worry about? What ought to have happened or not to? Why?

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3. Refer back to line 20 of the poem and to the previous exercise, imagine that the girls go back home early in the morning: what will their parents’ reactions be like? Working in pairs, make up a possible dialogue between one of those girls and her parents who have spent the night away waiting for her to come back home.

4. Looking at the text of the poem as a whole, the verse: “The daughters of Albion” is repeated many times; which is the effect that the poet wants to achieve through this repetition, defined as anaphora ? (Tick as appropriate)

a) emphasize the important role of the daughters of Albion in the text;
b) focus the reader’s attention on the daughters of Albion;
c) create a contrast between the daughters of Albion and Mrs Albion’s daughter that is mentioned in the title of the poem.
d) Give rhythm to the poem.

5. The noun “landing stage” is denoted as a platform used for landing goods and passengers from a vessel but here is associated with Mrs Albion’s daughters. Which connotative meaning does the poet want to transfer in the poetic context he creates? If he wants to refer to a part of the girl’s body, which part is it? Why?

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6. The most common Mood used in the text by Henri to describe the daughters of Albion’s activities is the present participle. Why, in your opinion, has he made this choice?

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7. On line 27 of the poem there is a shift highlighted in the text in italics which seems to be a caption. What is the poet describing? Make hypotheses.

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8. In the last lines there are some examples of elided words and present participles preceded by a-, that means “in the act of”. What does the language sound like?

a) a rock or pop song;
b) a nursery rhyme;
c) a lullaby.
d) a prayer.


1 The activity of jazz and poetry in concert started in London at Hampstead Town Hall on 4th February 1961. That first concert was a surprise both for the audience and the participants. A lot of people could not get into the overcrowded hall so a second poetry reading was held at the Royal Festival Hall on 11th July in a very hot summer afternoon. The day after the Daily Herald wrote: “Yesterday the poets were at the Festival Hall and read their poems and three thousand people welcomed them like they usually do to big names of music.”

1 In line 5 two “great men” Huskisson William (1770-1830) and Gladstone William E. (1809-1898) are mentioned. The first was a Liberal -Tory Minister of Finance in the 1820s; he died tragically in a railway accident occurred on 30th September 1830, during the official ceremony of the opening of Manchester – Liverpool railways. The second was a statesman who became a leader of the Liberal – Tory Party in 1867 and was four times Prime Minister.

2 Bootle, Dingle and Garston are some of the place names in the dockland area of the city.

3 Liverpool population was about 470.000 in 1994.

4 Pronoun (archaism or Brit. Dialect), object form of “thou” (you).

1 The “green belt” is a zone of farmland, parks, and open country surrounding a town or city; usually officially designated as such and preserved from urban development.

1 Vitruvius, 1st century B.C., Roman architect, noted for his treatise De Architectura. Ital. Transl. “Fuori dai canoni vitruviani”, that means with no architectural harmony and symmetry, tumble-down.

1 The poet calls “Chirico tower” a railway ventilation shaft in Blackburne Place, that reminds him of a De Chirico painting.

2 Reference to T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland.

1 pelota, any of various games played in Spain, Spanish America, SW France, etc., by two players who use a basket strapped to their wrists or a wooden racket to propel a ball against a specially marked wall.

2 ted, 1. informal short for “teddy boy”, in Britain especially in the mid-1950s, one of a cult of youths who wore mock Edwardian fashions, such as tight narrow trousers, pointed shoes and long sideboards (“basette”). 2. any tough or delinquent youth.

3 chow mein, is a typical Chinese dish, consisting of mushrooms, meat, shrimps, etc., served with fried noodles.

1 The Cavern, very famous and popular night-club in Liverpool, where in the early years of the -Sixties, The Beatles started out to play.

2 The Sink. A trendy Liverpool night-club during the late Sixties.

Excerpt out of 130 pages


The Liverpool Scene: English Poetry in the Sixties
A Guide for Teachers and Students
Teaching contemporary English Poetry
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liverpool, scene, english, poetry, sixties, guide, teachers, students
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Bernardino Nera (Author)Annalisa Talamo (Author), 2015, The Liverpool Scene: English Poetry in the Sixties, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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