Brian Patten


Close-up black and white photo of a man with light skin tone and big curly hair Brian Patten, by Edward Lucie-Smith, circa 1970, NPG x21728, © Edward Lucie-Smith / National Portrait Gallery, London

Patten’s first collection, Little Johnny’s Confession (1967), was published when he was twenty-one years old. He has published numerous collections, including Vanishing Trick (1976), Armada (1996) and The Blue and Green Ark: An Alphabet for Planet Earth, which won a Cholmondeley Award in 2002. Poetry for children includes Gargling with Jelly (1985) and Juggling with Gerbils (2000).

Q1. How large is a child’s imagination?
Q2. How shallow is the soul of the Minister for exams?

From ‘The Minister for Exams’ in Selected Poems (London: Penguin, 2007)

You ask for a poem.
I offer you a blade of grass.

From ‘A Blade of Grass’ in The Wolf A Decade: Poems from 2002-2012 (magazine based in London)