Brian Patten


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)


Brian Patten
by (John) Edward McKenzie Lucie-Smith
bromide print, circa 1970
NPG x21728
© Edward Lucie-Smith / National Portrait Gallery, London