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Performance Readings


Purcell Room, South Bank Centre

Out-Spoken, one of London's premier poetry and live music nights, is joining the South Bank for a year-long residency, bringing you the best in UK poetry alongside world-class musicians every month. July’s features an evening of outstanding spoken word and music, featuring Brian along with award-winning US poet Morgan Parker, author of Magical Negro (May 2019) and Hannah Sullivan.

Monday / July 22nd / 7.45pm / Tickets £10 / (concessions  25%. Limited availability) / Box Office: 020 7960 4200 / Web: HERE /


Way With Words Festival
Dartington Hall,
Totnes, Devon

PLAY!  A Poetry Celebration & fundraiing event for Three year old Reuben Williams’ Memorial Play Space in Totnes,
with Brian Patten, Matt Harvey, Susan Taylor and Simon William

/ Saturday / July 13th / 8pm / Tickets: £11 / Tel: 01803 867373 / WEB: here /


wight poster

Evoking the spirit and memories of 1969

County Showground,
Isle of Wight
PO31 8QU

/ Saturday / 31st August 2019 /
Brian Patten and Roger McGough - The Mersey Sound
plus Andy Roberts from The Liverpool Scene

/ Web: allwightnow.com /
/ Tickets: ticketline.co.uk /




Performance Information


Below are some descriptions of the kinds of readings Brian offers. None are set in stone, and can be adapted to suit the event.

Poetry Readings for Adults

Are You Across The River or Am I?

I was walking along a river bank,
A man on the other side
Shouted, “How do I get across?”
“You are across,” I replied.

Brian revisits a number of classic favourites but the performance also combines two very different strands of his most recent poetry. His new book, inspired by Sufi comic teaching stories that date back centuries is The Book of Upside Down Thinking. It’s an unexpected collection, full of wit and irrational logic which rattles the cage of conventional thinking. Alongside excerpts from this roller-coaster ride of wit and wisdom, he shares haunting lyrical poems from an as yet unpublished manuscript of moving elegies.
One of the UK’s most distinctive and popular poets, Brian Patten has been writing heartbreakingly honest, funny and uplifting poems for nearly five decades. A master of performance, his readings are always memorable.

When I broke the mirror I bought a new one.
I didn’t like what I saw,
So I took it back to the shop and asked for one
Like the one I’d bought some years before.


The Ghosts On the Wall

'A magic ability to turn radiant imagination loose' The Times

Using the posters and handwritten manuscripts on the walls of his study, Brian explores his past and its many ghosts. He reads from his new and earlier work and includes poems by some of the great figures with whom he has read - from Robert Graves and Pablo Neruda, to Laurie Lee, Allen Ginsberg & Charles Causley  -  and talks about their influences on him as a young writer making his way.

Brian Patten has read alongside such figures as Pablo Neruda, Allen Ginsberg, Stevie Smith and Robert Lowell.  His mix of serious and humorous work make him hard to equal in performance. With a reputation enhanced by each of his collections, and now translations into Italian, Spanish German & Polish, he is acknowledged as one of Europe's foremost poets.


Love & Other Follies
Brian Patten reads from his Collected Love Poems published by Harper Perennial


Growing Up Before Your Very Eyes

'Humour, sincerity, sheer brilliance - not to be missed'
The Scotsman

From first to second childhood and back again, with a little chaos and much humour on the way! Using a huge variety of his work, Liverpool poet Brian Patten takes us on a hilarious, sometimes dark, sometimes heart-rending and always fascinating journey through a chaotic boyhood, a love-struck adolescence and a disrespectful middle-age, to leave us teetering on the brink of yet another childhood. Book-signing after the show.

PS:  Why not combine a morning or afternoon Schools/ Family show with an evening performance for adults!


Show for children and parents

“Children will love it” Junior Education

See the Invisible Man’s invisible dog! Turn the family unit into jelly! Fly off with your mother’s ear-wings! Brian Patten brings his infamous collections of hilarious, lyrical and outrageous poems to life in this hour long extravaganza of verse and worse. Meet the author of children’s cult classics Gargling with Jelly, Thawing Frozen Frogs and Juggling With Gerbils. With book signing and Q & A after the show. Suitable for 6-11 year olds and can be adapted to create an inclusive show for all the family. Perfect daytime show for festival events!’


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