b'POETRY THE CARNEGIE CLUBTHE NATURE, BE AUT Y ANDSTILLNE SS OF SKIB O TAKE S YOUR BRE ATH AWAYmake you laugh rather than groan. Much of this stems from his Irish Catholic upbringing, where sarcasm and storytelling were mainstays. In Let me Die a Youngmans W I T A N D W I S D O M Death, he extols the virtues of a hedonistic demise, while Vowwhich was recently chosen by Meghan, Duchess7 0of Sussex to read at a friends weddingis genuinelyT H E V I E W 7 1 touching without veering into sickly sweet territory.The latter was particularly well received when British poet Roger McGough talks to Gemma Billington aboutMcGough recited it for Skibos members. McGough isby Roger McGoughmaking poetry inclusive, and the inspiration to be found at Skibocurrently poet-in-residencethe first position of its kind at Skiboand has been hosting reading nights and poetry workshops at the castle. He is diplomatic when asked ifIt isnt easy being a view.ILLUSTRATION Elisabeth Moch poetry is something that can be taught, but clearly revels in meeting new people and unlocking their creativity.The weight of expectation.People are afraid of poetry, he explains. They thinkAll it needs is a downpour or a heavy mistI n the list of professions defined as hard to makeMcGough studied French and Geography at the Universitytheyre not clever or cultured enough. What I do is showand Im sni\x1f ed at. Written o\x1f .a living from, poet would certainly rank highly.of Hull where, by chance, Philip Larkin worked asthem ways in. Theyll all write poems while Im there But Roger McGough is an exception to the rule.a librarian and shared the same halls of residence. Theand hopefully go away and rewrite them, but theyre The Merseyside-born wordsmith first made his markteenage McGough felt intimidated by the senior andencouraged to think: I can do it. I also try to bring outOn a clear day though, I can lie backas part of the Liverpool Poets, a group of ambitiousslightly scary poet (I was very young and gauche andthe child in them, which is less to do with language thanand bask in the warm admirationyoung writers inspired by New Yorks Beat Generation.I didnt know what to say to him), but was encouraged tohow you see the world. In 1967, they published The Mersey Sound anthology,pursue his secret hobby after sending Larkin examplesToday, aged 82, McGough still feels the samethatows towards me. I pose.which has since sold more than a million copies. Forof his poetry in his final year. These were published in thecompulsion to write as he did as a teenager. InspirationI am the very model of a landscape.the past five decades, McGough has cemented hisuniversitys magazine, which McGough read but foundstrikes frequently in the form of imagined scenarios, place as one of Britains best-known poets, appearingto be filled with references he couldnt make sense of. overheard tidbits of conversations, or memories of in countless anthologies and textbooks, and a regular slotI wanted to make [poetry] understandable and notgrowing up surrounded by noisy aunts. On the flip side,Welcome. Relax and sit awhile.on BBC Radio 4. Throughout the years, his trademarkexclude anybody. In a wayand this is what people haveinspiration is also born from peacefulness: somethingAnd remember, what you see is the viewwarm and witty prose has remained a constant.said about the movement in Liverpoolthe poetry inhe has found in abundance at Skibo.But what the view sees is you.Although he didnt start writing until college,Merseyside broadened the boundaries of the genre.The landscape is gorgeous, he says. Being at Skibo is McGough admits he found his voice as a poet almostMcGoughs writing is inherently accessible; playfullike Ive been miscast in a grand film. The organ plays, theSo, Big Smile!Amy Murrellimmediately. I wrote the sort of poetry that would beenough to appeal to the younger reader but with enoughpiper arrives to take you to dinnerits wonderful, like understood by my friends and family; I wasnt writingacerbic wit to occasionally go over their heads. He playsyoure in another world. The nature of it, the beauty and for a perceived elite, he explains.with and deconstructs words and indulges in puns thatstillness of the place, it sort of takes your breath away. '