One of the UK’s most distinctive and popular poets, Brian Patten has been writing honest, funny and uplifting poems for nearly five decades.

Now Brian, who made his name in the 1960s as one of the Liverpool Poets alongside Adrian Henri and Roger McGough, is making his first ever visit to Corsham and will be reading from his new publication, The Book of Upside Down Thinking, at the Pound Arts Centre.

An enduring superstar in the world of poetry, Brian’s first collection, written in partnership with Henri and McGough, was called The Mersey Sound and has been credited as one of the most significant anthologies of the twentieth century.

In the Spoken Word event on Saturday April 6, he will revisit some classic favourites as well as introducing this new collection, published by Forget Me Not Books in Bath.

"I think this little collection is best dipped into like a bag of sweets," he said. "Most of these short poems are based on stories that are usually attributed to a character in Arabic folklore much loved throughout the near and Middle East.

"In Turkey he travels under the name of Nazrudin Hodja, in Libya and Morocco he’s Si’ Djeha, in Egypt he’s Goha, in Palestine and Iraq, he’s known as Bahlul."

He said: “They’re based on Sufi teaching stories. They are very funny but also have a deeper meaning.”

Alongside excerpts from this roller-coaster ride of wit, he will share haunting, lyrical poems from an as yet unpublished manuscript of moving elegies.

Tickets are £14. To book, call 01249 701628 or visit


I was walking along a river bank.

A man on the other side

Shouted, “How can I get across?”

“You are across,” I replied.


“You must have some means to identify yourself,”

The officious official said.

I held a mirror to my face.

“Yes, that’s me,” I said.