It is one of the most quoted gobbets of British poetry: “Sexual intercourse began/ In nineteen sixty-three/(which was rather late for me) –/Between the end of the Chatterley ban/And the Beatles’ first LP.”
Philip Larkin’s “Annus Mirabilis” was published in 1974, yet like the Fab Four’s output still resonates today. Now the 50th anniversary of the release of the Liverpool group’s debut album, Please Please Me, is being marked by a poetry anthology inspired by their social and cultural impact.
Taking its title from a line in the surreal “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, Newspaper Taxis – Poetry After the Beatles features authors that lived through the decade and those that came after. There are also works from more contemporary names such as Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy.
It is pleasing to see Roger McGough recounting a meeting with superfans Liam and Noel Gallagher in “Thank U Very Much”. You can guarantee higher-profile Beatles nostalgia this year, but little will be as thoughtful.
‘Newspaper Taxis – Poetry After the Beatles’ is published on 7 February by Seren Books