Cultural Life: Michael Rosen, poet

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The Independent Online


I'm rereading Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels with George Orwell's long essay, "Politics vs Literature: An Examination of Gulliver's Travels". It engages with many of the crunch questions about Gulliver, irony, and the politics of Swift. I'm also reading Marcel Martinet: Poet of the Revolution by George Paizis, as well as a self-published booklet of poems by Paul Lyalls, Are We Nearly There Yet?. It is so hard these days to publish children's poetry because the National Literacy Strategy only requires a very narrow range of poems to be read, and they can all be found in one book.


The last film I saw was Brick Lane, adapted from the novel by Monica Ali, which is very much a film about empathy. Usually, when British film-makers get hold of something that is political or social, they tend to make it like a TV play, but this film had a non-English lyrical approach to it. I also saw My Architect on DVD the true story of the director Nathaniel Kahn's search to understand his father, the architect Louis Khan, who died in 1974. And I watched a Danish film, The Inheritance, by Per Fly, on DVD, about a man who takes over the family business and sacrifices romance.


I just bought To All New Arrivals by Faithless. It's the sort of music you can't pigeonhole. I am listening to Sonny Rollins's The Impulse Story; and as a sucker for sax solos, I love Go! by Dexter Gordon.


We took our children to Roald Dahl's The BFG at the Polka Theatre. It was good, but not breathtaking. It is a hard play to stage because of the giant. They had various techniques, including a great moving image peering into Buckingham Palace, and just showing the giant's feet moving as he spoke. What didn't work so well was when Sophie was with the BFG and the actress held a puppet of herself to make her appear smaller than the actor playing the giant. I am looking forward to seeing Pina Bausch's company Tanztheater Wuppertal at Sadler's Wells on St Valentine's Day.

Michael Rosen is the Children's Laureate. His latest book, 'The Bear in the Cave', is published by Bloomsbury