University opens exhibition of Liverpool poets archive

An exhibition containing photographs, notebooks and manuscripts from the ‘Liverpool Poets’ archive will be shown at the University of Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery and Museum (VG&M).

The exhibition, called ‘Mersey Sound’, will chart the development and sources of inspiration of Liverpool poets, Roger McGough, Brian Patten and the late Adrian Henri – writers who were central to the city’s literary, music and visual arts scene of the 1960s.

The University acquired the poets’ archive in 2007 following a significant grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and a number of other generous benefactors.  The funds have allowed an archivist to catalogue the collections, which will now be showcased to the public at the VG&M for the first time.

Roger, Brian and Adrian became well-known in the 1960s by making poetry immediate and accessible to new audiences through joint anthologies such as The Mersey Sound (1967).  Selling more than one million copies, The Mersey Sound became one of the bestselling anthologies of poetry ever published.

Roger said: “The exhibition will reflect the culture, creativity and excitement of working in 1960s Liverpool.  The archive is full of fond memories and recollections of Brian, Adrian and myself and I hope visitors to the gallery will enjoy it.”

Material relating to the poets’ activities in the field of music, painting and performance will also be on display to illustrate how Liverpool writers, painters and musicians collaborated to communicate with a wide audience.

Moira Lindsey, Art Curator, said: “Liverpool has always been a lively and inspirational city and this new exhibit will illustrate its culture of poetry, music and art.  It gives us a real insight into the social context of one of the most creative periods in the city’s history.”

The Mersey Sound exhibit is open from Friday, 8 May to Saturday, 12 September at the VG&M, Brownlow Hill.  The VG&M is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am-5.00pm.
Members of the media are invited to interview Roger McGough, Brian Pattern and the late Adrian Henri’s partner, Catherine Marcangeli at the VG&M on Thursday 7th May at 4.30pm.  Please contact Samantha Martin on the number below if you plan to attend.

Notes to editors:

1. The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £93 million annually.

2. In addition to the HLF grant, donors include the Granada Foundation; Friends of the University; John S Cohen Foundation; Coutts & Co. Charitable Trust; the University of Liverpool and individual donors.

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