Wes Magee has been writing poems and stories for children for over twenty years. He began when, as a primary school teacher, he couldn’t find any poems about dinosaurs – so he wrote some of his own. Stegosaurus (who was like a diesel engine off the rails) and Tyrannosaurus Rex (who was a like a rogue lighthouse with blood on his mind). Wes has now written hundreds of poems (many of them very scary) and is also the author of the famous Scumbagg School stories.
When did you start writing?
In a barrack room in Germany… when I was a National
Serviceman in the army.
Why do you write poetry?
To earn a living!
Do you write anything other than poetry?
Yes. Stories and plays. I’ve written over seventy books.
How long does it take to write a poem?
Ten minutes… or up to ten weeks.
How long does it take to write a book?
A 10,000 word story book takes 5-6 weeks.
How do you write your poems?
On an old-fashioned word processor.
Do you have a special time to write?
Early in the morning. From 4.00 a.m. onwards.
Are you writing anything at the moment?
Yes, a long, narrative poem sequence called Ghost Train.
Do you visit schools?
Yes. Endlessly. Probably fifty or sixty a year all over the British Isles.
The most unusual was on the Isle of Tiree, out in the Atlantic.
What is your favourite poem?
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost.
Of all the poems you’ve written, which is your favourite?
Tracey’s Tree, in the book Morning Break and other poems.
Have you any poems coming out in the near future?
The Boneyard Rap (Hodder/ Wayland)
The Very Best of Wes Magee (Macmillan)
The Phantom’s Fang-tastic Show (Oxford University Press)
Have you any pets?
Two cats, Rusty and Tiddler, a Border Collie called Bracken and a tortoise called Cleopatra.
What football team do you support?
How do you spend your spare time?
Gardening. I have two acres on the North York Moors and I like to build waterfalls in the wild river that runs through them.
What advice would you give to young poets?
Keep writing… and never give up!
The Phantom says…
Roll up! Roll up for spectres!
Roll up for apparitions!
Come in and see the gremlins
All sizes, shapes, conditions.
Roll up for my fang-tastic show!
Be quick, we’re starting in a mo.
Takes your places…
IF YOU DARE!