Adrian Henri, Valentine Painting

Adrian Henri, Valentine Painting, 1967, acrylic on paper © CM-Estate of Adrian Henri.

Creative Writing students from Edge Hill University are helping to celebrate Liverpool’s literary legacy with a performance to mark the 50th anniversary of The Mersey Sound.

Published in May 1967, this influential collection of poetry by Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten is one of the biggest selling poetry anthologies in the world. To commemorate 50 years since its original publication, Edge Hill students are hosting a day-long poetry event on 25th May as part of Tonight at Noon, a city-wide series of events celebrating the legendary Liverpool poets.

Happening Tonight: Echoes of The Mersey Sound will feature readings from The Mersey Sound alongside original work that responds to the collection and is inspired by the zeitgeist of the period. Students will be joined by established names from the world of contemporary poetry, including Edge Hill’s Professor Robert Sheppard, Patricia Farrell, Tom Jenks and Mark Greenwood, who will be performing their favourite pieces from the anthology. The students are also involved in a city-wide ‘poetry takeover’, which takes place across Liverpool city centre throughout the day.



Bill Bulloch, who is studying for an MA in Creative Writing, said:

Being involved with the celebration is a real privilege. The Mersey Sound inspired me to become a writer and, 50 years on, still resonates as clearly now for me as a scouser and a poet. It will be great to be able to perform in the footsteps of my literary heroes.”

Tonight at Noon, named after the first Adrian Henri poem in the collection, is a series of exhibitions and events designed to shine a spotlight on a piece of work which captured the mood of the Sixties and brought poetry down from the shelf to the street. Running from Wednesday 12 April to Saturday 15 July, it forms a key part of Liverpool’s 67-17: 50 Summers of Love celebrations.

Edge Hill University is also involved in three other events to celebrate The Mersey Sound.

On Saturday 17 June, the Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE) hosts The Mersey Sound at 50, an ’In Conversation’ event with award-winning Liverpool poet Paul Farley and Dr Catherine Marcangeli, curator of Tonight at Noon and former partner of Adrian Henri. Led by ICE Director, Professor Roger Shannon, the event will recall, discuss and read aloud the words and sounds of Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten.

This is followed by a special performance by original Mersey Poet Roger McGough and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s Ensemble 10/10. As well as a reading of McGough’s 1967 epic poem Summer with Monika, complete with composer Andy Roberts’ original arrangements, the event will also include other classic poems and music from McGough’s prolific career.

Roger McGough

Roger McGough

Edge Hill is also sponsoring Roger McGough’s performance at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017, which takes place on 19 August. Roger will be joined by Chris Riddell, one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators and cartoonists.

All events form part of Edge Hill University’s Festival of Ideas 2017, a stimulating programme of debates, talks, films, exhibitions, roundtables and performances throughout the month of June.


Happening Tonight: Echoes of The Mersey Sound

25th May, 19:30-21:00, Everyman Bistro, Liverpool

The Mersey Sound at 50
17th June, 17:30, Studio Theatre, Edge Hill University

Roger McGough with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s Ensemble 10/10
17th June, 19:00, Rose Theatre, Edge Hill University