Saturday, 21 August 2010

Michael Rosen on the books that made him

Michael Rosen has selected several books which have been especially important to him. In a fascinating, and rather enchanting, podcast for The Guardian's Books site, he talks about these books and how they have influenced him and his life.

It's a kind of Desert Island Discs for literary lefties, with all sorts of insights into literature, Marxist political traditions and Rosen's own experiences. The intro to the Guardian's 'The Books That Made Me' feature notes:

'He also explains why, in terms of the books he loves, he's "a rootless cosmopolitian", who gets as much pleasure from German expressionist plays and books of French history as from English Victorian novels. He tells how his favourite character from German children's literature, Till Eulenspiegel, inspired him to plunder folk stories for some of his own most famous books. And he describes how a recent encounter with a snake took him straight back to the old school poetry anthology in which he discovered the writing of DH Lawrence.'

More importantly than all that political stuff, however, Rosen reveals the creative process behind his hugely popular 'We're Going On a Bear Hunt' (I can't help thinking the Guardian has missed a chance for a prominent 'world exclusive' story here). I also liked his coining of the phrase "rooted cosmopolitan" and was pleased to learn he shares with me a "sacriligeous" approach to books, scribbling all over their pages (except poetry). Listen and enjoy.


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