George Szirtes was born in Hungary in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He trained as an artist and has written over twenty books of poetry in English, some of which have won prizes, such as the Faber Prize, and the T S Eliot Prize, as well as prizes abroad. He has written three books of poetry for children: The Red All Over Riddle Book, (1997), In the Land of the Giants (Salt, 2012, winner of the CLPE Prize) and, most recently How to be a Tiger illustrated by Tim Archbold (Otter-Barry 2016). As well as his own books he has translated many from the Hungarian for which he has also won various international prizes. He is married to artist Clarissa Upchurch and lives in Norfolk.
Here is one of his great poems:
How to be a Tiger
The scary tiger roars and roars,
it slinks through shadows on all fours.
Children beware! Are strange dogs howling?
No, it is the tiger growling.
The tiger growls, its eyes ablaze,
but we too have our tiger ways,
we too can pad through the dark wood
of the cosmic neighbourhood.
Pretend this is the forest floor.
Pad tiger, pad! Now children, ROAR!
© George Szirtes
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