In fact the thing none of the sources tell you about IM is quite possibly the least important: I was at school with him. Wath Grammar. Comprehensive, now. (It was then, but nobody admitted it.)
Anyway, this morning IM said poetry was important and we should have a go. Here's my go.
Ian McMillan, they say, is a poet,
From Barnsley they tell us he came.
Not so though, I know, and I'll tell you,
'Cos Darfield launched him to fame.
Now Darfield's a suburb of Barnsley,
But 'suburb's' too posh of a word,
We don't have suburbs in Yorkshire,
Just towns at the end of the road.
Our hero was grammared in Wath,
Queen of the villages, said Vic-
Though she'd seen such a pick -
When they'd given it, wi' paint, quite a lick.
There 'George' Brown and BobGod they taught him,
English and history - and such
As would stand in good stead
When his poetry he read
And me - at the top of the class.
It's hard to be a poet in Yorkshire,
Larkin and Ted Hughes say the same.
They don't care about rhyme
When they come out o't' mine
Just a pie, and a pint, is the game.
So he still lives in Darfield, but travels
To Barnsley, to Hull and beyond.
Down South if he has to -
It's not rare that he has to -
But his voice never changes
For Yorkshire he allus remains.
I'll stick to the preaching...