When the Pultizer-prize winning poet was asked to collaborate with the former Beatle on a book, he gained a unique insight into the creative process behind the band’s biggest hits

Towards the end of 2016 I had a phone call from an unfamiliar number. The voice, though, was immediately familiar. The newly elected Donald Trump introduced himself quite matter-of-factly. He lost no time in getting to the point: would I be willing to come to Washington to serve as his “Poetry Supremo”?

That Sir Paul McCartney turns out to be such a brilliant mimic shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Like almost all great writers, he’d apprenticed himself to the masters of the trade: Dickens, Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Carroll. All apprenticeships are characterised by caricature and impersonation.

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