The Poetry Zone: A Celebration of 20 Years of children's poetry

The Poetry Zone: A Celebration of 20 Years of children's poetry

By Author / Illustrator

roger stevens, joe decie



Age range(s)



Troika Books




Paperback / softback



This lovely volume of poetry celebrates the Poetry Zone's 20th birthday. Established by Roger Stevens, the website offers a safe forum for children and teenagers to publish their poems. Over its 20 years it has been visited more than a million times and has published around 30,000 poems. This wonderful collection - royalties go to a children's charity - contains poems donated by well-known poets as well as children. Fittingly, it opens with Rosie King's (aged 10) poem 'Night Time': I lay in bed thinking / 'What could I do tomorrow?' / I could go swimming and do a lap in ten seconds / ... Or... / I could just write poems on the Poetry Zone!/ What should I do?// As Stevens says in the introduction, the children.s poems are .a cause for optimism and hope for the future of poetry.. We are charmed by 7-year-old Chaimaka Uchegbu who wonders about the sparkle she sees in 'It's Magic' (p.43): is it a fairy, a shooting star or a firefly 'Glowing with delight / Flying at slow pace at the dead of night...'.We are moved by Harshita Das who at just 12-years-old demonstrates emotional maturity in 'Perfect' (p.86): 'There is darkness / in each one of us... But to shroud that darkness / with light / Is what makes a person / Perfect//'. Stevens has skillfully juxtaposed poems in apposite but not contrived ways. Catherine Benson's gentle homage to January (p. 32) - 'flake on flake / the snow / rewrites the garden...' is followed by Valerie Bloom's welcome to 'The Visitor' (p.33) with the coming of spring. Jane Clarke's thought provoking 'Drop in the Ocean' (p.40) sits snugly alongside Gerard Benson's tuneful 'Shouting at the Ocean' (p. 41). The blend of adult and child voices is powerful: delightfully, Sue Hardy-Dawson's poem about the loss of Cedric (her pet slug : 'I cannot find my Cedric / I put him in a pail / Left him in the garden / And now there's just a trail.' (p.17) is followed by 6-year-old Nana Safo's 'Little Ants'. These children's work sits alongside some of our best contemporary poets for children: here you'll find Michaela Morgan (whose 'A Llama Alarmer' - p.15 - will lull you to sleep in no time); John Foster (with a novel take on the Grand Old Duke of York who had 'ten thousand bats' p.29) and so many more! As we would expect, Stevens' poems are his characteristic blend of child-friendly humour ('Shhh...!' p.12), and rhythmic, patterned language ('It's an easy mistake / To make / But it's best not to skip / with a snake /'. 'Skipping', p22). The collection closes with 'Just One' Laura Mucha (p.96): 'Life is short and life is long, / so quickly please, before it's gone, just one more poem'. Many more over the years please Roger... 96 pages / Ages 7-11 / Reviewed by Alison Kelly, consultant

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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