Roger McGough

LONGLIST REVIEW: Wonderland: Alice in Poetry

The perfect book for celebrating 'Alice's Day', 'Wonderland Alice in Poetry' is an amazing collection of poems that have been inspired by the work of Lewis Carroll. Often parodies of the 'improving' Victorian verse of his time, Carroll's poems are playful, quirky and fanciful and the modern versions in this collection are equally joyful!

The book offers two versions of 'Jaberwocky' alongside Carroll's own: one by Joseph Coelho and one by Michaela Morgan. Coelho fills his with made up words like Carroll's whilst Morgan echoes the pattern of the original, using it to bemoan the symptoms of hayfever. 

'Smile' is one of my favourites! Sue Hardy-Dawson has created a shape poem based on the famous grin of the Cheshire Cat...

Who is the shadow among bright leaves..?

What a great idea for inspiring children to have a go at their own versions, creating images using similes, posing questions...

'You Are Sad, Lewis Carroll' by Roger Stevens and 'The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them' by Robert Southey are both based around the poem which Alice recited to the Caterpillar- 'You Are Old, Father William'. Wonderful for encouraging 'call and response' work!

This really is a collection with something to appeal to everyone and the possibilities for use in class are endless. The range of poets whose work is included is excellent and I love the clear references to the Alice books, encouraging everyone to keep reading those amazing tales!

Wonderland Alice in Poetry    Edited by Michaela Morgan

Macmillan    ISBN: 978-1509818846

Poetry Pie

Longlisted for the North Somerset Teachers' Book Award Poetry Category

Book Title: Poetry Pie

Author: Roger McGough

Publisher: Puffin

ISBN: 978-0141356860

This poetry book is dedicated with complete wholehearted devotion to the readers, writers and the spreaders of the written word. I guess that includes you and me!

Written in the contemporary and enigmatic voice of Roger McGough, this is a new collection of poems that play with words and word meanings, poems to perform, engage with and really enjoy.

Take a look at similes in the poem ‘You Are Useless’ on page 79 and homophones in the poem ‘The Juggler’ on page 74. The poem ‘My First is in Apple’ on page 34 is a brilliant way to explore the manipulation of letters and the poems on page 56 ‘Poetry Pie’ and page 94 ‘Don’t Go Where the Scarecrows Are’ are perfect for investigating rhythm.

For poems that are great fun, look at ‘The Giant Finger’ on page 73 and ‘The Game of Rhymes’ on page 12. And if you want to read something really silly, look at ‘Rhyming Sausages’ on page 11 - have you ever tried to rhyme the word sausages?

So ‘let your imagination feed on the fantastic, let it move like quicksilver, stretch like elastic’…