Old Grandpa’s Book of Practical Poems
Peter Macinnis (curator)
337pp., pbk., RRP $A22.00
Imagine having at your fingertips a comprehensive collection of the poems that are most often quoted, or pop up in allusions and crosswords.
This collection carefully curated by wordsmith Peter Macinnis includes rhymes, brief and not-so from Britain, North America and Australia and in his words, should be “read aloud: adult to child; child to child; child to adult.” While he believes it is a collection that “young people of all ages can benefit from encountering” it is, “above all, a work of love, both of language and also of grandchildren, official and unofficial, everywhere. “
However, IMO, it is one that should be in the collection of all educators and school libraries because it provides such ready access to all those verses that we know snippets of but can’t quite recall the whole thing. Grouped under these rough headings: Short, Sweet and Sour; Pieces to Get the Tongue Around; Parodies; Fun with words; Adventures; Stories; Travel; Myths and Other Animals; Books and the arts; Seasons; Love and beauty; Funny; Society and its oddities; Nature; Science; Sport and The game of war, it spans works such as The Elf and the Dormouse (particularly topical given the weather we are experiencing on the East Coast and that which is predicted for the summer) to Banjo of the Overflow, a parody of my favourite Clancy of the Overflow,
This is the third edition of this work, again as carefully and meticulously researched as any who know Peter expect, and for many has proven to be the turning point in their relationship to poetry. There is something special about sharing something so personal as poetry preferences with those you love., be they children, grandchildren or your students. How many times have I had fun with young ones exploring Southey’s The Inchcape Rock (p59) and the inglorious fate of Sir Ralph the Rover? Sometimes words with no pictures to shape the imagination are exactly what is needed.
This anthology is the perfect vehicle for whenever you and yours need to just shut your eyes, listen and watch the images on the screens of your eyelids.