Footprints on the Page: Poetry Collection 1; Dark as a Midnight Dream: Poetry Collection 2
Footprints on the Page: Poetry Collection 1
Dark as a Midnight Dream: Poetry Collection 2
Compiled by Fiona Waters
Fiona Waters is a respected, established anthologist. You can tell from her selections that she reads all types of poetry all the time. These two collections are aimed at schools and at the Literacy Hour and come in hardback, well produced with an accessible format.
In Footprints on the Page the poems are loosely arranged in themes such as the seasons, food, school, magic, families and the sea. The poems are all on the footprints on the sand background interspersed with photographs relevant to the poems. The overall impression is attractive and reader-friendly. The poems are an excellent mix of classic and contemporary poetry with a good variety of form and subject matter. The collection also bears the mark of the selector who unfailingly chooses poems that are not only enjoyable but also remain in one's head long after the book is closed.
A companion volume, Dark as a Midnight Dream has black and white drawings and not on every page. The selection of poems is more challenging and is aimed at the older primary school child, crossing over into the secondary age group. Themes include War, Inhumanity and Death as well as Animals, Christmas and Love. Again the choice of poems is inspiring; this is the first time I have seen a poem about Aids in a school anthology, it is also rare for adult poets such as Paul Durcan and Sharon Olds to be included in a children's anthology - an excellent preparation and introduction to adult reading. There are some real gems - Nancy Willard's 'Blake Leads a Walk on the Milky Way' manages to keep the spirit of William Blake whilst creating a new-story of creation. Norman MacCaig's 'Sleeping Compartment' is just pure joy, an extended metaphor and an extended complaint 'I don't like this, being carried sideways/ through the night. I feel wrong and helpless - like/ a timber broadside in a fast stream.' Read on!