24 poets from across the English speaking world comment on a poem they have contributed to this collection. There are well known poets such as Jackie Kay, Carol Ann Duffy and John Agard alongside new names from Canada, the USA, Tasmania and India.
The poems are enjoyable and the poets’ commentaries are excellent – enlightening and thought-provoking. Adrian Mitchell is inspiring about the power of words and his love of the earth, sky and space. Nancy Willard has a fascinating conversation with her poem where we learn about William Blake and the process of writing a poem.
However, the collection is let down by its design and production. The whole feel of the book is messy and disjointed. The cover is a close scrawl of multi-coloured writing and the commentaries are in an ugly typewriter font making them difficult to read whilst detracting from the wonderful illustrations which fizz and sing around the poems.
The editor’s introduction is off-putting, worthy but rather dull, and his selection of poems can’t make up its mind which age group the book is aimed at. It’s a pity, because the collection contains some good poems which are illuminated by the poets’ commentaries and Jonny Hannah’s lively illustrations.