What might you find if you went pond dipping? How long does a Mayfly live? What does a Luna Moth look like? There are plenty of books that will give you the information in factual description. Here is something a little different – we see the insect world through the eyes of number of contemporary poets – many of whom are teachers or involved in education. However, there is nothing plodding or didactic about this collection. The poets use language to create the image, to convey the sounds, to inform, to encourage reflection and wonder. Open the book and encounter the Moth by Elli Woollard, ‘Moth, you are cut from the cloth of night/spun in the silver of moonbeam thread’ or perhaps Nina Hoole’s Dazzling Dragonflies ‘darting, skimming, hawking, chasing…’. Some look to capture the beauty or strangeness of the creatures but there is also plenty of humour. I particularly enjoyed Myles McLeod’s Yoga for Insects – plenty of terminology but packaged in an engaging, concise and amusing way.
The traditional view of an anthology of poems might be to see a collection, perhaps, linked by themes, but to be explored either by oneself or reflectively in a class around language and emotion. This reflects a welcome development – a collection of poems that demands to be used in the biology lesson studying insects and insect life. The poets are offering another way into science, reminding us that disciplines are linked and cross-curricular lessons valuable. Indeed this slim little volume includes an interview with an entomologist, guidance on writing your own poem (even scientists can be poets) and ideas for projects around insects. An excellent addition to the classroom and an encouragement to teachers to widen the scope of their lessons.