by Michael Rosen - £8.95 Smokestack Books (2015)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780993149023 | ISBN 10: 0993149022
Michael Rosen is one of our best-loved and writers for children. He has written and edited over 140 books, including contemporary primary-school classics like Mind Your Own Business, Wouldn’t You Like to Know, Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy, You Tell Me, No Breathing in Class and Quick Let’s Get Out of Here. You Can’t Catch Me! won the Signal Poetry Award. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, won the Smarties Prize.
Rosen’s poems for grown-ups are less well known, and Don’t Mention the Children is his first collection since Selected Poems (Penguin) in 2007. Fans of his children’s books will enjoy the way these poems combine the silly and the sinister to catch the surrealism of everyday life, somewhere between Jacques Prévert, Ivor Cutler and Adrian Mitchell. Few poets writing today can move so effortlessly between childishness and childlike seriousness. But at the heart of the book is a remarkable series of poems about anti-Semitism, Fascism and War, connecting the contemporary world – UKIP, Marine le Pen, Palestine (the title poem refers to the refusal of the Israeli broadcasting authorities to mention the names of children killed during the Israeli shelling of Gaza in 2014) – to the lives of Rosen’s parents and grandparents, the General Strike, the Battle of Cable Street, Vichy, Auschwitz.
(Price & availability last checked: October 2015)
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In booklists: Peace and War in Poetry and Writing, Activism and Politics in Poetry, World Poetry - England, In categories: Peace & Human Rights, Poetry & Writing, Changing the World,