Sunday, 20 November 2011

Blood and Roses and Off by Heart

I am, unhelpfully, going to blog tonight about two out of print books which I found in the local library. Thanks, however, to the wonders of the Inter-super-web they are available from various marvellous second-hand-book type peeps.

I bought Brian Moses's Blood and Roses ostebsibly for A, but really for me. It's a journey through British (mostly English, it has to be said) history in poetry. There are some absolutely brilliant poems in there, both traditional and contemporary. A great collection to dip into, to support history topics which might have captured a childs' interest.

On the same library visit where we found Blood and Roses we also took out Off by Heart by Daisy Goodwin, which is a BBC tie-in to a series about learning poetry a few years ago. This has also gone out of print. In a bid to save a few pennies, I bought Penguin's Poems by Heart but it was absolutely nowhere near as good, despite good Amazon reviews; so I ended up buying Off by Heart too. It is split into three sections of poems, starting with the easiest ones to memorise, and ending with the most challenging. It is well presented and makes the reader feel excited about learning the poems. I am so deeply tragic that I am marking off the dates that we learn each poem on the index page. This is, obviously, optional. I wish there was a little chart where you could do this though, in order to appease saddos such as myself. It reminds me a little of the classic Poem for the Day but is much more child-friendly. I loved that book whilst I was at university and can still remember most of No, I am not Afraid, by Irina Ratushinskaya, which I learnt on the number 6 bus from Oxford city centre, to my Nan's house in Wolvercote. I bet if I were to sit on the same bus again, I could probably remember it all. Poetry is a bit magical that way.

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