Lorraine Mariner is Number 21 in my series where I ask a well-known poet, or lover of children’s poetry, to choose some of their favourite poetry books. Lorraine is an Assistant Librarian at the National Poetry Library, Southbank, working among one of the most comprehensive children’s poetry collections I have seen. Yes, I am a little jealous. She has published two poetry collections for adults with Picador, Furniture (2009), and There Will Be No More Nonsense (2014), and has a pamphlet, Anchorage, forthcoming this year with Grey Suit Editions. She has children’s poems in Dragons of the Prime, an anthology of dinosaur poems from The Emma Press (2019) and Midnight Feasts an anthology of food poems edited by A. F. Harrold, Bloomsbury (2019), and had a poem shortlisted in the excellent 2019 YorkMix Children’s Poetry Competition.
Enid Blyton’s Treasury of Verse (Purnell, 1979)
When I spotted this on the shelves of the National Poetry Library and saw the field mice on the cover my heart leapt with joy. I had this book as a child and loved it. Enid Blyton just has the ability to write stuff for kids that’s addictive.
Plum Pudding : Stories, Rhymes and Fun for the Very Young by Margaret Mayo (Orchard Books, 2000)
We regularly use rhymes from this book at our under-5s session at the National Poetry Library, you can’t go wrong with them. “Splishy-Sploshy Wet Day” always cheers me up on a rainy day.
The Noisy Classroom by Ieva Flamingo (The Emma Press Children’s Books, 2017)
The Emma Press is doing great work translating the best European children’s poets into English. This book was a revelation to me in my own writing for children; here is poet really writing for kids in the digital age about the loneliness and pressures being constantly connected can bring.
The Bubble Wrap and Other Poems by Dean Parkin (Smith/Doorstop, 2017)
I had no idea my friend Dean Parkin could draw until he published this book. Funny and touching poems from “Granddad in Goal” to the magic of Spagnets.
National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis (National Geographic, 2012)
I’ve bought this book for many of the children in my life. Beautiful photographs and stellar poems from classic and contemporary poets make this a total winner.
Poems from a Green & Blue Planet edited by Sabrina Mahfouz (Hodder Children’s Books, 2019)
And this is a new anthology I’m now buying for all the children in my life. Again, a wonderful mix of classic and newly commissioned poems celebrating the natural world.
Is that the New Moon? : Poems by Women Poets collected by Wendy Cope (Lions Teen Tracks : 1989)
Aimed at teenagers, I actually read this anthology in my early twenties and it introduced me to the women poets who have come to mean so much to me. Looking through it again I see that many of the poems have stayed with me and are among my favourites.
Tell Me the Truth About Life : a National Poetry Day Anthology : 100 Poems That Matter (Michael O’Mara, 2019)
And this is another great anthology for getting to know poets and poems. Lovingly curated by Cerys Matthews it features poems nominated by Britain’s poetry readers (some quite famous ones) and includes a poem of mine.