Aloud in My Head


Twenty- one poets from around the world respond to their works in Aloud in My Head.

We learn, for example that Roger McGough’s Didgeridoo was inspired by his word play. His notes show how he was considering rhythms and images relating to that word, and others including kedgeree and terrapin. We enjoy being party to his contemplations, while reading his completed work.

Meanwhile, Grace Nichols’ ‘weather-eye‘ trigger the imagery within her poem, ‘Sun is Laughing‘. It’s a ‘slightly playful homage‘ to living in England ‘where the changeability in the weather keeps [her] on her toes.’

Naomi Shibab Kaye’s memories of sharing a ‘telephone cord communication line‘ with her brother as a child, form her poem, ‘Supple Cord‘- ‘My brother, in his small, white bed/ Held one end/ I tugged the other/ To signal I was still awake.’

Aloud in My Head is an informative, personal and fascinating experience of poems and their creators. While we may feel we understand and realise a poem, to learn how and why they were formed, offers so much more to our poetry experience. Bookwagon suggests this book would be wonderful to share at bedtime reading, and in classrooms. We are delighted to recommend Aloud in My Head.

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Aloud in My Head

Children’s poets discuss a poem each

edited by JonArno Lawson

illustrated by Johnny Hannah

(Walker Books)

In Aloud in My Head, twenty- one children’s poets explain the science behind one of their works. For example, ‘Five Girls’  is inspired by rhymes Carol Ann Duffy’s mother invented for her. Thereafter, she did the same for her daughter, incorporating names they invented or knew.
X.J. Kennedy was perplexed as to which animal he’d include in a verse book he was writing of that subject when it came to the letter I. However he was inspired when reading about an iguana, costumed as an iguanodon for the film ‘One Million B.C.’ This resulted in the poem, ‘Iguana’-  ‘To glue a few fake backfins on/ And play it’s great-grandpappy.’
In addition to motivation for works, we learn about the devices employed. For example JonArno Lawson explains how rhythms, feelings or sounds might initiate a verse, as in his ‘The Octopus and the Seahorse’.
While the response within the feedback is varied, like the styles of poetry, the entire compilation is fascinating. It shows the strength, breadth and possibilities of poetry through every facet of our lives. Like Poems to Live Your Life By the works and responses engage, inspire and inform.


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