Poems Aloud


There is a lack of confidence around poetry that belies its beauty, application and necessity. Joseph Coelho, poet and writer, has created award-winning and user-friendly titles such as Overheard in a Tower Block and How to Write Poems. Furthermore, he works an exhausting tour schedule throughout Britain, performing, teaching and advocating poetry to all.

‘Poems Aloud‘ is a wonderful book. Joseph Coelho has created poetry with a variety of devices and styles that he invites readers to perform. Each is crafted so effectively. For example the verses created in ‘Say How You Feel‘, enable the reader to change ‘tone and try and show different emotions as you read‘. There is a raft of descriptive verbs in ‘The Bones of Pampachiri‘ that beg to be brought to life through acting, such as ‘scrambled’, ‘slipped’, ‘stepped’, ‘clambered’, ‘crept’, pooled’,’quake’, ‘stumbled’…. 

While this is an essential books for schools, I suggest that ‘Poems Aloud’ would be an ideal book to share at bedtime, or to enjoy reading or imagining with alone. It is a brilliant book, elevated even more by the empathetic, descriptive illustrations of Daniel Gray- Barnett.

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Poems Aloud

Joseph Coelho and Daniel Gray- Barnett

(Wide- Eyed)

‘Poems Aloud’ should become a bookshelf staple. I can imagine the poetry being formed by Joseph Coelho. Mr Bookwagon asked, ‘Did he write every one of these poems. Really?’ Oh yes! After How to Write Poems, this national treasure of a poet has created a book that demonstrates devices and poetry styles within a range of his works. These poems need sharing.
Joseph Coelho introduces this book by stating, ‘poetry and performance have always gone hand in hand‘. Furthermore he offers, ‘the biggest rule of all is poetry is fun and ultimately there are no rules‘. The first section includes Tongue Twisters of ‘slipping, shimmering, stinking slime‘, and ‘red, radiating, robots‘. He introduces homophones through a narrative around a ‘chilly chilli’. The rhyming words within ‘Something Wondrous’really pop‘ e.g., ‘gold leaf tree’ and ‘luminescing sea‘. I love the journey of a tour in ‘To the Countryside’, wherein the reader is invited to practise their diminuendo.
Poems Aloud‘ is a masterclass in poetry, from style, shape and device, with an invitation to readers to appreciate, practise and perform. Somehow, Joseph Coelho’s introductions to each piece lure us in. For example in ‘The Bear‘ he suggests, ‘take your time, pause and create to add emphasis’. Finally, I recommend Daniel Gray-Barnett’s illustrations. It seems like they interpret the mood and style of each piece. There are tonal, colour and method differences of such subtlety and style.


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