I’m no big poetry reader, but have two books to draw to your attention, two from totally different ends of the emotional spectrum. Born to Giggle is a chuckle-stuffed collection of hilarious verses from some of the best children’s poets on the block, including John Hegley, Jill Townsend and Brian Patten. Heavily illustrated by some of the best cartoonists in the gutter (moi included), it’s been produced to support Save the Children, so is an all-round winner to buy for your favourite brat.
Grime Kerbstone Psalms is a whole other ballgame, and actually does come out of the gutters once occupied by first-time published poet, Miggy Angel (to whom John Cooper Clarke wrote, ‘I like your style’). Miggy chronicles the world of ‘pavement tramps’ and ‘cobble-stone kids’, of fried brains and seeping abscesses, but never ceases to find hope and simmering creativity in that dark disenfranchised world. It’s heavy going, thoroughly rewarding and, I suspect, what poetry was invented for.