Illustrated Nature Poetry: An Anthology captured my attention the minute I saw the attractive cover. Sadly, my photography skills didn’t quite capture the glossiness or quality of the book. Always on the lookout for things to share with my great-grandchildren, this book seemed to fit the bill.
Excerpts from British poems remembered from my long-ago childhood. Memories of my mother and father reciting them. Poems I’d memorised. Others I’d been taught in some detail by nuns passionate about literature. Poetry managed to mesmerise me, even as a little girl, with its words, rhythms, images.
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this collection.
Things I love about Illustrated Nature Poetry
- Poetry by poets such as Christina Rossetti, William Blake, Robert Louis Stephenson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, among others.
- The sensual language and lovely rhythms of each poem.
- Beautiful images, carefully chosen by the editor. Mostly simple, always colourful, they attract the eye and demand close attention. Delightful for sharing with small children.
- The clear, uncluttered layout, with excerpts no longer than 10 lines to a page. Fun to read aloud with non-readers or to read-along with those learning to read.
- General quality of cover, paper and print. Coming from a family of printers, I really appreciate these.
I thought Illustrated Nature Poetry was a children’s book. And that’s the way I’ll use it. I’ll also memorise (or rememorise) some of the poems. Why? Older people do ourselves a service when we use our brains (and our bodies). When we enjoy what we do, the benefits are multiplied. We keep ourselves limber by practising skills and making sure working parts like our brains work well.
I look forward to sharing the book and the poems with the children in my life. If I can ‘read’ without looking at the words, what a bonus.
The intended purpose of this anthology
But it seems I got it wrong. This anthology is much more than a book for children. The disclaimer, ‘Large Print’ on the cover should have alerted me. After all, I worked in aged care long enough to recognise clues like that.
Clare Harris, editor and compiler of the anthology, teaches English as a Second Language. (ESL). The English language in all its variations seems to fascinate her. She consistently extends the range of her work and consults with experts in other fields to ensure her work is valid. By clicking on her name at the beginning of this paragraph, you can read more about her.
As she points out,
Poetry is so valuable for people living with mild cognitive loss. It can stimulate memories and create a sense of connection and well-being. However, the well-worn anthologies on the bookshelf can now seem overwhelming – and the print is way too small to read!
- Obviously, from what I’ve written above, for nostalgic seniors to share with their grandchildren and with each other.
- As a gift for people living with mild cognitive impairment.
- For residents in aged care and as a therapy tool.
- In waiting rooms and day activity centres.
- For those with vision impairment.
The publication discretely does not mention anywhere the words ‘dementia’, ‘cognitive impairment’ or Alztheimers.
All of the poems in the collection are in the Public Domain, which means they are no longer subject to copyright.
Australian Women Writers Challenge 2021
This review is part of my commitment to the Australian Women Writers Challenge, 2021.