This bespoke anthology boasts twenty-eight poems, drawing on various traditions, beginning, ending, and liberally peppered throughout with those from the ever-charismatic world of Greek mythology. But we also get subjects from old English, Norse, Aztec, Arthurian and Balinese sources, together with a smattering of saints.
Youngsters are introduced here to a colourful, capricious and irrational world, albeit one often seen through a quirky twenty-first century lens. Though the poems vary in style, it’s this lively, facetious tone that often prevails, whether it’s Apollo in an X-factor-style contest, the house from the Hansel and Gretel story presented as a property exhibit, or the Furies as martial arts experts. The extemporaneous feel of Emma Wright’s illustration is certainly compatible with these droll tendencies. On the other hand, I was struck by ‘Love Song For A Minotaur’ by Abigail Parry, which takes a welcome metaphorical approach, and there’s a touching, heterodox angle to ‘Medusa and Minotaur Take Tea' by Rachel Piercey.
Technically, verse and image are not pitch-perfect in these pages; there is some clumsy phrasing, and although helpful notes usually decorate the margins, one or two of the poems, with insufficient background information, are confusing. Wright’s illustrations too, though energetic, can have an awkward look at times. (The front cover image, for instance, fails to sell the book as well as it might.)
A collection that’s dramatic and daft in equal measure.