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Poetry Archive: Kit Wright Reading from his Poems for Children

Kit Wright

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The Poetry Archive

May 2012


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About this title

Kit Wright (b. 1944) is the author of more than twenty-five books, for both adults and children, and the winner of awards including an Arts Council Writers' Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award and (jointly) the Heinemann Award. After a scholarship to Oxford, he worked as a lecturer in Canada, then returned to England and a position in the Poetry Society. He is currently a full-time writer. Kit has made a selection from new recordings made especially for a Poetry Archive CD of thirty-three his children's poems, which shows the range of his accomplishments in this often overlooked type of poem.

From the imaginative and dreamlike images of ‘The Sea in the Trees', to the comedy and relish ofsounds in ‘Watch your French' and ‘Heads or Tails', Kit Wright's poems always demonstrate an impeccable ear, a genuine sense of invention and play, and a deft touch with rhythm that ensures there is always another surprise in store for the listener. It is rare to find poems that so faithfully reward a child's joy in sound, the ‘rightness' of rhyme, and gleeful pleasure in the comical and absurd.

His language concertedly, carefully and accurately inhabits a wide variety of feelings, creatures and characters, while seeming to completely assume and display their attributes, and it is greatly to the credit of his writing that in his hands this enormously difficult feat seems perfectly natural and effortless. The poet Anthony Wilson has said that Wright "can be funny, serious and moving, and sometimes all three in the space of a single poem", and this holds true for his writing for children as well. The restraint of strong emotion in ‘In Memory of a Beautiful Jeweller' makes it all the more clearly felt over the course of the poem, and highlights the poet's deeply humane and sympathetic temperament.

This sense of personality warms the writing and comes through no matter which of their colourful and various subjects the poems are tackling. In these readings Kit Wright relishes the sound and rhythm of his poems to great effect, at times coming close to song. His joyful, funny and touching performances make the perfect introduction of the possibilities of poetry to a young audience new to the delights of stories and rhyme.

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