Off Road to Everywhere
Written by Philip Gross
Illustrated by Jonathan Gross
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Age 9+. Winner of the CLPE Poetry Award 2011 , which honours excellence in poetry written for children.
Reviewed and selected by our poetry expert, Liam Parkin:
Already an established poet and winner of the T. S. Eliot prize, Philip Gross has produced Off Road to Everywhere, a collection full of poetry that appeals to both adults and children. His language and diction is captivating, and the rhythmic measure of many of the poems is perfect for a younger generation getting into poetry. Throughout the collection, Gross mixes fantasy with reality and elevates the familiar with images like the ‘Folded...wings of old-gold birds, / Chinese screens’ (Shadow Party); and the exquisite illustrations complimenting the poems pick out more than the words on the page. Gross provide a wealth of knowledge on how to write poetry itself, and many of the techniques he uses can be used for workshops amongst adults and children. In an elegant and accessible collection, Gross introduces children to a world of thinking, writing and reading like a poet.
The CLPE Poetry Award 2011 shortlist:
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Off Road to Everywhere by Philip Gross
Philip Gross's classics of poetry for children, Manifold Manor, The All-Nite Cafe and Scratch City, set a benchmark in the 1990s for opening doors to rich worlds of language and imagination. Off Road To Everywhere takes the challenge into a new century. These poems grow out of twenty years of creative writing work with young people, inviting readers to click out of passive consumer mode and think like writers themselves. Sequences like 'Dreams of an Inland Lighthouse Keeper' offer games, techniques and exercises to be used in writing groups for many ages. This is multi-layered poetry, playful, thoughtful and technically brilliant -- as gripping in performance as it is on the page. Inviting but completely unpatronising to young readers, welcoming to adults who think that they don't like poetry, these poems open our eyes to the world and to the riches of language as the birthright of everyone. They speak to all ages, and sit confidently on the bookshelf next to Philip Gross's prize-winning work for adults.
-high standards not only in content but also in the skilful use of form, construction, rhyme and rhythm in the poems. Scratch City deserves to be widely read. It is thought-provoking, enriching and a fine example of craftsmanship in creative writing Junior Bookshelf This is a world of playful conceits and chilly intimations in which voices carry on the wind, lost souls press for recognition, doors become mirrors and mirrors doors. Wordplay is the key to understanding, and the whole enterprise is cleverly designed to nudge young readers into an awareness... that through their own writing they can unlock more than they might have bargained for. -- Times Educational Supplement