A Passing On Of Shells

A Passing On Of Shells
Simon Lamb, illustrated by Chris Riddell
Scallywag Press

It’s always exciting to discover new poets and Simon Lamb is a new voice on the poetry scene. For each of the fifty poems included here, he’s used just fifty words and, speaking volumes, every one of them is accompanied by an awesome illustration by the inimitable Chris Riddell.

The subjects of this cracking collection are wide-ranging and include family members, hope, nature’s wonders, growing up and the writing process. Those of us who write in any shape or form will recognise Simon’s playful words on the elusive ‘great idea’ in Searching for Ideas: ‘I glimpsed a glimmer of a great idea / just out of my eye but somewhere near / so I crept over quiet and I didn’t dare speak / … then readied my pen but alas that was when / the monster took flight once again!

I’m pretty sure too that many adults will from time to time find themselves having to emulate Macaroni Man, a brilliant chef or is he? ‘I love his macaroni! / Here’s the secret of his grub: / he cuts some slits into the lid, then microwaves the tub!’ 

Whatever your mood you’ll find something to enjoy here. I love the contemplative Still Earth: ‘Earth holding breath. / The sky a brilliance of blue, / its blush like newly polished brass. … No wind today. / Just stillness. / Stillness. / Just air and light and calm and earth. And in the absence of the words: / birds.’ Beautiful! So too is Chris’s accompanying illustration.

And, who wouldn’t want to have themselves described thus in the opening lines of What I Know About You: ‘You are a dazzling human, unique: a soup of swirling starlight wrapped in skin.’

Small, sparkling gems perfectly formed, every one: what better way to launch Scallywag Press’s new poetry list than this?

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