Irish ayes;Reviews;Children's books

12th March 1999 at 00:00
THE POOLBEG BOOK OF IRISH POETRY FOR CHILDREN. Collected by Shaun Traynor. Poolbeg pound;4.99.

The key to a successful poem, says the Northern Irish poet and children's writer Shaun Traynor, is a "sense of something happening for the first time". His delightful anthology was put together with assistance from the nine and 10-year-olds he was teaching.

For the first time, the work of Irish poets from the seventh century to the present day, all written for or accessible to children (with a life beyond the primary years) is anthologised. It is published in the UK in good time for St Patrick's Day.

Traynor has found relatively unknown works from the traditional giants such as Yeats and it's tempting to put together a football series from recent entries: see Sean O'Brien's "Cantona", Seamus Heaney's "Markings" and Brendan Kennelly's "The Big 'Un".

Ireland 20, Rest of the World Nil.

Geraldine Brennan

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