WARWICK, Valerie (text) Kate Jones et al (illus.) The Anthology of Performance Poetry Playtime Productions, 2013 107pp $59.95 pbk ISBN 9780987527417
It has long been understood by literacy specialists and teachers that exposure to poetry at an early age helps with a child’s phonemic awareness and their ability to hear and segment sounds. Elements of poetry such as rhythm repetition also provide a model for reading fluency. For older students, poetry can be used to introduce figurative language in which more complex ideas can be expressed in few words.
In her latest anthology, Valerie Warwick has brought together a collection of poems for a variety of readerships from schools, drama teachers and theatre groups to parents. There is also a section that focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works. This section is supported by a segment taken from The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to give the reader some direction in language teaching and a cultural context.
The book is divided into sections; poems for two voices, humourous verse, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander verse; to mothers and babies and free verse. Warwick has included a broad selection of poetry for primary and lower secondary age readers and performers to read aloud, in pairs or alone.
One feels the child’s excitement and fear in Sleepover (poems for two voices) a dialogue between two friends. Butterflies in my Stomach (humourous verse) plays on the idiomatic elements of language as does My Onomatopoeia Day (Treasury). When Kangaroos Had No Tails (indigenous poetry) along with others in this section speak of the Aboriginal Dreamtime and how life came into being. A couple of humourous free verse poems such as A Freaky Relative complete the anthology.
This collection would be a valuable school or home library addition. With World Poetry Day (21 March) just past it is timely to celebrate the power of poetry and its ability to act as a ‘dialogue among cultures’. Highly recommended preschool-13 yrs.
reviewed by Meredith Capp