Carol Ann Duffy was named poet laureate of the United Kingdom in 2009. She was the 20th such laureate in the UK, but the first woman to have assumed the post. I was quite delighted to find that Duffy has written a few children’s books, one of which I discovered in my library — Underwater Farmyard (illustrated by Joel Stewart, Macmillan, 2002). Underwater Farmyard takes the classical farmyard setting with all the animals, and places it in the ocean. “Under the blue-green fields of the Deep/Bleat the bubbly baas of webbed-feet sheep” it begins and page after page, in lovely lilting rhyme with beautiful illustrations, farmyard animals and sea creatures commingle in their aqueous environment. I particularly liked all of Duffy’s references to the ocean — the Deep, the Brine, the Drink, etc. The end of the book, meant to be read at bedtime, has all the creatures going to sleep.
This is a good book to read aloud to, or with, your child, just so you can enjoy the play with the language which is what poetry, especially childrens’ poetry, is all about. This book whet my appetite for more Duffy, so I went up to the adult non-fiction section of the library and took out some of her poetry collections. Fine stuff, indeed.
Poetry Friday’s host this week is Amy at The Poem Farm. On another completely unrelated note, I do invite any of you who are interested in reading spiritual poetry to check out my new book of poems, Alert to Glory, launched this week in Winnipeg. You can order copies through my publisher, Turnstone Press.