Posted on

Review of Return by Minor Road in The School Librarian

I was surprised and pleased to see Return by Minor Road was reviewed in the journal that school librarians refer to when thinking about what books to stock in schools.

One particular comment from the review has stayed with me very strongly:

A salutary classroom experience would be to read this collection alongside the bald facts given in Wikipedia, perfectly illustrating the difference between cold objectivity and what humanity – and artistry – can add: a practical and vivid answer to the question ‘what is poetry for?’

 The School Librarian comes out quarterly and suggests books that might be of interest to different age groups of children.

The reviewer, Frank Startup, comments:

This collection is rooted in the 1996 Dunblane school shootings when the poet was a young member of the community. The three sections explore the grief, desolation, and lasting fear which the shootings unleashed in a variety of poetic forms…

There are evocative prose poems, particularly ‘And’, which uses the conjunction to suggest the extent of the tragedy’s effects on a community… ‘Every day’ shows how a parent, years after the killings, cannot be rid of fear as a child is walked to school, noting tremulously that ‘On World Book Day, even his costume for Young Sherlock comes with a pistol’.

Through it all, however, runs the landscape, rivers and wildlife, a welcome continuity.

A salutary classroom experience would be to read this collection alongside the bald facts given in Wikipedia, perfectly illustrating the difference between cold objectivity and what humanity – and artistry – can add: a practical and vivid answer to the question ‘what is poetry for?’

You can read the full review here