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Andy's article

A teacher I worked with in Rotherhithe and who is now a lecturer in Canterbury, Andrew Lambirth, has written and article about my work. I don't think I can give it to you online so here's the reference.

Changing English
Vol. 13, No. 1, April 2006, pp. 45-54
ISSN 1358-684X (print)
ISSN 1469-3585 (online)/06/010045-10
# 2006 The editors of Changing English
DOI: 10.1080/13586840500347517

It's called:

A ripple that ruffled feathers: an appreciation of 30 years of Michael
Rosen's poetry for children

Andrew Lambirth
Canterbury Christ Church University College, UK

This article is a personal appreciation and analysis of the poetry of Michael Rosen. Drawing on his work over 30 years, the article argues that at the heart of Rosen's work is a passionate belief in aesthetic, political and personal emancipation. Included in the pleasure that his work evokes, is a challenge to a number of preconceived notions about childhood, literature, relationships and living. He questions how children see adults and how adults see children, and with a breathtaking honesty, the whole world of children's literature and its impact on conceptualisations of children is put in the foreground. The article examines Rosen's use of autobiography in his poems, his groundbreaking use of free verse in children's literature and his relation to modernity.

Over the last 30 years Michael Rosen has become one of the best selling and most influential writers for children in Britain. He is a prolific publisher of poetry for children and adults and has worked with many illustrators, including Quentin Blake and Korky Paul. His work continues to stimulate, charm and grip the attention of children across the nation and abroad. In 1974, Rosen's first book of poems, Mind your own business, was published, and in the author's own words:

'In that tiny world of children's poetry there was a bit of a ripple. And if ripples can ruffle feathers, that's what happened' (M. Rosen, 1998, p. 8).

This article will examine the source of this ripple. It seeks to understand the impact of Rosen's work on children and the discourses that exist within the world of literature written for them. The autobiographical nature of much of Rosen's writing, the combined effect of free verse, humour and sadness, language play and the dramatically innovative way of portraying family relationships and childhood, forms part of a project for Rosen that advocates personal intellectual liberation. All these elements have been decisive in the success of his work. This paper begins with my own autobiographical thoughts.

Canterbury Christ Church University College, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1QU, UK. Email: a.lambirth@canterbury.ac.uk

 

 

 

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