The History of a Word 02/07/20
Overheard in a Tower Block
Publisher: Otter-Barry Books
Recounting the childhood of a child living in a city tower block, many of these poems are sad or angry and bristle with an edginess that young teens may find refreshing when compared to other poetry aimed at them.
Unlike Coelho’s previous work which was focused at primary school children, this collection deals with a variety of difficult issues around parental absence, growing up, bullying, but also less everyday concepts like mythology and nature. There’s a real spread of form and content so young teens will be able to pick out pieces that particularly resonate.
There is definitely space for modern poetry for secondary age that doesn’t rhyme or fall into a rap or performative spoken word style. Coelho’s collection uses a lot of blank verse and other techniques and approaches that teachers might need to highlight to kids, so that they really appreciate the form side of things. The content is current, personal, moving and needs saying.