Labour Research February 2016


Don’t mention the children

Michael Rosen, Smokestack Books, 223 pages, £8.95

There can’t be many people who haven’t come across Michael Rosen. If you have young children, the chances are they are fans of We’re going on a bear hunt, or Centrally heated knickers or, more recently, Uncle Gobb and the dread shed.

As a columnist for The Guardian, Rosen wrote a series of wonderful letters to the then education secretary Michael Gove, criticising the Tories’ push for academies, privatisation and cuts to the curriculum. He is a formidable force.

Last year, he published a new collection of poems for adults. The heart of this collection is a remarkable series of poems about anti-Semitism, fascism and war, connecting the contemporary world of UKIP, Marine le Pen and Palestine to the lives of Rosen’s parents and grandparents and the General Strike, the Battle of Cable Street, Vichy and Auschwitz. 

Rosen’s poems are funny, sad, deeply personal, life-affirming, angry and so much more. 

Reviews contributed by the Bookmarks socialist bookshop.

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