Where Zebras Go
by Sue Hardy-Dawson, illustrated by the poet. Otter-Barry Books £6.99 9781910959312 Shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2018
Photo: Michael Thorn
Sue Hardy-Dawson ranges across a variety of themes and poetic forms in her first solo collection. Shape poems are scattered throughout, their subject matter sometimes softly segueing into the surrounding stanzas. A shape poem about the recyclable Poe Tree is bordered by verses which provoke thinking about what we are doing to our planet. ‘A Shaggy Dog Story’ is preceded by a poem about a ‘garden wolf’ and followed by two more poems about dogs that pound city streets and share our lives.
Poetic forms and devices are humorously tackled in ‘Poetry Olympics Rules’ while shooting a goal takes shapely form in ‘How to Score a Penalty’. A poem simply entitled ‘Metaphor’ leads the way into several poems which thrive on inventive use of imagery.
The poems are narrated in a variety of voices, especially effective in a section which riffs on fairy tales. A frog princess tells her tale, the pied piper’s wife expresses her exasperation while an ugly sister pens a sonnet about sweet Cinderella. ‘Twenty Ways to Avoid Monsters and Mythical Beasts’ could be an excellent opener to a discussion about traditional tale tropes.