Winner of the CLPE Poetry Awards 2011
Philip Gross’s classics of poetry for children, Manifold Manor, The All-Nite Café and Scratch City, set a benchmark in the 1990s for opening doors to rich worlds of language and imagination. Off Road To Everywhere takes the challenge into a new century. These poems grow out of twenty years of creative writing work with young people, inviting readers to click out of passive consumer mode and think like writers themselves.
Sequences like ‘Dreams of an Inland Lighthouse Keeper’ offer games, techniques and exercises to be used in writing groups for many ages. This is multi-layered poetry, playful, thoughtful and technically brilliant – as gripping in performance as it is on the page.
Inviting but completely unpatronising to young readers, welcoming to adults who think that they don’t like poetry, these poems open our eyes to the world and to the riches of language as the birthright of everyone. They speak to all ages, and sit confidently on the bookshelf next to Philip Gross’s prize-winning work for adults.
‘An exciting and original poet ... He is prepared to take risks. He challenges with rich and unusual language, and he takes poetry for children into a territory of strong emotions, often hauntingly expressed. There is no one else writing quite as he does.’ —Helen Dunmore
‘... an elegant exhibition of craftsmanship and intellectual mystery .... You go back to Philip Gross’s poems as they re-echo in your head ... Here is writing at the upper edge of children’s poetry’ —Signal Award judges’ report
‘Philip Gross has pioneered a new form of writing for young readers in which he sets Everest-high standards not only in content but also in the skilful use of form, construction, rhyme and rhythm in the poems. Scratch City deserves to be widely read. It is thought-provoking, enriching and a fine example of craftsmanship in creative writing’ —Junior Bookshelf
‘This is a world of playful conceits and chilly intimations in which voices carry on the wind, lost souls press for recognition, doors become mirrors and mirrors doors. Wordplay is the key to understanding, and the whole enterprise is cleverly designed to nudge young readers into an awareness… that through their own writing they can unlock more than they might have bargained for.’ —Times Educational Supplement