A unique and beautifully illustrated anthology of the poems that matter most to people, from Kipling’s ‘If-’ to Hopkins’ ‘Pied Beauty’
When a mystery eye condition made looking at a screen impossible, author Gary Dexter had to rethink how to earn a living. His solution? Learn 100s of famous poems then hit the streets, approaching passers-by and offering to recite their favourite for cash.
His new calling soon drags him far beyond his comfort zone. A woman orders him to ‘sway like a daffodil’ as he performs Wordsworth’s floral classic; a security guard marches him out of Primark while he defiantly intones Invictus (‘I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL’); a drunk soldier mourning a fallen comrade requests Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues’ but turns nasty when the nervous performer fluffs a line.
In a series of remarkable, eye-opening encounters, Dexter finds out which poems people really love, and why. The result is an authentic, funny and original twist on a familiar format – a poetry collection for our times.
Gary Dexter is the author of several acclaimed works of non-fiction, including Why Not Catch-21? Since re-inventing himself as a professional poetry botherer, he has been a regular guest on national radio, including the Jeremy Vine Show and BBC Radio 5 Live. He lives in Norwich, where he has resumed his original métier as a writer, his eyesight now restored.