And He Calls Himself a Literary Editor?

Sam Leith:

Personally, I\’d think primary school children would be rather better off starting on Spike Milligan\’s charming Ning Nang Nong than The Rime of the Ancient Mariner or Daffodils. The first joy of poetry is in its sound-effects – which is why kids love silly rhymes and limericks. It introduces the idea of language as play.

Clearly the young shaver doesn\’t actually know his Spike from his elbow. The finest piece of poetry produced in the 20 th century was indeed by the aforementioned Mr. Milligan, but it\’s not Ning Nang Nong, rather:

A thousand hairy savages

Sitting down for lunch

Gobble gobble, glup glup,

Munch, munch, munch.

I ask you, the young of today, eh?

2 comments on “And He Calls Himself a Literary Editor?

  1. Firstly, I doubt anyone has covered the Rime of the Ancient Mariner in primary school, making me wonder if Mr Leith has ever read it.

    Secondly, there are some wonderful sound effects in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, making me sure that Mr Leith has never read it.

  2. I was at secondary school (grammar) when I was introduced to Coleridge and all the other great dead white poets………….damn good stuff. Not really for primary school though.

    I did however encounter Jabberwocky in primary school. I still enjoy nonsense poetry.

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