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It seems incredible that, even back in 1988, it might have been possible for a book of quality poems by mainstream poets to be published with everyone from the poets themselves, through paper-suppliers, printers, publisher and booksellers giving their input without charge, such that the full selling-price could go to charity, in this case the Wishing Well Appeal of the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. Thanks in particular to Lawrence Sail and Faber it happened, achieving another remarkable phenomenon; bestseller status for a book of new poems.

Poet Laureate Ted Hughes contributed a foreword and one poem, and sixty-two other poets also contributed one poem each. The sixty-two include Lawrence Sail, whose idea the project was and who served as Editor, Ted Hughes' two successors as Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion and Carol Ann Duffy, and a pantheon of others ranging from names well-established in earlier decades (Seamus Heaney, George McKay Brown, Stephen Spender) to some who were not widely known then and in some cases still are not.

Hughes tells us that the project was pulled-together in just thirty days. Presumably, therefore, few of the poems were written specifically for this collection. The book gains from that; some are about hospital, some about children, but by no means all, and the whole becomes a well-balanced picture of the total human experience.

In other words, it's as good an anthology of almost modern poetry as you are likely to come across, and nicely printed, bound and presented at that. The many offered on Amazon at just one penny are a bargain that should be snapped-up. Buy and savour this collection while you can. If getting it so cheap and without any part of your payment going to charity gives you problems of conscience, you will still be able to afford a generous contribution to Great Ormond Street or another worthy cause of your choice.
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