To be honest giving marks out of five for poetry is fairly pointless; poetry's the most subjective thing there is.
There are thirty-five poems in this volume, on a variety of themes, some of which have eluded me. The ones I can make out involve travel to the rainforest (and all the attendant inoculations required), an attack on the patrons of the arts, and an awful lot of decorating. I have no idea what Simon Armitage has against Pampas Grass, but I wouldn’t like to be around to find out.
Of the ones I particularly like, “The Straight and Narrow” is a nice short poem about careers advisors, while my favourite in the book is probably “Butterflies” about the urge to drive as fast as possible over humpbacked-bridge type hill tops. Close to that is “The Wood for the Trees” a rain-forest poem with some lovely words evocating childhood night-terrors. While most of the poems are personal in scope, “The Twang” put into words things I’ve long felt about March the 17th.
I read the whole book through to my wife, and we never felt like skipping a poem, and even had the urge to repeat a couple straight away.