Childhood, according to Rilke, was one of poetry's two inexhaustible sources. The poems in this anthology are an index of the idea of childhood, from nostalgia to expressions of love for children, from the celebration of births to the mourning of childhood death - childhood's psychology and persona, its pleasures and terrors, and the loss of innocence. This wonderfully evocative book draws from 400 years of poems: from Ben Jonson and Aphra Behn, through Blake, Clare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Coleridge, and right up to the twentieth century poems of Elizabeth Bishop, Sharon Olds and Paul Muldoon.
Michael Donaghy was born in New York in 1954 and educated at Fordham University and the University of Chicago. He was Poetry Editor for Chicago Review for several years before moving to England in 1985. His first book, Shibboleth (1988), won the Whitbread Prize for Poetry; Conjure (2000) won the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection. His last poems are gathered in Safest (2005). He died in 2004.