This page: The Ropes

The Ropes, poems to hold on to

The Ropes, poems to hold on to,
edited by Sophie Hannah and John Hegley,
ISBN 978-0-9539196-7-3

An anthology like no other

With The Ropes: Poems to hold on to, Diamond Twig moves into a new phase. It is an anthology aimed at young people, but which could be read by anybody. Guest editors John Hegley and Sophie Hannah have selected poems - including many newly commissioned - from a range of voices: poets, pop lyricists and rappers, for a new and vibrant book that addresses issues particularly relevant to teenagers. The Ropes reflects on life today with an unflinching, wide-ranging eye. It's a pocket-sized handbook for all those moments when only poetry will do.

"A dynamic collection of poems about life, addressing teenage concerns, split into poems by women and (from the other end) poems by men. All the contributors include personal notes and thoughts on being a teenager and each poem comes with a reflect/respond feature. This cleverly conceived design, personal approach, thoughtful selection of poets and pop lyricists and inspired introductions by Hegley and Hannah make this so much more than a poetry book for teenagers. It will be picked up time and time again."

School Library Association

"Despite being squarely aimed at adolescents (and every school should have copies) this will charm your socks off. These poems are accessable and appealing; surveying youthful uncertainty from a safe distance they are naturally rueful, tender and funny. This book is compact and VERY cute, the didactic 'rope/hold on' theme neatly incorporated, and the standard is uniformly high despite a majority of the poems being specially commissioned; these means naturally they are unfamiliar - though even old friends like Adrian Michell (and even Edna St Vincent Millay!!) perk up in this funky new setting, helped by the device of a single poem per spread. BEST OF ALL, though, are the brief 'confessional' bios penned by the living authors, with appropriately corroborative pics, which don't make the authors look old-fashioned but strangely relevant and often strikingly attractive. All our yesterdays or, for the young at whom this is aimed, a refreshingly long view, thanks to the editors John Hegley and Sophie Hannah, national treasures both, and to Diamond Twig's Ellen Phethean, more power to whose elbow."

Simon G. Barrett (London) - Amazon

"There is nothing quite like The Ropes in schools or bookshops. It invites attention and response and will be widely welcomed."

Elizabeth Hammill, Seven Stories, the Centre for the Children's Book

For a taste of The Ropes, see our Poems of the Month for January 2008, March 2008 and April 2008.

The Ropes was shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award. Read Ellen's account of the awards ceremony in her online diary.

The Ropes was supported by a grant from Arts Council England, North East.

Read more about The Ropes in Ellen's on-line diary, from her account of the background to the project to her discussions with rapper Skinnyman about how his oral improvised words can fit into a poetry anthology.