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HARRY GRAHAM - WHEN GRANDMAMA FELL OFF THE BOAT (Sheldrake Press Hardback Edition)
This 2009 Sheldrake Press collection of English humorist Harry Graham includes many of his acclaimed 'ruthless rhymes', as well as other work.
I didn't know much about Harry Graham's poetry until I read this volume, and it's obvious that he was a sharp cookie. Sometimes you don't really know whether he's being serious or not, with an example being 'The Battue of Berlin' (though I hope, and think, he is being satirical here!). Graham's rhymes are not all ruthless, though. In 'The Homes of London' he finds abject poverty an issue in which to berate the inhumanity of society, and in 'The Model Motorist' he attacks maniac drivers.
But, Harry Graham is ultimately a very funny writer, and his humour is shown at its best with 'The Neighbours', 'Dinner', 'In-Laws', 'If...!', and 'The Bath'. However, the ruthless rhymes are very ruthless indeed, especially at the beginning ('Indifference') and end ('Calculating Clara' and 'Baby') of the book, and with the callous 'Winter Sports'!
A very good collection, enhanced by the superb black and white period illustrations. The introduction by Miles Kington paints an interesting portrait of Harry Graham's life - and a life into which Graham dipped into very deeply for much of his subject matter!
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.
Richard Adams - Watership Down
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