I cannot get enough of these books. Flicking across their pages I laughed, I sympathised, I welled up, I remembered and I raged. Paul Cookson has been writing poetry for decades but it is almost as if his gift was honed for such a time as this. He has captured ten months of living through Covid 19 with a holistic breath and depth that I don’t think he ever thought about doing when he set out.
Paul Cookson is a funny funny man. I have watched him doing his day job, grabbing the attention of Primary School children making them laugh and opening them up a love for poetry. I have actually laughed so hard that I thought I might pass out!
In the innocent Coronavirus days back last March, Paul committed to writing a poem every day. I bet he regrets that commitment. A few rhymes for a week or two turned into a year! Yet, every day there on Facebook… another poem! I followed the days, then weeks, then months on Facebook. Every day.
Writing a poem every day is quite a task. It is not the quantity of the poems that impresses. It is that every day he found something of a weightiness to say. I have found these books a rather astonishing way to look back at the strange year we have lived through. Actually reading them, looking back has been much more profound than when I read them at the time.
Now, let me explain. Mr Cookson has a few roles in his poetic life as well as making a Primary School class love poetry. He is the Poet-In-Residence for the National Football Museum as well as for Everton in the Community. He is Poet Laureate for Slade too. He is even in a band with Slade drummer Don Powell!
So there are some wonderful entries about football and Glam Rock. However, this collection encompasses national issues and communal issues that sit alongside Paul’s own personal experience. It is a rich tapestry of what we have been going through. There are dull days, mental challenge, grief, tributes, praise for the NHS, sympathy for teachers and lots of political critique.
These collection are about Coronavirus life in all its fulness in a punchy clever arranging of words and rhymes. They are an entertaining national history. Thank you Paul for committing to that first poem and keeping on… and on… and on.