Macmillan Children’s Books has acquired Chris Riddell’s new poetry anthology, Poems To Save The World With, including work produced during the pandemic.
Gaby Morgan, editorial director of poetry and non-fiction, acquired world rights from Philippa Milnes-Smith at The Soho Agency. It will be published in hardback on 17th September 2020.
The book is Riddell's third poetry anthology following Poems to Live Your Life By and Poems To Fall In Love With, which was was selected by National Poetry Day last year as one of the best poetry books from the past 25 years.
The publisher explained: “As with the previous poetry anthologies, Chris has illustrated each poem with his unique signature style, reinventing poetry on the page and bringing the words visually to life and eliciting the readers’ emotions. The collection is broken down into topics from ‘Happy Thoughts’ to a specific section on ‘Lockdown’, which includes a wealth of new material written during the pandemic, including Nikita Gill’s ‘Love in the Time of Coronavirus’ and Chris’s own poem ‘Lockdown’.”
It features poets ranging from classical voices such as John Keats, Emily Dickinson and Lewis Carroll, to some of Riddell's regularly featured contemporary voices such as A F Harold, Neil Gaiman and Nikita Gill. He also introduces some new poets that haven’t featured in any of his collections before including Raymond Antrobus, Paul Stewart and Fiona Benson.
Morgan said: “Chris has chosen an astonishingly beautiful selection of poems that is very much about this particular moment in time but which will resonate for years to come. It is a powerful collection of poems about kindness, hope and resilience all brought to life with Chris' exquisite artwork.”
Riddell added: “When I started working on Poems to Save The World With, few could have imagined the pandemic we were all going to face. The solace that poetry has always given me has been heightened during these dark days. Illustrating the beautiful poems in this anthology has given me joy, insight and hope in this time of crisis. Poems curate thoughts, lift our spirits and call us to action. They are tools we can use to save the world, now more than ever. It is what poetry does.”
There are promotional plans for Riddell to host some virtual live drawing poetry events around Poems to Save The World With in the autumn.