Football has accrued its fair share of sound-bites and foot-in-mouth moments. The poems in this anthology strike an altogether more subtle note and take us to the very heart of why a seemingly straightforward team sport arouses such passion and commands such lifelong devotion.
There’s a poem capturing the romance of children playing street football until it’s almost too dark to see the ball, and another in which going to the match is a rite of passage for an immigrant boy seeking to belong.
There’s also an extra poem from the touchline written by editor Conor O’Callaghan. And, of course, there’s a poem depicting that iconic game played in no man’s land during the Christmas Truce:
“All these boys want to hear today
Is the final whistle. Let them walk away.”
from ‘The Game: Christmas Day, 1914’ by Ian McMillan
This mini-anthology demonstrates that the beautiful game is entirely worthy of the beautiful language of poetry.
Poems by Simon Armitage, Tiffany Atkinson, Claire Crowther, Elaine Feeney, Miriam Gamble, Seamus Heaney, Gill Learner, Ian McMillan, Sean O’Brien, Conor O’Callaghan, George Szirtes and Sarah Wardle.
Cover illustration by Hugh Ribbans.