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This review is taken from PN Review 21, Volume 8 Number 1, September - October 1981.

THE EWART-BIRD The Penguin Book of Light Verse, ed. Gavin Ewart, £2.95

The Ewart-Bird has built its nest
(And feathered it) with careless zest;
Promiscuous, his eye has lit
On any gaudy scrap of wit
That might disturb a curious maid
(Too many privates spoil the Praed);
The book is fun, I won't deny it,
I'll even recommend you buy it,
Good reading for the bed or loo-
In both it tells you what to do.
One cavil is there's far too much
Of recent verse that's lost its touch-
Give us the nineteenth century,
Sad Lear and witty Calverley,
Not funny-foreigner stuff from Thwaite.
Who'd care to rise to such bland bait
Or willingly be droned to death
By Fenton, Porter, Thribb, Macbeth
While ignorance or prejudice
Gives J. V. Cunningham a miss?
But that's enough of picking nits
Out of the hair of England's wits;
This book will tickle every taste
(Except perhaps the straightest-laced)-
Give thanks at least for what is in it,
There's near enough a grin a minute.


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