Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 207–225 | Cite as

Infinity and Beyond: The Poetic List in Children’s Poetry

  • Debbie PullingerEmail author
Original Paper


Amongst the wide variety of poetic forms found across children’s poetry, the list is strikingly prevalent. Drawing on Umberto Eco’s theory of lists, the article examines how the poetic list plays out in the work of a number of children’s poets, distinguishing four sub-categories, each of which operates in a slightly different way. After a brief consideration of early exponents, including Christina Rossetti, it focuses on the children’s poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, Ted Hughes, Philip Gross and Allan Ahlberg to demonstrate how list poems may create complex effects that belie the simplicity of the form, pointing beyond themselves to the infinite and the ineffable, even as they contain them within embodied language.


Children’s poetry Poetry Lists Orality Carol Ann Duffy Ted Hughes Philip Gross Alan Ahlberg 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Cambridge Faculty of EducationCambridgeUK

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