Trigger Warning For Children’s Poetry/Poetry Mural Overpainted – Poetry News Roundup April 10th

Today, in our poetry news roundup, we examine the trigger warning in a children’s poetry collection and a mural that was painted over.

Children’s Poetry Given Trigger Warning

Classic poems for children written by the prolific author and poet Hilaire Belloc have now been given a trigger warning by their publisher as it is felt that modern readers may find them “harmful”. Belloc now joins the likes of Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie, whose works have also recently had trigger warnings added by publishers.

The works, which are being republished by Pan Macmillan include the 1907 “Cautionary Tales For Children”. On the opening pages of the collection, the publisher has printed a warning that states that the text in the book has not been edited and is thus
It also warns those intending to read the book that there may be terminology and phrases included in the book that may be hurtful but that they were in common usage when the book was written. They have further added that the authenticity of the work would have been undermined if they had chosen to edit the text for today’s society and, as such, have decided to leave it as it was originally written, and that this does not, however, condone or endorse their use of the “characterisation, content or language” used by Belloc.

Born in 1870, Belloc had a French father but was raised in England where he later served as the Salford Liberal MP. He was a friend of George Bernard Shaw and GK Chesterton and as someone who was not only Anglo-French but also a Catholic. He was considered by many as an outsider. In addition to poetry he also wrote about travel, politics and he penned a number of religious essays.

His poetry included “Cautionary Tales For Children”, “The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts” and “More Beasts (For Worse Children)” all of which are filled with witty poems about animals. Pam Macmillan has now combined all three of these works into one volume on which they have placed the trigger warning. Whilst some of the cautionary triggers are intended to cover the use of the word “fat” to describe a zoo keeper, others are of a more derogatory nature.

American academics have recently carried out a meta-analysis that has concluded that, in some cases, trigger warnings of this nature can, in fact, exacerbate people’s anxiety levels. There have been a number of studies carried out in this field that have concluded similar.

Poet Mural Painted Over

Benjamin ZephaniaCouncil workers in Birmingham have been forced to issue an apology to the public after they mistakenly painted over a mural depicting the poet Benjamin Zephaniah, who died last year.

The council contractors mistakenly believed that the colourful mural painted on the wall of an underpass was, in fact,  graffiti. They are now working with the artist of the original piece to have it recreated.


  • Desdichado

    Just stop with the P.C. snowflake stuff. Roald Dahl is fine, don't censor.
    Weak people are easily-offended.

  • jarcher54

    Trigger warnings are not PC, they are fake PC. As a child I rummaged through my parents and big brother's books and the library and read Belloc, Portnoy's Complaint, Lolita, Black Boy, holocaust lit, Pogo, the WWI drawings of Otto Dix, etc. I am so glad no one tried to stop me or embarrass me! I did a book report on Lolita. The teacher gave me an A but made no comment on my choice. I was too naive to know it was even a controversy!

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