The subtitle identifies the origin and function of this collection; the introduction explains the underlying purpose--to ""allow people to speak English poetry without affectation."" British and American poets (mostly the former) from the sixteenth century to the present are included, arranged in three very broad subject groupings (pattern of the year, of people, of the world). There's an assist to teachers in the author index in the form of asterisks designating suitability for the eight-to-twelves and the twelve-to-sixteens;approximately half of the poems are specified for one group or the other. All of this is good poetry, without histrionic gimmicks, and the collection can stand on its own, but the selections for younger and older children are sufficiently varied and interesting to caliven many a tired assembly. This is not an educational tool, however--there are no instructions: it is a useful supplement if the interest exists, a sound anthology in the interim between performances.