Updated: Jul 16, 2020
By Harry Baker- About the author- • Harry Baker graduated with a Maths degree in 2015 and has been a full-time poet ever since. • He became the youngest ever poetry world slam champion in 2012. • Baker is also a part of a jazz/comedy duo called Harry and Chris. • In 2014 he began speaking for TED and is a regular at the Edinburgh fringe festival.
About the Sunshine Kid- • The Sunshine kid is Baker’s first collection of poems. • It is the inspiration behind his Edinburgh fringe show of the same name.
My love and attachment to The Sunshine Kid is borne from the fact that we both attended the same school ,although never at the same time. I was introduced to his work because a teacher showed it to us in an assembly around when I was around aged 14 and I have clear memories of watching a video of his performance of The Scientist and the Bumblebee and loving it (check it out the video we saw here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuao8ZhZbkg!) You have to listen/ read the poem to get the full picture but as a hopeless teenager who was being severely bullied at the time Baker’s poem simply gave me hope. At the end of the first stanza, he writes- ‘So don’t ever let someone tell you what you can’t do, because just because it’s proven, doesn’t mean it’s true.’ Which as you can imagine, is exactly what I and many others in the room at the time needed to hear, and to some extent still do. The poem is based on the story that the scientists proved that Bumblebees couldn’t fly, an unusual starting place for a poem whose central theme is hope. For Baker’s poems , however, it’s anything but unusual and that is just why everyone should read The Sunshine Kid. He often takes quite niche topics, you wouldn’t expect to find in poems and puts a unique and surprising twist on them. A theme that he looks at frequently is maths (makes sense as he is a maths graduate!), yet for someone who is a self confessed maths hater I still adore his work because of where he takes the themes. It’s here his skill shows. Yes, he may be writing a poem about prime numbers- take ‘59’ for example- but really it’s a love poem. N.B- a special mention must be made here to ‘99 problems’ which name drops a teacher that all who went to our school would remember. Baker’s poems are simultaneously fun and full of hilarity whilst also sharing important messages. Most importantly, I would argue they carry hope, which is why I suggest everyone reads them. I don’t know how to show this any better than letting Baker’s poems speak for themselves. They are full of sunshine and happiness and fill my heart with joy every time I open his book. If you need even the tiniest slice of joy I beg you to do the same.
Excerpt from ‘Scaffolding’-
If we hurt less, We grow less. We learn less. We know less. When phoenixes rise they must burn in the process And we are all works in progress.