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Posted in Introduction

Welcome to Poetry Roundabout!

Hello! I’m Liz Brownlee, and I’ve set up Poetry Roundabout to be the go-to place to find anything and everything about poetry for young people. Here you will find interviews with the best children’s poets, poetry news, how to write poems, poems of course, and poetry book reviews… and more besides! For teachers, young people’s poets, and poets who are young people!

Teachers, Editors, Publishers, people who wish to employ a poet – at the top in the tabs you will find an A-Z of poets and their poems from the UK, US and round the world, and a tab for poets who do free 15 minute Skype visits.

Posted in CLiPPA

CLiPPA AWARD WINNER Steven Camden – The Book Review

Here is the review I did of the 2019 CLiPPA award-winner, Steven Camden’s book, Everything All at Once, in June last year! WELL DONE Steven, aka @homeofpolar on Twitter!

How FABULOUS to be able to review a young people’s poetry book written for above primary age.

These poems speak directly in an authentic teenage voice, with humour and insight, giving voice to the complex, anxious, insecure and serious feelings that face all teenagers. And the exciting ones, too! Steven Camden, AKA Polarbear is by reputation (I regret that I have not seen him!) an excellent spoken-word poet, but these poems live on the page as well as they would in the mouth.

Some of the poems are almost unbearably poignant. As I read it I could feel myself going hot and cold with remembered angst; but also sadness at many of the new challenges our young people face nowadays.

It also made me laugh out loud. This book and these poems are well overdue, there is so little that is pertinent and specifically for this age-group. Very much recommended, teachers.

Posted in Poetry News

Children’s Poetry Summit Launches Blog for Children’s Poetry Professionals

The Children’s Poetry Summit is a UK network of individuals and organisations actively interested in poetry for children. It provides a regular forum for discussion, information exchange, and sharing of ideas, and a pressure group which campaigns for children’s poetry. Members are children’s poets, publishers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, organisations and individuals interested in children’s poetry. It was founded by Chris Holifield, who was Poetry Book Society director, and is now director of the T S Eliot Prize, and Gaby Morgan, children’s editor and children’s poetry editor at Macmillan.

They meet a few times a year in London (I am a member), and exchange information and ideas about raising the profile of children’s poetry, creating opportunities on behalf of poetry for children through publishing, bookselling, schools etc.; and of course also support and promote the writing of poetry for children.

They have a new website where you will find fascinating blogs over the year, every Thursday- not just the poets, but publishers, librarians, Forward Arts (who organise National Poetry Day), and every conceivable organisation that helps promote poetry for children, that is also represented on the Summit. Occasionally there will also be guest blogs.

Why not have a look? At the moment there are blogs by Michael Rosen, Cheryl Moskowitz, Brian Moses, Roger Stevens, Laura Mucha, Teresa Cremin, Rachel Rooney, and this weeks blog by Janetta Otter-Barry (links are to blogs, performances or entries on the A-Z of Children’s Poets on this blog).

So – if you don’t follow Poetry Roundabout, please do so if you are interested in everything Children’s Poetry related, and whether you are an adult writer of poetry for children, a young writer of poetry, a fan of children’s poetry, teacher, or an industry professional, please also follow Children’s Poetry Summit which will have a blog every Thursday.

Thanks to Chris Riddell for his lovely artwork which is the Children’s Poetry Summit logo.

Posted in Famous children's poets

Moonstruck!

I have rather a backlog of books to review… but this is one I will be reviewing, the new anthology of moon poems, Moonstruck by Roger Stevens, published by Otter-Barry and wonderfully illustrated by Ed Boxall. I caught a glimpse when we saw each other a little while ago when we were performing for the Teachers’ Book Group Conference. It was beautiful. Out in hardback in the US, and in paperback here soon.

Here’s Ed with some of his illustrated books at a book fair we met at a little while ago.

YorkMix Poems For Children Competition!

Could you write a poem to amuse, excite or inspire children? That’s the challenge as YorkMix launches the YorkMix Poems For Children Competition!

The first prize is £250, with runner-up prizes of £100, £75 and £50, and the poems are judged by Carole Bromley.

If you want to write a children’s poem now is the time to try!

Details here.

Posted in Poetry News

Fun and Joy at the Federation Of Children’s Book Groups’ Conference

Because of the Feast of Children’s Poets and Poetry A-Z, I haven’t posted this!

Earlier in April a group of children’s poets were invited to perform at the FCBG’s Conference. It was such fun – we all did a set, and sang some songs… with an hour’s practise! But we are used to performing together so it wasn’t too hard.

The musical talents, guitars, and drums of strange and peculiar shapes and sizes, were provided by Roger Stevens, John Dougherty, Ed Boxall and Brian Moses – and we all sang, but me, Zaro Weil and Laura Mucha were the backing group, too. Thank you Roy Johnson of Troika for arranging it!

Apparently there were murmurings that they wanted us back next year. I’m not complaining, I’d do it every night if I could, so if anyone wants to employ a poet band, let us know!

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Day 25th Anniversary!

Yes, National Poetry Day has been running for 25 years and this year there will be big, ongoing celebrations!

The National Poetry Day Ambassadors have received their National Poetry Day badges, and there’s no prizes for guessing which one I like best. I’ll give you a clue, it’s yellow and has a dog on.

National Poetry Day will be Thursday, October 3rd, and theme this year is Truth. 

If you have any poetry events happening in relation to NPD, you can post them on the NPD website for free. You can also send them your truth poems!

You can also send me your truth poems, and they might be posted here!

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; Z is for Zaro Weil

Zaro Weil lives in an old farm on a little hill in southern France, and her poetry for children has appeared in many anthologies. She has written several books including a book of children’s poetry, Mud, Moon and Me, published by Orchard Books, UK and Houghton Mifflin, USA, which can be bought here. Her book Firecrackers, Troika, illustrated by Jo Riddellcan be bought here, and her lovely new book, Cherry Moon is just out and available here! Zaro’s website is here.

Zaro has sent this wonderful poem for the poetry feast:

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HIDE AND SEEK

I decided to play a game with quiet

hide and seek

my turn

I slipped into the woods

looking for quiet

instead

a cacophony of forest-crackle

a hullabaloo of beast-babel

sprang towards me while

a tweedledum of pandemonium

circled above

it was a free-for-all

and even the sun

jangled copper

between the leaves

so much for the forest

I went to the sea

searching for quiet

but the waves trumpeted

a rumbling ruckus

a crash of crinkle-crests while

squarking gulls sky-dived into

wind-trembled sea and

tiny sea things zig-zagged

underfoot as a medley of

fat green seaweed

slapped the sand

non-stop non-stop

so much for the sea

but then I turned

and quiet tagged me

I stopped

forest stopped

sea stopped

I found quiet

it must have been hiding

the whole time

inside my words

inside of me

.

© Zaro Weil

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If you would like to blog hop to another A-Z Challenge post please follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change Blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; Y is for Bernard Young

Bernard Young is an experienced professional poet and performer who leads writing workshops for children and adults. Bernard’s poems have been broadcast on local and national radio and feature in numerous anthologies of poetry for young readers. His speciality is primary school age. Here is a link to his new book, What are you Like? And here is a link to his website.

And here is lovely poem Bernard sent for the Poetry Feast:

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Best Friends

 

Would a best friend

Eat your last sweet

Talk about you behind your back

Have a party and not ask you?

 

Mine did.

 

Would a best friend

Borrow your bike without telling you

Deliberately forget your birthday

Avoid you whenever possible?

 

Mine did.

 

Would a best friend

Turn up on your bike

Give you a whole packet of your favourite sweets

Look you in the eye?

 

Mine did.

 

Would a best friend say

Sorry I talked about you behind your back

Sorry I had a party and didn’t invite you

Sorry I deliberately forgot your birthday

– I thought you’d fallen out with me?

 

Mine did.

 

And would a best friend say, simply,

Never mind

That’s OK?

 

I did

.

© Bernard Young

 

If you would like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge, please follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change Blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

X is for XXX by Colin West

Colin West studied Graphic Design and Illustration at various art colleges. His first book, a slim volume of nonsense verse, Out of the Blue from Nowhere, was published by Dennis Dobson in 1976 – I am the proud owner of one of these! He went on to write and illustrate some sixty children’s books, some of which were favourites with my children, and now lives in Sussex and writes and draws for his own amusement, mainly.

However, he has published two rather wonderful recent collections The Funniest Stuff and Bonkers Ballads, both of which are stuffed with Colin’s delightfully witty poems and charming, colour illustrations.

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Here is the fun poem and wonderful illustration Colin sent for the poetry feast:

 

XXX

.

© Colin West

If you’d like to blog hop to another A-Z Challenge, then follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change Blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; W is for Celia Warren

Celia Warren has been writing poetry ever since she learned to read, and has been published in hundreds of children’s anthologies. Her collections are all for young children and many of her poems and stories form infant readers in mainstream school reading programmes all over the world. She has compiled two anthologies: The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife Poems illustrated by a range of fabulous artists, (Bloomsbury) and A Time to Speak and a Time to Listen (Schofield and Sims). Celia loves reading and performing her poems to anyone who’ll listen! Her latest book, Don’t Poke a Worm till it Wriggles, illustrated by Sean Longcroft, A&C Black, is all about worms! Celia’s website is here.

Celia has sent two of her wonderful illustrations to go with her lovely poem!

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If you would like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge, please follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change Blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; V is for Vexing Rex by Joshua Seigal

Joshua Seigal is a London-based poet, performer and educator. He has three published books and has performed all over the world. He has held residencies at numerous schools, is an official National Poetry Day Ambassador, and was shortlisted for a National Literacy Trust Award and the Laugh Out Loud Award. Joshua works with children of all ages and abilities, as well as running training days for teachers and doing comedy and spoken word performances for grown ups. His website is here and his book, I don’t Like Poetry, illustrated by Chris Piascik, here. His latest book is I Bet I Can Make You Laugh, published by Bloomsbury and illustrated by Tim Wesson.

The poem Joshua has sent appears in I Bet I Can Make You Laugh (I bet he can!):

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VexinRex

If you want to annoy my dog,

(and I mean really, really annoy him),

don’t bother taking his dinner.

He’ll look bemused, maybe let out

a whine, but he can handle it.

Nor is it any use to snatch his toy,

or to cut short his walk –

he’ll get confused, maybe sulk

for a time, but he’ll face it with patience.

No, if you want to really, really annoy my dog

just blow

           very softly

                  on his head.

He’ll bristle and yelp

and bat the breeze with his paws…

He’ll snuffle and yap

and snap the gust with his jaws…

If you want to really, really annoy my dog,

a tiny little puff or air

will get him as growly

as a grizzly bear.

And it isn’t just my dog:

if you want to really, really annoy my dad

just do what I do

and climb in bed with him,

on a Sunday morning,

and blow

           very gently

                  in his face…

.

© Joshua Seigal

 

If you would like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge post then follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change Blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge, U is for Useless by A F Harrold

A.F. Harrold is a children’s author and children’s poet who writes and performs for both grown ups and children. He can often be found in school halls pointing at children and sharing his poems, and even more often in the bath, thinking them up… His latest wonderful poetry book is Things You Find in a Poet’s Beard, illustrated by Chris Riddell in my favourite colour.  A. F.’s Website is here and Twitter here.

Here is the brilliant poem beginning with ‘U’ that A. F. has sent for the Poetry Feast:

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Useless

 

I feel as useful as a kipper that’s been kept in a kettle,

as useful as a conker in your socks,

as useful as a top hat that’s been stuffed with orange jelly

and then balanced on the head of a fox.

 

I feel as useful as an ostrich on the number eighteen bus,

as useful as a desert in a pool,

as useful as a sausage that you’ve asked for assistance

with the homework that you’ve brought home from school.

 

I feel as useful as a cabbage that’s learnt to play cricket,

as useful as a llama on the moon,

as useful as a trifle that is sitting on the sideboard

saying ‘Eat me’ out of sight of a spoon.

 

But enough about me,

let’s talk about you…

.

© A.F. Harrold

 

If you would like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge post, please follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

 

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; T is for Nick Toczek

Nick Toczek is a British writer and performer who has had more than forty books and dozens of recording published. As well as being a poet, he’s a rock journalist (for the magazine RnR), a radio broadcaster with his own week show (on BCB Radio), a professional magician and puppeteer, and an authority on the activities of racist groups in the UK and in America. His Authors Abroad page is here, and his brand new website is here.

Here is the lovely poem Nick has sent for the Poetry Feast:

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GROWING

 

A branch begins as a twig.

A piglet becomes a pig.

When I’m older, I’ll be big,

Biggerty, biggerty, big.

 

An elephant starts off small,

And little bricks build a wall.

When I’m older, I’ll be tall,

Tiggerty, tiggerty, tall.

 

Maybe a baby just cries

Yet learns with its ears and eyes.

When I’m older, I’ll be wise,

Wiggerty, wiggerty, wise.

 

Our legs and our arms get long,

Grow muscles where they belong.

When I’m older, I’ll be strong,

Striggerty, striggerty, strong.

 

And anyone can be cruel,

A bully, a beast, a fool.

When I’m older, I’ll be cool,

Kiggerty, kiggerty, cool.

 

© Nick Toczek

 

If you would like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge poet then follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change Blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit