Posted in National Poetry Day 2020

National Poetry Day Video of a Thomas Hardy Poem

Hello again! It is still National Poetry Day –  if you haven’t seen the video of the poem I wrote especially for NPD, as I am a National Poetry Day Ambassador – see the entry before this on the home page!

I was also asked to choose a poem to go with mine, and this is the one I picked. The magical The Fallow Deer at the Lonely House, by Thomas Hardy.

Posted in National Poetry Day 2020

It’s National Poetry Day! Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Here is the first of my NPD poems – this one was especially written for NPD 2020 on the theme of Vision.  It’s called Who Knows, and it is about an owl.

You can find this poem and many more on National Poetry Day’s website which also has downloadable educational resources. Print out all you like and stick them in your window or on your wall. My poem is there! And it’s not too late to share their toolkits, posters and lesson plans. To #ShareAPoem, take a picture for Twitter or Insta, tag #NationalPoetryDay.

Have a lovely National Poetry Day!

Posted in National Poetry Day 2020

National Poetry Day One Day to GO!!!

Yes, it’s tomorrow. Poets everywhere are planning, posting, poeting and preparing for the BIGGEST and BEST poetry party all on one day. You can take part!

National Poetry Day’s website has downloadable educational resources that are amazingly popular. And it’s not too late to share their toolkits, posters and lesson plans. They have cleared permissions on loads of poems on the theme of Vision: print out all you like and stick them in your window or on your wall. One is by me! To #ShareAPoem, take a picture for Twitter or Insta, tag #NationalPoetryDay. They’ll be looking!

Here is my poem for today – it’s called Blackbird. Mainly because it’s about a blackbird.

Posted in National Poetry Day 2020

National Poetry Day is Nigh!

The day of deliciousness for poets is nigh and getting nigher. National Poetry Day’s theme this year is vision, and I have a few poetry films to share up until the day.

In fact they are all bird poems.

Today it is the Curlew  – the curlew is a rare and getting rarer sight, in fact it has just been declared endangered in the UK.

Hope you enjoyed that.

The National Poetry Day website is FULL of poets and poems and lesson plans and posters and general poetic delightfulness if you’d like to visit and find something to see  or use on National Poetry Day.

Posted in Lola

Lola is Unwell

Many of you know I have an assistance dog called Lola. She alerts me because I have sudden and severe low blood sugars with no warning signs – she lets me know before this happens and in time to take glucose and recover with no need for ambulances and unconsciousness! She is a joyful, happy little dog who loves her friends, dogs and humans alike.

She has accompanied me everywhere for 10 years and been a poet mascot, and she has been to all sorts of wonderful places and even met Daniel Radcliffe once!

Sadly she has been very ill recently, and is still in hospital. She has used up her insurance and needs more treatment. This is her story and if you have any pennies they will be very gratefully received. 

LolaGoFundMe

Posted in Poetry Review

Riding a Lion, by Coral Rumble: Book Review

Published TODAY! Slip between the pages of this book and relax into Coral’s warm, vibrant, exciting, world of poems – it seems a poem about practically everything, in every poetic style, lies within.

I particularly enjoyed her animal poems (of course) but there is much to entertain, fascinate and make you laugh in this book.

Coral is an excellent poet and her exacting word choices explode little bombs of enjoyable recognition.

Here’s a couple I enjoyed – firstly, this lovely fox poem:

And lastly, a humorous one:

Riding a Lion is out TODAY, has lovely illustrations by Emily Ford, is published by, and can be bought at Troika Books, as well as all on Hive and any books shop.

FIVE fizzing stars and a big bang of recommendation!

Posted in Poetry Review

The Girl Who Became a Tree, by Joseph Coelho, Book Review

Out today, The Girl Who Became a Tree is an extraordinary verse novel about Daphne, a young teen whose father has died. Daphne disappears into her phone screen, library and imagination – shutting out the world, she avoids her sorrow by becoming the tree for which she was named by her father (from the legend of Daphne, who turns into a tree to avoid the attentions of Apollo). Stricken by her loss and inability to leave the river of her father’s comfort, the book interweaves the legendary Daphne with Daphne today’s slow return from the loneliness of grief with the solace of nature, and books.

The illustrations by Kate Millner are fantastic and are an excellent foil to the haunting text – which has been told in a variety of poetic forms.

Excellent.

The Girl Who Became a Tree by Joseph Coelho is published by Otter-Barry and is available here.

Young Writers Poetry Competition!

Young Writers have a new poetry competition, I Have a Dream, words to change the world.

Young people aged 11-18 are invited to write a poem inspired by their hopes, dreams and visions for the future.

Who inspires you? What are your hopes and aspirations for the future? You can write a poem in any style sharing your visions for a better world.

All details here.

Posted in Poetry News

National Poetry Day 2020!

The brilliant thing about National Poetry Day is that it does not need to be covid-cancelled. Poetry lends itself wonderfully to showcasing using an array of online opportunities, and the day will go ahead on October 1st.

This year’s theme is vision – my poem on the subject is below, also available on the NPD website.  I’m very proud to be a National Poetry Day ambassador, and you can see all the ambassadors here with their poems for National Poetry Day, too! 

If you have a poetry event planned for any age, you can add it to the National Poetry Day events calendar.

Don’t forget you can book a poet to do a Zoom or Skype or other online event for National Poetry Day – including me!

Long-Eared Owl

 

Who Knows?

 

Who knows what the owl sees
with its yellow planet eyes
shuffling moonlight in its feathers
under aubergine night-skies

who knows where the owl sees
hiding in the clambering trees
interrogating movements
from the doorways of the leaves

who knows how the owl sees
as the scrambled ground protects
the taps of tiny heartbeats
where evening dark collects

who knows who the owl’s seen
when its vision paths its flight
passing like an exhaled breath
until lost inside the night

 

© Liz Brownlee

 

Posted in Poetry Review

Dear Ugly Sisters, by Laura Mucha: Book Review

I knew I’d love Dear Ugly Sisters as much as I love Laura herself – she’s a BIG bundle of energy, thoughtfulness and fun, and so of course is her book.

Here are just two of the spreads to show her range, first, the title poem:

And a more wistful one:

As a fabulous extra, there is a code to a free accompanying audio book, which is is great bonus!

I predict this book will give laughter, thoughts, questions, comfort – and sow the seeds of a love for poetry in any young person who reads it or has it read to them. A must for every library, home and school.

BIG recommendation, 5 SPARKLY, FIZZING stars for young people aged 7-11.

Dear Ugly Sisters is published by Otter-Barry Books and is beautifully illustrated by Tania Rex.

Posted in Poetry Review

Belonging Street by Mandy Coe, Book Review

 

YOU ARE HERE

 

In the car park is a map of your town.

Everyone presses their finger

on the red dot that says,

You are here.

 

And here you are!

Inside your shoes, inside your skin

and beneath your hair,

on freshly cut grass, a double-decker bus,

or in bed, slipping into a dream.

 

In a map of your day

you are here, bookmarking

this page, passing ginger biscuits,

dodging umbrellas

as you dash through the rain.

 

You are blowing on a hot chip

and laughing with a friend.

Breathe in the smell of vinegar

and place your finger on this moment.

 

You are here, you are here!

 

© Mandy Coe

 

This is a gentle, relatable book full of humour and the wonder of being alive – to quote another of the poems ‘wrap it around you to keep you warm’.

There are many lovely, finely observed poems in here to share between parents and children, and poems that can be used as models for children’s own writing in school.

5 Stars – highly recommended for young people 5-9!

Belonging Street is published by Otter-Barry Books and is full of playful, detailed illustrations by Mandy Coe herself.

Posted in Poetry Competition

Covid19 Competition News!

This morning I received this lovely photo of Summer Janssens, one of our Covid19 poetry competition winners, with her prize sent by Macmillan books. Well done, again, Summer! Summer wants to be a poet or author when she grows up, and is clearly well on the path!

Posted in Children's Poetry Magazine

the caterpillar Magazine

Do you enjoy children’s poetry, do you know children who love beautifully illustrated stories and poems? Perhaps you know someone with children or grandchildren? Do let them know about the caterpillar magazine.

It’s a magazine of poems, stories and beautiful illustrations, by grown-ups for children. Created for young people between the ages of 7 and 11(ish), adults are bound to like it too. It is published four times a year, in March, June, September and December and is the sort of magazine I would have devoured as a young person.

Some children’s reviews:

Jemima, 11: Jemima thinks the caterpillar magazine has made her more interested in poetry. “I would describe it as colourful, funny, interesting, likeable and accessible/understandable to all.”

Carole Bromley asked Matilda (10), Martha (8) and Mabel (5) what they thought of the caterpillar, and all said they find it exciting to get the magazine in the post, and that they like looking at the illustrations. They like to keep it and reread it. When asked which poems they liked best, Matilda said rhyming poems, Martha said haiku and Mabel said sad poems! They all like writing poems.

There is no doubt that children’s ears are waiting and wanting to hear rhythm, music, new words, new ideas, absurdity, language play and knowledge introduced in a humorous way. Their imaginations crave new worlds with pathways to recognise and help them negotiate this one. They need to read to gain tools to be able to write. the caterpillar magazine is there to supply all this and more.

You can read more about it here.