Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; C is for Dom Conlon

Letter C in the Poetry Feast belongs to Dom Conlon. Dom launched onto the children’s poetry scene with Astro Poetica, illustrated by Jools Wilson, a lovely collection of poems inspired by space and praised by Nicola Davies, Jon Culshaw, George Szirtes and many more. Since then he has been published in magazines and anthologies whilst performing and teaching in schools and libraries around the North West. Dom’s work can be read here.

Here is the lovely poem Dom has sent:

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Choose to be

 

You get to choose the you you are
so choose this school and you’ll go far.
You’ll get the time, you’ll get support
you’ll get to build a deep rapport

with people who’ll be friends for life
who’ll stick beside you through the strife,
who’ll listen, help and be your light
but only if you choose what’s right.

So choose the pen and not the sword,
choose to work and not get bored.
choose to be the one who said
I’m not afraid to be well-read.

Choose to sit and choose to learn
to raise your hand and take your turn
at being right (or being wrong)
because you know before too long

you’ll be the best that you can be
the kid who’ll be the one to see
that working hard beyond the bell
is an education wishing-well.

It grants a future, then guess what?
It grants you more than just one shot
at teaching maths or fixing taps
or dancing til the whole world claps,

at growing into something new
a brighter, better, braver YOU,
the sort of person who looks up
who always sees a half-full cup,

who stills joins in with every game
and still has dreams of wealth and fame
who sees a school as good, not bad
nor a jail term to be had

until you’re old enough to leave.
So choose to trust and to believe
that everything which you put in
will one-day count and be a win

even if it’s late at night
by your child’s bedside light
as they look to you and ask you why
you chose to give this school a try.

 

© Dom Conlon

 

If you would like to blog hop to the next AtoZ 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

# A to Z Challenge, B is for Liz Brownlee

Sue Hardy-Dawson, Me and Roger Stevens after our NSTBA win

The second post is me, because I handily have a surname beginning with B. I’m a children’s poet and National Poetry Day Ambassador, a role I take very seriously.

I have my own website, but run this website to showcase all children’s poets and the wonderful work they do to celebrate children’s poetry and everything it encourages, such as empathy, understanding, reading ability, education, etc.

I run the Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter feed, as well as my own, and also the Twitter account for KidsPoets4Climate, supporting our children in their fight for their climate. If you have any suitable sustainability poems, do send them for tweeting!  There is also my blog called BetheChange about sustainability for children.

In August, a book of sustainability poems I have written with Matt Goodfellow (link to Matt’s article, What Poetry Offers in the Classroom) and Roger Stevens (link to Roger’s article, Three Simple Steps to Perk Up Your Poems) will be out, called Be the Change – we are all very excited about it!

I also love going into schools, to libraries, performances and literary festivals with all the books’ subjects, but my favourites are animals, rainforest and sustainability readings and workshops.

You might think I’d have no time for writing, but I love writing for children; my books are Animal Magic, Poems on a Disappearing World (about endangered animals), Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls (about some of the countless women who have shaped history, until now), The Same Inside, Poems about Empathy and Friendship (what it says on the tin), Apes to Zebras, an A-Z of Shape Poems, a book of animal poems in the shapes of the animals they are about, and out on August 8, Be the Change, Poems About Sustainability

Reaching the Stars won the prestigious NSTBA for poetry in 2017 and Apes to Zebras won it in 2018, with The Same Inside being shortlisted.

Here is my poem for the poetry feast:

Pelican

And here’s the poem written down!

 

Pelican

.

A pelican scoops up to consume

its seafood soup with its own spoon;

the spoon unfolds into a dish,

and soon as it is full of fish

which wiggle-waggle round inside,

the pelican swallows, goggle-eyed.

Oh, what efficient use of space

to keep a kitchen in its face!

.

© Liz Brownlee, poem and shape.

 

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

Liz Brownlee

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; A is for Poet Moira Andrew

Illustration from Wish a Wish, written by Moira Andrew and illustrated by Ana Popescu

Welcome to the A to Z challenge featuring a feast of poets and poems for every day except Sundays in April!

Letter A in the Poetry Feast this month is filled by Moira Andrew.

Moira was born and educated in Scotland. She taught in primary school, eventually becoming a Head Teacher of a primary in Bristol. During the 80s, 90s and into the 2000s she wrote stories and poetry for children. Her most recent poetry collection is Wish a Wishillustrated by Anna PopescuPoetry Space, 2016. Moira’s brilliant new website is here.

Moira has sent one of the poems from Wish a Wish!

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Portrait of a Dragon

 

If I were an artist

I’d paint the portrait

of a dragon.

 

To do a proper job

I’d borrow colours

from the world.

 

For his back I’d

need a mountain range,

all misty blue.

 

For spikes I’d use

dark fir trees pointing

to the sky

 

For overlapping scales

I’d squeeze dye from

bright anemones.

 

I’d gild his claws

like shining swords

with starlight.

 

His tail would be

a river, silver

in the sun.

 

For his head, the

secret green of forests

and deep seas.

 

And his eyes would

glow like embers in

a tinker’s fire.

 

But I’d keep the best

till last.  For his

hot breath

 

I’d use all reds and

yellows – crocus, saffron,

peony, poppy,

 

geranium, cyclamen, rose –

and fierce orange flames

from a marigold.

.

© Moira Andrew

 

To blog hop to another post in the challenge, click here.

Liz Brownlee

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 Poetry News

AtoZ Challenge Theme Reveal!

Hello! Regular readers will already know I’m Liz Brownlee, poet, National Poetry Day Ambassador, blogger and tweeter and supporter of all things poetry and children’s poetry related in particular. This April I will be blogging a poetry feast from some of the best poets and children’s poets.

Every day (except Sunday) there will be a different poet featured, and each poet featured has kindly sent a poem for you to enjoy.

And 26 wonderful poems have been sent!

The challenge starts on Monday, April 1st (no, it’s not a joke!) and finishes on Tuesday, April 30th.

If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, I am @lizpoet. I also Tweet the Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter account, @kidspoetsummit, and an account set up to support our children’s fight for their climate @poets4climate.

Poetry Roundabout is my website for all things related to children’s poetry. My own website is LizBrownleePoet. I also run BetheChange, a new website about sustainability poems for children.

The book above, Apes to Zebras, is my latest book published, shape poems written by me, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens. And that’s me in the corner, with my medical assistance dog, Lola!

I’m looking forward to seeing you all during the month.

Posted in World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day!

It’s World Poetry Day! What a fabulous thing as the day turns round the world to know that thousands and thousands of people will be Tweeting, blogging, reading, writing and trying poetic words on their palate!

Poetry has been said to be like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. But most people turn to poetry on occasions of emotional highs and lows, to express those thoughts with words that are hard to find at those times.

Here’s my fun marmite poem to celebrate the fact that we are all different, but all have a place, on World Poetry Day, and any other day.

.

My Mite

.

I like my mite,

my mite’s my mate,

it gets my vote

and not my hate,

I like my mite,

but others won’t,

you either like it

or you don’t.

.

© Liz Brownlee

.

Mites help decompose leaf litter in the woods. Without decomposers to break down all the dead material such as leaves, twigs, animal bodies, and waste materials that animals produce (poo!), there would be no soil. Without soil, nothing would grow. We would starve as there would be nothing to grow our food in, there would be no grass-eating creatures such as cattle, there would be no birds or anything that lives in trees because there would be nothing for trees to live in and no trees, no insects, no flowers… in fact the whole web of life would break down. Decomposers are creatures like bacteria, mites, earwigs, beetles, slugs, wasps, flies, and very importantly, worms.

 

Image by Heidi Elliot on Flikr by CC License.

Posted in Poems Needed!

What Are You Doing Today? #kids4climate

Image: Woodleywonderworks, Flikr, CC license.

Today our kids are striking to protest our inaction to address the state of the planet. I’m Tweeting today from @poets4climate and welcome any poems you have about endangered animals, poverty, hunger, gender inequality, importance of education, sustainability, new technology, water, desertifcation, tree felling, palm oil… anything to do with climate sustainability, for TODAY, to show our support.

Posted in Poet's Piece

Starting with Firsts, by Cheryl Moskowitz

Cheryl Moskowitz writes for adults and children. She loves going in to schools to get pupils, teachers and parents writing their own poems – a film of her poetry residency at Highfield Primary School is wonderful viewing on her website. Her popular collection of poems about home, school and everything in between, Can It Be About Me?, illustrated by Ros Asquith, is published by Janetta Otter-Barry Books. Her website is here.

Here is a wonderful piece by Cheryl about poetic inspiration.

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Starting with Firsts

 

Remember all your firsts? Of course you do. First taste of a mushroom, first sight of snow, first pet dying, first hold of a new born baby, first poem you ever wrote? Maybe you don’t remember these things exactly, but there is something about the first time we do or experience anything that goes inside us and stays there, not just as a memory but as a feeling, a sense, a quality, a je ne sais quois. That is because our first encounter with people, things, places and experiences is usually more heightened than similar ones that come after.  These internalised moments, these ‘firsts’ let’s call them, are what shape us from the very moment we’re born and keep on shaping us – they are also what make up the well that poets draw from when writing their poetry.

Life deals its fair share of firsts, some will be awe-inspiring (the first time we see a rainbow) some wonderful (the first time you win a prize) and some desperately sad and difficult (the first time you have to move away from a home, a school or a country that you love). In truth, almost every day, each of us will experience at least one new thing we have never experienced before. Even if it is only the fact of being one day older than the day before.

Not every first experience will inspire a poem but the ones that really matter, might. I would encourage any budding poet to take note of those moments as they happen. Write down what you notice, and how it makes you feel, even if the feelings are a little bit sad. I love this poem by the Canadian poet Alden Nowlan, in which a father expresses his pride at how his son has managed his first real experience of loss by writing a poem.

 

JOHNNY’S POEM

 

Look! I’ve written a poem!

Johnny says

and hands it to me

and it’s about

his grandfather dying

last summer, and me

in the hospital

and I want to cry,

don’t you see, because it doesn’t matter

if it’s not very good:

what matters is he knows

and it was me, his father, who told him

you write poems about what

you feel deepest and hardest.

 

© Alden Nowlan

 

Article © Cheryl Mokowitz

 

Posted in International Womens Day

A Poem from Jan Dean on International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

Jan Dean’s latests books are The Penguin in Lost Property, illustrated by Nathan Reed (written with Roger Stevens) and Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, illustrated by Steph Says Hello, and written with Liz Brownlee and Michaela Morgan.

This is one of her wonderful poems from Reaching the Stars.

.

Advice to Rapunzel

 

Sort yourself out.

Don’t hang around

for someone else to rescue you.

 

Give yourself a trim.

Pick up the scissors,

it’s not rocket science.

 

Make a rope ladder.

Twist one. Plait one. Improvise.

Use your head for more than growing hair.

 

Escape.

Secure the ladder

Shimmy down and leg it.

 

Don’t look back.

Get clean away

Vamoose.  Stay loose.

 

And learn your lesson.

Staying put beneath a tyrant’s thumb

is dumb.

.

© Jan Dean

 

Reaching the stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, can be bought here.

Posted in World Book Day

Happy World Book Day!

Happy World Book Day – here is a tiger poem to celebrate!

Tiger

You who
are meant as
part of
the forest,
marked in each
sleek stretch
of soft-pawed pace
bold black
like the living trees
against the sun,
no matter
how deep
you go,
as each tree falls,
your stripes,
your bones
will also.

 

© Poem and Illustration, Liz Brownlee

Posted in Poetry News

It’s Book Week!

A Chinese dragon on a wall at the Haikou Yazhou Gu Cheng, Hainan, China, by Anna Frodesiak.

I started off Book Week in St Cuthbert’s Infant School Wells, where we had great fun writing some dragon poems.

Here’s a dragon poem from me, for Tuesday of Book Week!

.

How to paint a Chinese dragon

.

Use a bamboo brush

held lightly in three fingers

at the back

 

Flow the movement

from your shoulder; use Chinese ink

in red or black

 

Paint a twining

river for the body of your dragon

needs to wind

 

Then its head, snake

teeth bared, and its crest on the wind

waving behind

 

Sweep whiskers

like antennae, add a demon eye

round and wide

 

Armour your dragon;

curve overlapping scales along

its side

 

Hook eagle

claws on tiger paws, make it dance

upon the air

 

Paint a pearl

within its mouth, so its magic

takes it where

 

it can breathe

in clouds, conjure wind and rain

in sky

 

Give your

dragon life, take your brush, and

dot its eye.

.

© Liz Brownlee

.

In Chinese, 画龙点睛 (huà lóng diǎn jīng) “Paint the dragon, dot the eyes” is a saying meaning adding the finishing touch to something.

I hope you all have a fabulous Book Week, and enjoy every minute of it!

 

Posted in Lego Poem

Teachers, Young Poets; Lego Poem Challenge

Here is my quick spider poem and Lego spider. Send me a Lego animal photo and I might write your animal a poem! If you send me a Lego animal poem you might see it here, too!

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Spidery Ways

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I’m a red-footed spider

with spidery fangs,

spider means spinner –

from spun silk I hang.

 

Related to scorpions

I’ve a poisonous bite,

but it’s not true I crawl

into mouths in the night.

 

Only females spin webs

and lay spiderling eggs,

and I taste and I hear

with the hairs on my legs.

 

I know that my scuttle

is scary to some

but I run in small bursts

for I’ve only one lung.

 

I have multiple eyes

but don’t have good sight

my eyes just spot motion

or darkness and light,

 

but my cousins, the hunters,

when hunting a snack

can see frontwards and sideways

and right round their back.

 

Despite being poisonous

I’m harmless, it’s true

for my jaws are too tiny

to take bites of you!

.

© Liz Brownlee

The 2019 New Poets Prize, for Poets 17-24

The Poetry Business has announced that the 4th New Poets Prize is now open for entry, this year judged by Mary Jean Chan.

The New Poets Prize is a short collection competition for writers between the ages of 17 and 24 (inclusive). This prize is run alongside the renowned International Book & Pamphlet Competition organised by The Poetry Business, which has now been established for 33 years.

You have five weeks to get your entries in! Details here.

Young Poets Network Tree Poetry Competition!

This poetry challenge by The Poetry Society’s Young Poets’ Network is for young poets everywhere to write about trees! It is for writers aged up to 25 based anywhere in the world. The deadline is midnight, Sunday 20 January 2019. So you need to get writing now – you can send as many poems as you like, written down, or a recording as a video, or as an audio file.

Selected poets will be published on Young Poets Network and sent an exclusive Young Poets Network notebook as well as poetry goodies. The Woodland Trust have also kindly contributed a special print of Robert Macfarlane’s poem ‘Heartwood’ for the top three winners.

There are 7 prompts on the website, details here.