Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

C is for Children’s Poet Dom Conlon, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Dom Conlon

Dom Conlon launched onto the children’s poetry scene with Astro Poetica, illustrated by Jools Wilson, a 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. He’s a regular guest on BBC Radio Lancashire where his poetry covers everything from the universe to grief. Dom’s work can be read here.

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Here is one of Dom’s great poems:

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Red Bike
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Where is my red bike?
The rag bone man took it to sell for his supper.

Who bought its shine?
The rain took that to polish its tears .

Who bought its bell?
Time took that to mark out its years.

Who bought its tyres?
The wind took those to carry its clouds.

Who bought its seat?
The mountain took that to help the sky rest.

Who bought its chain?
The river took that to pull all its fish.Who bought its journeys?
I kept those for when you no longer visit.
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© Dom Conlon
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Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

C is for Children’s Poet Andrew Collett, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Andrew Collett

Andrew Collet started writing in c1979  as a choirboy, in a bus shelter, waiting to return home from Newcastle Cathedral. He became a teacher;  then over ten years visited hundred of schools and festivals as a children’s performance poet. He remains published in over a hundred anthologies and his fiction and poetry have been included in the Oxford Reading Tree, Oxford Literacy Web and many other schemes. He also had five collections of his own work published. His material has  been broadcast and used by exam boards across the world. Andrew has more recently been forced to take a step back from writing. However, he still loves to party with the poets. Three of Andrew’s can be found in the ever popular The Works, Ed. Paul Cookson, Macmillan.

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Here is one of Andrew’s lovely poems:

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Autumn Leaves

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Around the playground

autumn leaves

parachute down

from half-dressed trees,

silently seeking

hiding places,

with their wrinkled,

yellow faces,

looking for

a rescue boat;

a classroom door;

a child’s coat,

trying to steal

a minute more

until lost for good

on the playground floor.

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© Andrew Collett

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You can hear more from this poet featured on the blog on Twitter, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit

 

 

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

C is for Children’s Poet Mandy Coe, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Mandy Coe

Mandy Coe is the author of seven books and winner of a number of awards. Her work has featured on BBC radio and television programmes such as CBeebies, Woman’s Hour and Poetry Please. Mandy regularly visits schools through author’s visits and her work on teaching poetry has been published by the TES, Bloomsbury and Cambridge University Press. Her poems can be heard on Talking Poetry, BBC Schools Radio and the Poetry Archive. Her children’s collection, If You Could See Laughter  (Salt 2010) was Highly Commended by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award. Mandy’s website is here

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Here is a poem from Mandy:

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Cancan

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When I dance

my blood runs like a river can,

my feet fly like the birds can,

my heart beats like a drum can.

Because when I dance I can,

can do anything

when I dance.

 

Flying over rooftops

I see my town below me

where everybody knows me,

where all my problems throw me,

where heavy feet can slow me.

But nobody can, can stop me

when I dance.

 

My blood runs a race.

My feet fly in space.

My heart beats the pace.

Because when I dance I can,

can do anything

when I dance.

 

© Mandy Coe (From Michael Rosen’s A-Z, The Best Children’s Poems from Agard to Zephaniah, Puffin)

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Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

C is for Justin Coe, Children’s Poet and Performer, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Justin Coe

Justin Coe is a poet, writer and spoken word theatre creator, specialising in work for young audiences. He has taken his puckish poetics and heart-felt humour all over the world, including to a sitting room made entirely out of newspaper. He loves visiting schools and libraries, and has worked with young people across all age ranges and key stages since 2000, including a four year stint as a resident poet at a school for pupils with behavioural and emotional difficulties.. He’s the author of  The Dictionary of Dads illustrated by Steve Wells (Otter-Barry Books, published May 2017). His website is here.

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Justin sent several laugh out loud poems, but I liked this clever villanelle:

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The Great Fire of London (A Villanelle)

London burns! A fire on Pudding Lane!
By bucket and axe, we shall beat this blaze
Or see this fair city forever changed

Fariner, a baker, they say’s to blame
People flee their houses and call out, afraid
“London burns! A fire on Pudding Lane!”

With summer drought, wild winds, no cooling rains
These flames too fierce to tame could rage for days
And see this fair city forever changed

Send for the King’s men. The Thames boils with shame
After the disaster of last year’s plague
London burns! A fire on Pudding Lane!

Whole streets melt like they’re made of paper chains
Houses, churches, holy St Paul’s all razed
Now see this fair city forever changed

Call Christopher Wren. Build it up again
Stone by stone until you are all amazed
London burned! A fire on Pudding Lane!
But see this fair city forever changed…

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© Justin Coe

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

C is for Children’s Author and Poet Jane Clarke, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Jane Clarke

Jane Clarke is the author of many poems in anthologies of children’s poetry, and of over 80 books, some them rhyming. Jane’s been an archaeologist (in London) a history teacher (in Wales) and a library assistant (Antwerp International School, Belgium). It was there, at the age of 40, that she started to write for children. Jane loves animals of all shapes and sizes, country walks, and shell and fossil hunts (she has a big collection of fossil sharks teeth). She enjoys making visits to nursery schools and primary schools to share her love of poetry and stories, and lead creative writing workshops. Her latest rhyming book is I Saw Anaconda, illustrated by Emma Dodd. Jane’s website is here, and her FB page here.

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Jane is brilliant, especially with primary audiences. Here is one of her poems:

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Drop in the Ocean

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Sploshing around

in life’s restless sea,

there’s a drop in the ocean,

and that drop is me.

 

Rocked by the waves,

or washed up on the shore,

I’m a minuscule drop,

among zillions more.

 

I’m a drop in the ocean

of life’s restless sea.

But there’d be no ocean

without drops like me.

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© Jane Clarke

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

C is for Children’s Poet James Carter, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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James Carter

James Carter is an award-winning children’s poet, non-fiction and educational writer and INSET provider. He is the author of over 16 popular and best-selling poetry titles. James travels all over the UK and abroad with his guitar (that’s Keith) and melodica (that’s Steve) to give very lively poetry/music performances and workshops In the last 16 years he has visited over 1000 Primary / Prep schools and performed at various prestigious festivals including Cheltenham, Hay and Edinburgh.

His latest poetry/non-fiction picture book, Once Upon A Star (Little Tiger Press) was BooksforKeeps’ Book of the Week March 2018 and his collections of children’s poems include The World’s Greatest Space Cadet (Bloomsbury), Zim Zam Zoom! (Otter-Barry Books). James’ website is here.

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Here is a fabulous shape poem of his:

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© James Carter

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018, Poetry Competition

#AtoZChallenge Competition! #AtoZChallenge

Only a few more days left of the A-Z of Children’s Poets – have you spotted any imposter poets yet? Hidden in the A-Z of Best Children’s Poets there are FOUR poets who don’t exist – their names are the anagrams of real poets on the list, each of whom have written a false bio and a poem for their alter-ego!

Guess all four and you stand a chance of winning Apes to Zebras, An A-Z of Shape Poems by Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens. Have a read through of the entries and see who you think they are and then follow the instructions below! Good Luck!

At the end of the A-Z send your entries to poetryfunfactory @ gmail.com. Include your name, the answers, email address and U.K. address. The competition closes on 12 May. Judgement is final. The winner will be informed by email and the result posted here.

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

D is for Children’s Author and Poet John Dougherty, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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John Dougherty

John Dougherty is probably best known as the writer of around 30 books for children, (including the STINKBOMB & KETCHUP FACE series) but he has also been writing poems and songs since his teens. His first poetry collection, Dinosaurs & Dinner-Ladies, illustrated by Tom Morgan-Jones, was published in 2016, and the following year, his performance to an audience of 1,700 at the Hay Festival was live-streamed to 900 primary schools in Wales. John’s website is here.

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Here is a poem from John (written when he was 18!)

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Note to an English Teacher
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A poem
Is like a hamster
Small
(Unless it is a long poem
In which case
It is like a large hamster)
And lively
(Unless it is a dull poem
In which case
It is like a sleepy hamster).
Admittedly
A poem has no fur
But it has a life
A life of its own
Given it by the poet
(Who is to the poem
As God to a hamster)
And as a hamster 
Does what a hamster 
Was made for
So a poem
Does what it
Was written for.
Perhaps, though,
The most striking resemblance
Is that you can take a poem
Apart
As you dissect a hamster
To see how it works
But, once you have done so, you find
On putting it back together
That, like a hamster in the same situation
It does not work
Half as well
As it used to.
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© John Dougherty
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Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

D is for Rebecca Kai Dotlich, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Rebecca Kai Dotlich is a poet and picture book author who grew up in the Midwest exploring trails by the creek, reading comic books and building snow forts.  She attended Indiana University. She speaks and teaches about writing for children to literature conferences, with students, teachers and aspiring writers all over the US. Her books have been awarded many honours. Rebecca’s work appears in dozens of anthologies, magazines and textbooks. Her website is here.

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Here is one of Rebecca’s poems:

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A Circle of Sun

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I’m dancing.

I’m leaping.

I’m skipping about.

I gallop.

I grin.

I giggle.

I shout.

I’m Earth’s many colors.

I’m morning and night.

I’m honey on toast.

I’m funny.

I’m bright.

I’m swinging.

I’m singing.

I wiggle.

I run.

I’m a piece of the sky

in a circle of sun.

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© Rebecca Kai Dotlich (From LEMONADE SUN published by Boyds Mills Press)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

D is for Children’s Poet Jan Dean, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Jan Dean

Jan Dean is a British poet and a National Poetry Day Ambassador. She writes poems in a tucked away corner of the house, next to a rubber chicken handbag and Templeton the kiwi.  She has two full collections of poetry, three collaborations and is in over a hundred anthologies.  She visits schools to perform her poems and have an amazing time writing with classes. Her 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 (written with Liz Brownlee and Michaela Morgan). Her website is here.

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Here is one of Jan’s fabulous poems;

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I caught a grasshopper –

 

I caught a grasshopper –

heard its saw-tooth squeaky song

then let my eyes follow my ears

to the pale blade where it sat,

moved soft and slow

so that it wouldn’t know I was there,

cupped it in my hands

before its hairpin legs could flick

and bounce it far away.

 

I caught a grasshopper –

felt it tickle in my pink palms.

Gotcha.  Laughed.

But what can you do

with a grasshopper?

What use is a grasshopper

without the field,

without the sky?

How can it be a green scratch

against the blue

if you don’t let it leap?

 

So I opened the box of my fingers –

It wasn’t mine to keep.

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© Jan Dean (The Penguin in Lost Property by Jan Dean & Roger Stevens. Macmillan 2014)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

D is for Children’s Poet Shauna Darling Robertson, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Shauna Darling Robertson

Shauna Darling Robertson was born in Northumberland in 1968 and now lives in Somerset. She’s had lots of different jobs over the years but none have involved either jazz or maths (this sentence will make much more sense once you’ve read the poem below). Her poems for adults and children have been set to music, performed by actors, displayed on buses, turned into short films, made into comic art, hung on a pub wall and published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Shauna also makes artwork and loves working with other writers, artists, musicians and film-makers to explore and play with poetry in different ways. Her website is here.

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Here is one of Shauna’s great poems:

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HERE’S A LITTLE JAZZ NUMBER

 

Jools the jazz saxophonist

longs to be an accountant.

 

But belongs to a family

of maestro musicians.

‘No son of mine,’ moans Dad,

‘is going to be a number cruncher.’

‘Maths?’ hoots Mum. ‘Don’t

be daft, son. Music’s far more fun,’

as she tunes her harp

for the hundredth time

in half as many days

(Jools did the sums).

 

Jools is a family asset, a one-in-a-million

capital saxophonist. He’s also top-brass

on trumpet, keyboard, drums, bass,

but needs to face up

to his ache to deduct,

divide, round-down, subtract.

 

These are taxing times –

Jools tours the world

and drowns in applause

from adoring fans.

He watches them, bored,

and counts their hands.

 

Reckoned up, Jools has penned

ten thousand, seven hundred and forty four autographs,

appeared on

two hundred and twenty six television chat shows,

and blown his horn in

a trillion towns covering seventy-six per cent

of all credit-rated countries.

 

But here’s the rub –

 

jazz sax

isn’t filling his cup.

He just wants to sit at a desk,

adding up.

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© Shauna Darling Robertson

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

 

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

E is for American Children’s Poet and Author, Matt Forrest Esenwine #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Matt Forrest Esenwine

Matt Forrest Esenwine’s children’s poetry can be found in numerous anthologies including J. Patrick Lewis’ The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2015), Kenn Nesbitt’s One Minute till Bedtime (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016), and Lee Bennett Hopkins’ School People (Boyds Mills Press, 2018), as well as Highlights for Kids magazine. Meanwhile, his debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), has received much critical praise. Born just outside of Baltimore, MD, Matt lives in Warner, NH with his wife and kids. His website is here, blog here and Twitter here.

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Here is one of his lovely poems:

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“Apple Stealing”
Moonglow; steadfast, unwitting
cohort,
lights the autumn evening
orchard shadows,
while three devious figures skulk
quietly
between the Macs
and Cortlands.
Grey watercolor brushstrokes soften
the edges;
forms flow
one into the next;
our eyes unreliable,
texture,
distance,
perspective
give way to guesswork
and guile.
Crickets and night birds
knowingly
talk amongst themselves, voyeurs
in anticipation
watching us
from their posts;
fighting
our fears, we dismiss
guilt
ready our bags
plan our attack
and move in, deftly
selecting our prizes.
Suddenly, a rustling –
massive darkness looms
before us, behind, in front, beside
the trees;
bags dropped, we stop
cold, eyes straining, hearts
racing faster, faster
than stone-heavy legs.
Our criminality
laid bare, devil creature
raises its head in frightful judgment…
and bites
leisurely
into fruit.
Horses steal apples, too.
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© Matt Forrest Esenwine
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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

F is for Children’s Poet and Educator John Foster, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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John Foster

John Foster is an educational writer and children’s poet. As well as authoring twelve books of his own poetry including The Poetry Chest (OUP) and The Land of the Flibbertigibbets (Salt), he is the UK’s most prolific anthologist of children’s poetry, having compiled over 150 anthologies. His best selling books include Twinkle, Twinkle Chocolate Bar (OUP) and the poetry collections illustrated by Korky Paul, such as A Rocketful of Space Poems (OUP). He is a frequent visitor to schools, libraries and festivals as a poetry performer. His forthcoming books include Eggs with Legsillustrated by Korky Paul (Troika) and Don’t Stand Under a Flying Cow (King’s England Press). His website is here.

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I bet you couldn’t beat this brilliant poem by John Foster – but there’s no harm in trying!

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Beat That

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Our dog ran the London Marathon

in under one hour.

He raised over a million pounds

For the Dogs Benevolent Society.

Beat that! I said.

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Our cat went on Master Chef.

He cooked a dish of minced mice

With sparrow’s beak sauce,

He won first prize and is now head chef at The Ritz.

Beat that! He said.

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Our hamster swam the Channel,

Climbed the Eiffel Tower

And rowed across the Atlantic within 24 hours.

He was knighted by the Queen

And became Prime Minister.

Beat that! I said.

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Our rabbit helped Superman

beat off an attack of mutant aliens.

He became King of the World,

and lived until he was 900 years old.

Beat that! He said.

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Our giraffe fought King Kong,

Became Master of the Universe

And ruled for a million years.

Beat that! I said.

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A giraffe couldn’t do that, he said.

This one did, I said.

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© John Foster

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

G is for Children’s Poet Philip Gross, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Philip Gross

Philip Gross was born in Delabole, north Cornwall. Until recently he was Professor of Creative Writing at the University of South Wales. He is a Quaker, and that special relationship between words and silence informs much of what he writes; poetry for adults and for children, thought-provoking fiction for young people, schools opera libretti, radio short stories and plays. His children’s poetry includes The All-Nite Café, illustrated by Claire Fletcherwhich won the Signal Award, and Off Road To Everywhere, illustrated by Jonathan Gross, the winner of the CLiPPA (CLPE) poetry award 2011. Philip’s work enabling poetry in schools over thirty years has often been site-specific, working for many years with the National Trust in Cornwall on their Arts In Trust scheme. His new book, Dark Sky Park, Poems from the Edge of Nature illustrated by Jesse Hodgson (Otter-Barry) is available soon, here. His website is here.

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Here is one of Philip’s fabulous poems:

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Ways of Conquering Everest

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… at all, the first time, ever

… by the direct route, in winter

… solo

… without oxygen or breathing apparatus

… travelling light

 

… all of the above, but barefoot

… without toes

… in secret, like under the bedclothes,

with a torch, by night

 

… blindfold, trusting your guide

extremely

… without maps, or GPS, or compass

… without a clue

 

… very politely, in the English fashion: after

            you; no, after you

… or if even that feels awkward, then

forming an orderly queue

 

… the whole family, together

(under 4s come free)

… in the amateur way: did I climb that? Oh!

as if accidentally

 

… as a tourist, in appalling shorts,

only here for the view

… in swimming costumes or

… sky-streaking

(very quickly, and completely nude)

 

… by mountain bike

… by yak

… by yeti

… by hook or by crook

… by the skin of your teeth

 

… by an enormous catapult, fired by a hundred sherpas

from the valley miles beneath

 

… in high heels      .

… in fun-furry slippers

… in princessy pink

 

… by extreme patience, with global warming,

without ice (and sooner than you think)

 

… piggy-back

… wheelbarrow-fashion

… as a three-legged race

… abseiling from a hot air balloon

… skydiving from the edge of space

 

… by none of the above,

I mean, let’s not go to extremes

… when no one is looking,

not even yourself

… in your dreams

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© Philip Gross (from Dark Sky Park (Otter-Barry Books, 2018)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

G is for American Children’s Poet and Author Nikki Grimes, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

© Aaron Lemen

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Nikki Grimes

Born and raised in New York City, Nikki began composing verse at the age of six and has been writing ever since that time. A bestselling author and a prolific artist, Nikki has written many award-winning books for children and young adults. As an accomplished and widely anthologised poet of both children’s and adult verse, she has conducted poetry readings and lectures at international schools all over the world, while short-term mission projects have taken her to such trouble spots as Haiti. Nikki has been honoured with the NCTE Award for Poetry and the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award from Kent State University. In 2017, she was presented with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for her “substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” Her website is here.

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Here is one of Nikki’s poems – I think we have all suffered with this!:

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Lights out for Linda

Alliteration

 

I fumble with the heavy

flashlight as midnight chases

morning and the pages

multiply.  It’s past time I put

away this page-turner and

close my eyes, but

the hero is hanging from

a cliff, so I can’t quite quit until

the writer shows me what

happens next.

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© Nikki Grimes

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter