Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; L is for Laura Mucha

My L poet for the poetry feast is the bundle of fun, Laura Mucha. Laura worked as a face painter, studied flying trapeze, philosophy and psychology, and swam in Antarctica before becoming a lawyer. Now she spends most of her time playing with words. Her poetry has been published in books, magazines and newspapers around the world, and she’s performed on BBC Radio, at festivals and in schools. In 2016, she won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize. Laura’s latest book, however, is a non-fiction one about Love – Love Factually. You can read and listen to Laura’s poetry here.

This is the poem Laura sent for us to enjoy:

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MIRROR, MIRROR

 

I’ll show you if broccoli’s jammed in your teeth
or toothpaste is smeared on your lip,
your frowns won’t escape, every face that you make
I’ll reflect – don’t neglect me. Look quick!

Come by, say hello, and I’ll make sure you know
that there’s orange all over your chin,
your eyes need a wipe or your nose needs a blow,
and I’ll even remind you to grin.

So do pop along as I’d love to help out –
as long as you don’t come and gawk.
Just take a quick peek to ensure you look chic,
and then turn around, honey, and walk.

.

© Laura Mucha

 

If you’d like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge post, 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; J is for 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. His latest poetry/non-fiction picture book, Once Upon A Star (Little Tiger Press) was BooksforKeeps’ Book of the Week March 2018. His new book, Spaced Out, an anthology of space poems, edited with Brian Moses, is just out on May 9th! James’ website is here.

Here is the great shape poem James sent:

© James Carter

 

If you would like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge, 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; I is for I’m Igserious by Robert Schechter

Robert Schechter’s children’s poetry has appeared in Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, and various major anthologies. His website is here.

Here is his fun poem for the poetry feast beginning with the letter ‘I’:

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I’m Igserious

 

If “ignoble” means “not noble,”
it seems to me that “ig”
should make all words their opposites.
You’re “small”? No, you’re igbig!

For “empty,” why not say igfull?
For “dark,” why not iglight?
For “ugly,” try igbeautiful,
for “left,” why not igright?

I am not “dirty”! I’m igclean!
“Embarrassed”? No, igproud!
When I am hidden, I’m igseen.
When quiet, I’m igloud!

Someday when I have igshrunk up
(make that igshrunk igdown!)
I’ll be igpoor and igunknown
(the thought makes me igfrown).

The world will igignore me then,
since igno one will dig
the fun I’ve igdeprived them of
iglearning them to ig!

 

© Robert Schechter

 

If you would like to blog hop to another AtoZ Challenge, here is a 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; H is for Sue Hardy-Dawson

© Sue Hardy-Dawson

Sue Hardy-Dawson is a Yorkshire born poet, artist, and illustrator (she illustrated poet Matt Goodfellow’s first book, Carry Me Away), and is widely published in children’s poetry anthologies. She enjoys visiting schools and has provided workshops for the Prince of Wales Foundation for Children and the Arts. Being dyslexic she takes a special interest in encouraging reluctant readers and writers. Her first solo collection, of illustrated poems, Where Zebras Go (Otter-Barry Books) was long-listed for the North Somerset Teachers’ 2017 Book Award and shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2018. Sue has a new collection of shape poems, Apes to Zebras (Bloomsbury) with Roger Stevens and Liz Brownlee, and her second solo collection If I Were Other than Myself (Troika) is due out soon!

Here is her wonderful hare poem for the poetry feast:

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The Shape of Hare

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Sometimes he is long and thin
others, just ears
a grass apostrophe
but mostly he’s gone
lacing the meadow
with damp loam shadows.

somewhere distant
he’s a constellation
shades on the moon
waxing about cloud hills

he who has watched
our ancestors prayers
and dances
knows only the beat as rainfalls
the gentle music of silence
moist winds

inside he’s the rattan
of storm bent trees
soft bones sinking into fern
blanched stone
hardly a touch
from the breath of his feet
forged in earth
as the land falls below

.

© Sue Hardy-Dawson

 

If you would like to blog hop to another AtoZ Challenge, please follow this link to Beth Lapin.

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

#AtoZChallenge; G is for Matt Goodfellow

Matt Goodfellow (links to What Poetry Offers in the Classroom) is a poet and National Poetry Day Ambassador. His most recent collections are The Same Inside (Macmillan 2018), written with Liz Brownlee (me!) and Roger Stevens, and his solo collection, Chicken on the Roof  illustrated by Hanna Asen (Otter Barry 2018). He visits schools, libraries and festivals to deliver high-energy, fun-filled poetry performances and workshops. His new book, Be the Change, Poems about Sustainability, written with Roger Stevens and Liz Brownlee (me, again!), is out in August. Matt’s website is here.

Matt sent this beautiful poem from Chicken on the Roof, saying: “I wrote it for my mum, who died nearly 20 years ago, as a reminder to her, and myself, that memories live on. I hear and see echoes of her wherever I go.”

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Still There

 

I see you near the river,

half-extinguished by the mist.

 

I see you in the summer fields

where dandelions drift.

 

I see you through the stubble plains,

autumn at your back.

 

I see you on the skyline

when night is winter black.

 

I follow you down shadow-lanes

where memories still pass.

 

I walk within your footsteps,

haloed in the morning grass.

.

© Matt Goodfellow

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If you would like to blog hop to another AtoZ Challenge, 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

#AtoZChallenge; F is for Fish Ventriloquist, by Brian Moses

Lovely Brian Moses (links to Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?) has been a professional children’s poet since 1988; he has over 200 books published including volumes of his own poetry such as A Cat Called Elvis and Lost Magic: The Very Best of Brian Moses , (both Macmillan and illustrated by Chris Garbutt), anthologies, and picture books. Over 1 million copies of Brian’s poetry books have been sold by Macmillan. His poem ‘Walking With My Iguana’ is one of the most listened to poems on the Poetry Archive. Brian has visited well over 3,000 schools to run writing workshops and perform his own poetry and percussion shows in the UK and abroad; CBBC once commissioned him to write a poem for the Queen’s 80th birthday! His website is here, blog is here, and Twitter is here.

This is the great poem Brian sent for the letter ‘F’ in the A-Z:

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Fish Ventriloquist

 

I wanted to be the world’s first fish ventriloquist,

so I searched and searched for the sort of fish

that might share the spotlight with me,

till somewhere near the Caspian Sea

I spoke with a cod who had found God

but all he wanted to do was pray with me.

In Yokohama I came across a shark

who had the sort of cut and thrust for showbiz life

but was more concerned with finding a wife.

I found a plaice with the most expressive face

but when I tried to put words into her mouth

she spat them out. I found an eel

whose personality was electric, but she was too much

of a shocker for me. I trembled every time I touched her.

I found a pike I liked immensely, but

he didn’t like me, spat in my eyes each time

I tried to handle him. There was a ray who I could pass

the time of day with and a monkfish had possibilities

till I discovered he had taken a vow of silence.

 

Then right at the end of my search when I thought

I’d be returning to puppets and dolls,

I found a fish that was perfect, but although I swam

with him, ocean after ocean, offered him money, fortune

and fame, his name in lights, a season in Vegas,

he stubbornly refused to be swayed.

 

People would have paid thousands for the illusion

of a talking fish. In a world where we celebrate

the sham and the fake, fish ventriloquism

could have been my big break.

 

© Brian Moses

 

If you would like to blog hop to another 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

#AtoZChallenge; D is for Jan Dean

D in the Poetry Feast is Jan Dean – oh, Jan is fun. She is also a National Poetry Day Ambassador, writing poems in a tucked away corner of her 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 used to visit schools to perform her poems and have an amazing time writing with classes, but has recently retired, however, she will never give up writing poems! 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). Jan’s website is here.

Jan gave me free reign to choose any of her poems so I chose one from The Penguin in Lost Property, because it is very typical of Jan’s wonderful sense of humour, and it made me laugh.

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Unsuccessful Pets

 

Given half a chance

A skink would slink off

 

In the blink of the eye of a lynx

A skink would skulk away

 

Yes, I think a skink would slink

Because I once had a skunk

 

And it slunk

.

© Jan Dean

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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

#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

#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 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 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!

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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 Endangered Animal, Lego Poem

Whale Poems Wanted!

Here’s my Lego blue whale – please read the information after the poem about the danger they are in. Send me you Lego animal photo and maybe I’ll write a poem about it! Here is my blue whale poem:

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Lone Blue Whale

.

Far out at sea

where waves clash and toss

and the wide sky holds

just one albatross,

where light surrounds

and the winds blow long,

this is where you hear

the lone whale’s song,

 

horizon to horizon

winding on and on,

 

the air’s too weak

to carry the sound

of the pulses and cries

in the water around,

the beat of its heart’s song

has oceans to cross,

under a wide sky

and albatross,

 

and only the lone whale

that swims wild and free

has a love song as large

as the wide green sea.

.

© Liz Brownlee

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The Japanese Government has indicated that they are going to allow commercial killing of whales to start again. Many whales are still endangered, and all sea life is battling against plastic in the water.

Fabulous author, poet and animal lover Nicola Davies asks: “Calling all uk children and their teachers. Please send your best whale pictures and poems to The Japanese Embassy to protest against the decision to start hunting whales again”.

If you would like to do this, please tweet, blog and also send the poems to:

Ambassador Koji Tsuri

Embassy of Japan

101-104 Piccadilly

Mayfair

London W1J 7JF

Posted in Lego Poem

Lego Poetry Challenge

This year I will be making Lego models of animals and writing a poem for them, or adding an already written poem to them.

Send me a picture of your Lego or building block animal and perhaps I’ll show it or write a poem to go with it!

.

Christmas Robin

.

The spirit of joy

is a bird,

 

bright eyes,

star feet,

 

the colours

of wild things,

free,

 

its song

the art

of giving,

 

its red breast

a heart

.

© Liz Brownlee