Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week, Lie Poem from Coral Rumble

Wednesday’s National Poetry Day Week poem is from the wonderful Coral Rumble. Coral has worked as a poet and performer for many years and now specialises in writing and performing for children. She has three collections, Creatures, Teachers and Family FeaturesBreaking the Rulesillustrated by Nigel Bainesand My Teacher’s as Wild as a Bisonalso illustrated by Nigel Bainesand has poems in over 100 anthologies for young people. Her website is here.

The Lie Fox

 

Sometimes, the Lie Fox

Races out of my mouth

Before I can stop him.

 

He’s a sneaky character –

Crafty, cunning, conniving,

Tricking my tongue into action.

 

Speedily, he darts into ears,

Wriggles into the minds

Of my trusting friends.

 

He’s sly, that artful Lie Fox,

Always prising open my pursed lips,

Chasing the truth into dark corners.

 

© Coral Rumble

 

Thank you for this great lie poem, Coral!

Posted in Favourite Children's Poetry

Coral Rumble; My Favourite Poetry Books

Here is the second in the series where I’m asking children’s poets what their favourite poetry books are – they must choose one of their own, and they can if they wish choose a book of poems for adults, too. This week, it’s Coral Rumble!

I could list so many books, so I’ve decided to avoid listing any by my personal friends, as I wouldn’t be able to stop! (Not just because they’re my friends, but because they’re all ridiculously talented.) Instead, I’ve thought further afield and back in time; it’s been quite a journey!

I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree (Nosy Crow) Ed Fiona Waters

Hooray, hooray! In 2018 something unusual happened. A publisher spent a lot of money on producing a poetry book that was beautiful and inviting. With full colour illustrations throughout, the richness of text is matched by the extravagance of visual interpretation. What a breath of fresh air! Bravo Nosy Crow!

The Magic Box (Macmillan) Kit Wright

Okay, this might seem a blast from the past, but we’re only travelling back to 2010. Are there many schools where children have not been inspired to write their own version of the famous title poem? Playful language, a light touch, totally delightful.

Grandad’s Tree (Barefoot Books) Ed. Jill Bennett

First published in 2003, this book is bold in its treatment of sad subjects that children need to talk about. With poems from the likes of Grace Nichols, Berlie Doherty and Carl Sandburg, you know you’re in for a treat. ‘Always Remembering Eloise’ by Lindsay MacRae renders me speechless.

The Utter Nutters (Puffin) Brian Patten

I’m going to take you back a little further in time. In 1994 this fantastic collection of Brian’s poems delighted more visual learners, who responded to text and illustration working together. I remain still as fond of this innovative book based on the various wacky neighbours all living on one imagined street.

Something Big Has Been Here (HarperCollins) Jack Prelutsky

We’re still time travelling, this time back to 1990. I love Jack Prelutsky! He’s such a master of scansion; there are no untidy ends to tie. I want to skip through the pages of this book, not in the sense of haste, but in the sense of spirit.

When We Were Very Young (Methuen) A.A. Milne

First published in 1924! I’m not just being sentimental, I just love this book, containing classics like ‘Halfway Down’ and ‘Buckingham Palace’. It’s where my love of words started. On top of that, it’s full of wonderful illustrations by E.H. Shepherd!

And my own book?

Riding a Lion (Troika Books) Coral Rumble

Well, it’s kind of back to the future now, because this book doesn’t yet exist! I think most poets feel that their latest work is their best, and I’m very excited about this collection. Anyway, you can never start marketing too early!

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; R is for Coral Rumble

Coral Rumble has worked as a poet and performer for many years and now specialises in writing and performing for children. She has three collections, Creatures, Teachers and Family FeaturesBreaking the Rulesillustrated by Nigel Bainesand My Teacher’s as Wild as a Bisonalso illustrated by Nigel Bainesand has poems in over 100 anthologies for young people. She performs and gives workshops art centres, books shops, libraries, theatres and festivals. Her website is here.

Here is the lovely poem Coral has sent for the Poetry Feast – it also has an ‘R’ in the title!

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LOOKING FOR RILEY

Riley had dragged the emptiness to school.
It would seem wrong to leave it in his bedroom
Where he had filled silent spaces with sobs.
Grandma had gone, but her songs hung in the air,
Small memories, pockets of comfort.

And now, in a dusty corner of the PE cupboard,
Riley sat and rocked and clutched his knees,
Resting his chin on his shiny, worn trousers
Stretching over his bent legs, hiding away
From questions he’d be asked, but couldn’t answer.

They were all looking for Riley, the teachers, Mrs Moore.
They would try to wipe his grief away, catch his tears
Before they hit the ground, before they made a mark
In the dust, before they stopped falling of their own accord.
So I hid with him, and somehow, it made him smile.

 

© Coral Rumble

 

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

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Posted in Poet's Piece

Caterpillar Prize-Winning Author Coral Rumble; The Challenge of Writing Poems for Children

Coral specialises in writing and performing for children, and as well as being in many anthologies, she has three collections; Creatures, Teachers and Family FeaturesBreaking the Rulesillustrated by Nigel Bainesand My Teacher’s as Wild as a Bisonalso illustrated by Nigel Baines. You can read more about Coral in her A-Z entry. Here Coral tells us something about writing poems for children, and also specifically about writing her prize-winning poem for Caterpillar Magazine

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THE CHALLENGE OF WRITING POEMS FOR CHILDREN.

(Written by a poet who still has much to learn.)

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I think that many poets would agree with N R Hart, who has said,

“As a writer you try to listen to what others aren’t saying…and write about the silence”. Adults often experience that wonderful moment, when the words in a poem resonate, and make clearer, or change, an area of their understanding. Of course, sometimes a poem simply reflects our experience, which is also valuable; confirmation is a wonderful thing! Humorous poems do this well. They often expose an embarrassing situation, then encourage the reader to relax as they personally identify with it.

Children experience their own areas of silence, and also deserve to hear a breakthrough of sound, as a poem encourages them to look at something from a different angle. ‘Mustafa’s Jumper’, the poem I entered for The Caterpillar Poetry Prize, is about a child losing his belonging in a community, and another child feeling the emptiness. I wanted the image of the empty jumper to become a symbol of the losses children have to deal with, without exploration or explanation. We often feel sorry for children who suffer in some way, we might even post on social media, heart-wrenching photos, but we don’t necessarily listen to their voices. Poets must listen and sometimes write in a way that makes their voices louder.

When we write poems for children, we mustn’t be dishonest. We must write for a child, not for ourselves, or to gain the admiration of other writers. Somehow, we have to marry personally satisfying poetic technique with a sensitivity to the experience of a child, living in a child’s world. When writing for adults it can be exhilarating to express yourself to your wordsmith limit, to push concepts a little further, to develop sophisticated images that make others say, ‘Ah, I can see it now.’ A child needs to, ‘see it now’, too, but we must always show respect to where they are in their understanding, and not usher them into the room of our imagination and experience, insisting that they see what their eyes can’t yet focus on. That doesn’t mean we should avoid writing anything that will challenge and stretch a child, there are many great poets writing poems that do so. However, if we say we are writing for a child, the child must come first, and our responsibility is to meet them where they are, before we take them on a new journey.

I’d add, as a note of balance, never underestimate what a child can understand and respond to, and remember that children vary greatly in all respects. Don’t expect ALL children to enjoy ALL of your poems. That’s okay, you know! It’s also good to remember that a poem written for children, is usually enjoyed by an adult. Again, not ALL adults will enjoy your children’s poems, but if some do, it probably means they’re well written. C S Lewis said of story: –

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” I think the same is true of poems.

The way I see it (and the way I see things is often flawed and in need of revision), if a poet only ever writes poems about bodily functions, in the belief that children are only interested in base matters, it’s insulting. At the same time, if a poet only ever writes in a way that insists children ‘grow up’ in understanding, because they think it will ‘do them good’, it’s arrogant. Balance is beautiful. All human beings, whatever their size, need to laugh as well as meditate on serious matters. At the end of the day, whether we’re rising to the challenge of writing for children or for adults, there’s a lot of paper out there; let’s mark it with something meaningful.

If you’d like to read ‘Mustafa’s Jumper’, you’ll find it at the bottom of the article here.

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

R is for Children’s Poet Coral Rumble, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Coral Rumble

Coral Rumble has worked as a poet and performer for may years and now specialises in writing and performing for children. She has three collections, Creatures, Teachers and Family Features, Breaking the Rules, illustrated by Nigel Bainesand My Teacher’s as Wild as a Bison, also illustrated by Nigel Bainesand has poems in over 100 anthologies for young people. She performs and gives workshops art centres, books shops, libraries, theatres and festivals, has worked as a writer and poetry consultant for the BBC, and is one of the writers for the CBeebies TV programme, Poetry Pie. Her website is here.

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Here is a favourite poem of Coral’s:

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RIDING A LION

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I dreamt of riding a lion, a fast one,

A fierce one, with a flash of wildness in his eyes.

I could feel his tented ribs with my clinging knees.

 

I dreamt he leapt and flew, huge wings spreading,

His deep growl rumbling like a well-oiled engine.

My fingers curled into a tangle around his mane.

 

I dreamt he swooped a deep dive, a daring dive,

A dizzy dive, against the roaring wind,

And I didn’t even close my eyes in fear.

 

I dreamt he landed on an island, a golden one,

Where all the lions fly, and children ride

On their warm backs, clutching the edge of danger.

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© Coral Rumble

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Freedom Poem – Riding a Lion by Coral Rumble

RIDING A LION

 

I dreamt of riding a lion, a fast one,

A fierce one, with a flash of wildness in his eyes.

I could feel his tented ribs with my clinging knees.

 

I dreamt he leapt and flew, huge wings spreading,

His deep growl rumbling like a well oiled engine.

My fingers curled into a tangle around his mane.

 

I dreamt he swooped a deep dive, a daring dive,

A dizzy dive, against the roaring wind,

And I didn’t even close my eyes in fear.

 

I dreamt he landed on an island, a golden one,

Where all the lions fly, and children ride

On their warm backs, clutching the edge of danger.

 

© Coral Rumble

A Pot of Poets?

A group of children’s poets met at Trafalgar Square Waterstones on Wednesday, to go on a poetry picnic… sadly, it was raining, so the event was taken to Festival Hall, and a fun time was had by all. There was chocolate. There was poetry writing. There was poetry chat! Thanks to Brian Moses for organising it, and for the photo! It’s hoped to make it a yearly event.

L-R: Laura Mucha, Liz Brownlee, Coral Rumble, Jan Dean, Jane Clarke, Roger Stevens, Phil Waddell, Brian Moses, and in front, Andrea Shavick and Clare Bevan. Oh! And Lola.