Posted in Favourite Children's Poetry

Dom Conlon: Favourite Children’s Poetry Books

Number 19 in my series where I ask a well-known poet to choose some of their favourite poetry books is Dom Conlon, known for his ‘out of this world’ space poems! He was asked to choose 5-8 books, one of which could be an adult collection, one of which had to be his own. Dom launched onto the children’s poetry scene with Astro Poetica, illustrated by Jools Wilson, a lovely collection of poems inspired by space. Since then he has been published in magazines and anthologies whilst performing and teaching in schools and libraries around the North West. His new collection of poems about the moon, This Rock, That Rock, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz, Pub. Troika, is out in March. Some of Dom’s work can be read here.

All of the books for children I’ve selected are from my own childhood. Without exception they helped guide me towards the imagination as surely as any books about Narnia, Middle Earth or The Foundation did but more than a novel did, they gave me the tools to understand my heart. They continue to in one way or another but are now helped by the many amazing poets who write today and who I’ve come to call friends.

For children:

Moon Whales

Ted Hughes was a major influence on me, along with Plath, Larkin, Eliot and Cummings, back when I was studying for my A Levels but this collection for children remains a touchstone for my writing. I keep the edition illustrated by Chris Riddell close by. Moon Whales is a sweeping exploration of imagination and emotion. Funny, horrific, melancholic and strange, it shows the power of poetry.

Rhymes Without Reason

Mervyn Peake’s writing, art and life captivated me in my teens and never let go. Rhymes Without Reason is a beautifully produced collection in every sense. The number of poems is kept to a minimum (no filler here) and each one is a gateway to wonder, helped in no small part by the paintings Peake made.

The Hunting of the Snark

Epic poems for children delight me (allow me to briefly point you towards Dr Seuss and Robert Paul Weston) and here Lewis Carroll channels all his Alice and Jabberwocky magic. The edition I own is illustrated by Mervyn Peake and the partnership delivers something rich and ancient.

The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear

Over the years I’ve lost sight of Lear and his undisputed contribution to children’s poetry. His limericks don’t sing to me as they once did. And yet I’m choosing this book for three vital reasons: the first is The Owl and the Pussycat, the second is The Pobble, and the third is the most compelling reason of them all—the illustrations. John Vernon Lord’s edition is an explosion of inspiration.

For adults:

The Republic of Motherhood

Pick any collection by Liz Berry and you’re in for a treat but I’m going to settle on this slim pamphlet. I pressed it into poet Matt Goodfellow’s sweaty palms recently and his reaction proved I will never regret recommending it. Berry’s ability is extraordinary, her love of words delightful. She focuses place and memory through the lens of dialect and always leaves a mark.

For everyone:

This Rock That Rock

Viviane Schwarz and I have worked hard on putting together this collection and making sure the words and pictures are as inseparable as the Earth and the Moon. It contains fifty poems about the once and future moon, drawing upon personal history and scientific curiosity whilst never forgetting the fun and wonder. And because (as my teachers always told my parents) Dom Can Never Stop Talking… there are chapters where I talk about poetry and art too.

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week, Climate Lies Poem from Dom Conlon

We continue today, the day before National poetry Day, with a climate lies poem from Dom Conlon. Dom 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.

There is no new land to discover

 

The law passed in the year

twenty-it-doesn’t-matter

making it illegal to make anything

which could not biodegrade

but change came too late

they’d already climbed into the plastic bath

and cut it loose from the plumbing

plug plugged in taps stopped

as the latest flood

licked away the wall like a stamp

sending them out through the town clutching

each other like loofahs

but all we found all we have of them now

is the rubber duck

squeaking its parched cry over a sea of bags

whispering in the wind of days out days shopping

days caught below a storm filled with gossip

of how the world does not need saving.

 

© Dom Conlon

 

Great Climate Lies poem, Dom, thank you.

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 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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Astro Poetica by Dom Conlon

Astro Poetica, written by Dom Conlon, and beautifully illustrated in full colour throughout by Jools Wilson, is a book that sparkles with poems about the skies, the planets, the stars, the universe, and everything.

I found myself contemplating afterwards about some of these poems, sometimes with a smile, sometimes with memories or trains of thought they had inspired; a sign of good writing.

Some of the poems are perfect to share with children – some of them seem aimed at an older audience, but there is plenty in here for all age groups.

Here is one of my favourites:

 

Space Sound

 

In space you hear nothing

when wonders happen

like a star exploding

or asteroids crashing

or a black hole sucking

or a rocket zooming

or galaxies colliding.

 

But if we look up

at the right moment

and stand beside the right person

and listen at the right time

we might hear the sound

of someone whispering

“You mean more to me

than all of this.”

 

© Dom Conlon

 

Available here.