Posted in Poet's Piece

Kick Start by Jan Dean

Jan Dean is the author of Wallpapering the Cat, Macmillan, A Penguin in Lost Property, Macmillan, (with Roger Stevens) and Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls Macmillan, (with me and Michaela Morgan).

She has also written two fiction books for children, but describes herself as “a poet who sometimes writes fiction, not a fictioneer who knocks of the occasional poem.”

Jan is great fun and a brilliant poet who works in schools – her projects have also included working with groups from Covent Garden’s innovative music theatre education programme in the Purcell School for gifted young musicians and writing in the environment with Northumberland schools. She has led workshops for both adults and children in Manchester, Liverpool and Chester Cathedrals, and has also run workshops at major festivals. 

Jan’s blog is here and her Twitter account is @glitterpoems

.

Kick Start

.

I hate grey weather. It makes me miserable. Sometimes I wonder if the weather has seeped inside my head and filled me up with fog… and when I feel like this I find it hard to write. So I have to kick-start the process. These are some of the things I do:

• Look out of a window and write down the first three/four things you notice, then go to another window and do the same. (You can do this for every window in the house if you like.)

• Say the words out loud to hear if there are any interesting sound patterns going on in the lists

• Visualise the things in the list to see if there are any striking colours/pictures.

• Write six or seven opening lines based on the list. (You don’t have to use everything and you can mix the lists up. Or you can write one verse about your room and one about a better/worse room.)

• Work up the best four into draft poems – be sure to weave your mood and any changes of feeling into the drafts. Remember that once you start writing you don’t have to stick to the ‘truth’ of what you saw. Making the words work is what counts.

I did this one from the list of stuff from my window. It might be finished. I won’t know for sure until I’ve put it away for a few weeks and then come back and re- read it.

Outside
Wren in the hedge. Hopping
like a brown ball. Stopping
for a second on the red brick wall.
I wish I had just an ounce
of your bounce…

Slug on the step. Sliding
smooth as oil. Gliding
by milk bottles then back to black soil.
Writing your route in slime
while I write mine in rhyme.

I did see a bird in the hedge – but it wasn’t a wren. And I did see a slug – but it wasn’t on the step. I changed what I saw to improve the sounds and rhythms in the poem. (My actual list was: Blue tit in hedge bouncing on branch. Bright blue car in road. Slug on ivy root. Recycling bag on gate.)

I’ve got a couple of other drafts to work on too – one about how sinister ivy is – the way it creeps and clings and takes over; and one about matching your day to the first thing you see when you open the curtains that might begin like this:

‘Today is a tin can day
a clattering day
a rolling away day

Today I am going to bang about
slam doors
howl under beds
and throw stuff….’

Or it might not. I’ll have to see how it goes.

.

Jan Dean

Posted in Poetry Awards

North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award Poetry Winner

There are few poetry awards for children’s poetry – but the Carnegie has some nominations this year, which is fabulous; Joe Coelho for Overheard in a Tower Block, illustrated by Kate Milner (Otter-Barry Books), Michael Rosen for What is Poetry, illustrated by Jill Calder (Walker Books), and Kate Wakeling for Moon Juice, illustrated by Elīna Braslina (The Emma Press).

The main one is the CLPE, or the CLiPPA (The Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award), which is the only National award in the UK for published children’s poetry.

Winning a poetry award as you can imagine is something that happens very rarely and when it does, as you can imagine, children’s poets jump for joy.

So when Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, by Liz Brownlee, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan, cover illustrated by Steph Says Hello (Macmillan), won the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards for poetry this year, one of the people dancing was me.

North Somerset teachers love it, and are using it a lot, which means that teachers everywhere probably do – and that means a lot to us, as teachers really know what pupils like and want and need. We are thrilled.  *Jumps for joy*

 

Posted in National Poetry Day 2017

Set a Poem Free on Saturday 30th September!

Come to Jan Dean’s and my Giant Magnetic Poetry experience at Exeter Central Library!

We are both National Poetry Day Ambassadors, charged with making poetry as much fun as it is on National Poetry Day and in that week. You have been warned.

It’s impossible not to play with the magnets, and once playing with the magnets, magic happens, and it’s impossible not to write poem.

ANY age! ANY experience!

Poems written before…

 

Oh, yes – we’ll also have a GIANT double-sided wooden poem puzzle.

We’ll be making little poems books, and we’ll be expecting you…

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.

National Poetry Day Release List of Poetry Books to Inspire Children!

.Poetry is booming – and in the case of poetry for children, it should be – Pie Corbett‘s article, below, explains just why!

Here is the entire list of poetry being promoted in the run up to National Poetry Day by the Forward Arts Foundation -congratulations to the children’s poets included!

Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots Rosen/Tazzyman, Bloomsbury children’s:

Reaching the Stars Brownlee/Dean/Morgan, Macmillan:

It’s Not My Fault Stevens/Withrow, Bloomsbury Children’s:

The World’s Greatest Space Cadet James Carter, Bloomsbury Children’s:

Little Lemur Laughing Joshua Seigal, Bloomsbury Children’s:

Overheard in a Tower Block Joseph Coelho, Otter-Barry Books:

A Poem for Every Day of the Year Ed. Allie Esiri, Macmillan:

The Noisy Classroom Ieva Flamingo, The Emma Press:

Moonrise Sarah Crossan, Bloomsbury:

Five Nonsense Poems Candlestick Press: