Posted in National Poetry Day 2021

National Poetry Day: I Choose Poetry!

It’s National Poetry Day today – the most exciting day in the poetry calendar, and I’m so proud to be a National Poetry Day ambassador, to let everyone possible in on the secrets of poetry. This is the poem I have given NPD this year on the theme of ‘CHOICE’.

I Choose Poetry

The softness of the lemon in a primrose

the nodding of a bluebell from a bee

the silence in the gaps of a bird’s song

the library of the creatures in a tree

the plumping of a plum in the sunshine

the crazy path an ant left in the grass

the fleeting blue-pink-orange evening

the moment when the sky darks for the stars

the tingle in the thrill of the music

the bounce of the branch as bird flies free

the smell of the earth rise in the rainfall

the things I keep by choosing poetry  

Liz Brownlee

Posted in National Poetry Day 2021

National Poetry Day: Choose to be You

Sometimes we don’t have a choice – we have to get up and go to school or work to learn or earn money, we have to eat each day to stay healthy, and we need to clean our teeth every day to keep our smiles in working order.

And sometimes it feels as if we don’t have any choice – perhaps we feel we need to say we like something we don’t because most people do like that thing, or we must behave in a certain way because we will be thought uncool if we don’t.

This poem is about choosing to be you – are there things about yourself that you feel others might not approve of? Do you care? Do you worry about it? How does that make you feel?

Here’s the poem in words instead of the shape of the nightingale:

The Nightingale

Liz

hidden in the heart

of darkling leaves

he sings

notes flow

in rivers

and rapids

and falls

he doesn’t care

for being

the same

as all the

other birds

with their

repeating calls

he sings to the sky

at night

sings alone

the loveliest

song of them all

Liz Brownlee

Posted in National Poetry Day 2021

National Poetry Day: Choosing Books

Image: Victoria Jane Wheeler, from Being Me, by Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Laura Mucha

How do you choose your books?

Do you read the back, and choose something that sounds exciting, soothing, or interesting?

Do you look for books on a certain genre you enjoy, such as mystery, humour, adventure, detective, or horror?

Do you go by the cover, and choose a book which you want to pick up, which makes you glad or excited just by the illustration or design?

Do you open books at the first page and see if they grab you?

There are as many ways to choose a book as there are types of book to read, and no way is incorrect. But perhaps one day you could try a different way of choosing – take a recommendation from someone, pick up the first book you see with a cover you love, even if it isn’t one you’d normally read, or try a mystery if you mainly pick romance.

Here’s my poem about what you might find in a book – can you think of any books you have read that fit one of the verses?

In the Heart of a Book

I found myself a story

with a place in me to store it

I found myself a wide, new world

so set off to explore it

I found a scary monster

plus the way to banish it

I found a pool of sadness

and the strength to manage it

I found the dragon in my soul

learned the way to tame it

I found a new ambition

a path to take and aim it

I found a way to rest my head

while my worries all unplug

I found a curl of comfort

where each word was a hug

I found a web of wonders

things I dream about at night

I found a pair of magic wings

and flew into the light

Liz Brownlee

From Being Me, Poems Abut Poems About Thoughts, Worries and Feelings, Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Laura Mucha, May 2021

Posted in National Poetry Day 2021

National Poetry Day: Choosing Words

Emanuele Comotti

National Poetry Day is on Thursday this week – the theme is CHOICE. Today I have a poem about choosing words!

How do you choose just the right word for a poem? Do you use the one you first think of? Sometimes that IS the correct word – poem lines should be easy to read and use direct language.

But if you read the poem as a whole, and notice a repeat, or realise a word doesn’t express precisely what you were trying to say – or think of another word that is alliterative and makes the poem more interesting to say out loud – then it can be changed.

Here’s my poem about choosing words for a poem!

Choosing Words

Place to match the pattern with no seams

Or to clash with a dissonance that pleases

Use no jam that sits stickily on the tongue

Slice them with a scalpel, make them bleed

Hurl them, leave an outline on the paper

Breathe them gently into being to goose-bump skin

Keep some grounded but pin others to the sky

Feather all so together they form wings 

Then read your poem out, and let it fly

Liz Brownlee

Posted in Shaping the World, 40 Historical Heroes in Verse

Come the Launch of Shaping the World!

Are you a teacher? Do you have a class you’d like to introduce to female and male historical heroes – via shape poems?

Are you free at 9:30 am on the 22nd of April?

Are you a shape poem fan?

If so. come and find out how penicillin was discovered (by being messy!), why Shakespeare is so loved, who invented the first sliced loaf of bread, or the system known as the Socratic method still used to solve crime today, and hear why Rosa Parks refused to leave her seat on that bus!

There are 20 female and 20 male heroes in the book, and many of the poems will be read by their authors – me, Matt Goodfellow, Roger Stevens, John Dougherty, Sue Hardy-Dawson, Jan Dean, Cheryl Moskowitz, Chitra Soundar, Dom Conlon, Shauna Darling Robertson, Kate Wakeling, Laura Mucha, Myles McLeod, Suzy Levinson, and Penny Kent – all hosted by Gaby Morgan, Editorial Director at Macmillan Children’s Books

At the same time as the readings, you will also see the wonderful shape poems themselves!

Opportunities to ask the poets questions included, FREE!

In fact the whole event is free, get your tickets here:

Posted in Shaping the World, 40 Historical Heroes in Verse

Shaping the World – Out Today!

Yes, today is the day this book arrives in the shops!

I can’t thank the poets who sent poems and shapes and ideas for shapes enough – or Gaby Morgan at Macmillan who is always so brilliantly helpful.

I’m really pleased with the resulting book – it has a fabulous, shiny cover, and 40 hero poems inside, twenty women and twenty men who helped shape the world, in a variety of voices and all the poems are shaped to represent the people, an aspect of their lives or life’s work.

Here’s an example from the book – Penny Kent’s fabulous poem about Ravi Shankar. Each poem has a mini-biography alongside the shape:

Shaping the World is available at all good bookstores of course!

Posted in National Poetry Day 2020

National Poetry Day Video of a Thomas Hardy Poem

Hello again! It is still National Poetry Day –  if you haven’t seen the video of the poem I wrote especially for NPD, as I am a National Poetry Day Ambassador – see the entry before this on the home page!

I was also asked to choose a poem to go with mine, and this is the one I picked. The magical The Fallow Deer at the Lonely House, by Thomas Hardy.

Posted in National Poetry Day 2020

National Poetry Day is Nigh!

The day of deliciousness for poets is nigh and getting nigher. National Poetry Day’s theme this year is vision, and I have a few poetry films to share up until the day.

In fact they are all bird poems.

Today it is the Curlew  – the curlew is a rare and getting rarer sight, in fact it has just been declared endangered in the UK.

Hope you enjoyed that.

The National Poetry Day website is FULL of poets and poems and lesson plans and posters and general poetic delightfulness if you’d like to visit and find something to see  or use on National Poetry Day.

Posted in Empathy Day

#Empathy Poem – A Child Speaks

Aged 9, Severn Suzuki founded the Children’s Environmental Organisation. In 1992, long before Greta Thunberg, aged 12, she and three friends raised the money to travel from Canada to speak at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, to fight for their future and give a young person’s perspective on environmental issues. In 1993, she was honoured in the United Nation’s Environment Programme’s Global 500 Roll of Honour. Sill fighting for the environment, she is now also a speaker, television host and author.

 

A Child Speaks

 

Butterflies

are disappearing

like my breath on a windowpane

 

you would think

this clear view

would help them see

 

but no

 

maybe the last, gentle orangutan?

 

no

 

perhaps the ocean

lapping with plastic bottles?

 

no

 

possibly the last bee?

 

no

 

we save the rights

of those with a voice

 

but we are the undefended

 

the last tiger walking

 

and all the adults do is talk

 

about talking

 

© Liz Brownlee

 

Posted in Empathy Day

Snow – #EmpathyPoem

I’m posting lots of empathy poems today! Here is one about snow, and small gifts. This poem is in Be the Change, Poems to Help You Save the World, written with Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, Macmillan.

 

Snow

 

Swirling slowly

in lilting flight,

as cold as stars,

the soundless white

 

of drifting feathers

spreading wings,

to sing the songs

that snowflakes sing,

 

of how small gifts

of peace and light

can change the world

in just one night.

 

© Liz Brownlee

 

Image by Bert Reimer on Flikr by creative commons license.