Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; Y is for Bernard Young

Bernard Young is an experienced professional poet and performer who leads writing workshops for children and adults. Bernard’s poems have been broadcast on local and national radio and feature in numerous anthologies of poetry for young readers. His speciality is primary school age. Here is a link to his new book, What are you Like? And here is a link to his website.

And here is lovely poem Bernard sent for the Poetry Feast:

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Best Friends

 

Would a best friend

Eat your last sweet

Talk about you behind your back

Have a party and not ask you?

 

Mine did.

 

Would a best friend

Borrow your bike without telling you

Deliberately forget your birthday

Avoid you whenever possible?

 

Mine did.

 

Would a best friend

Turn up on your bike

Give you a whole packet of your favourite sweets

Look you in the eye?

 

Mine did.

 

Would a best friend say

Sorry I talked about you behind your back

Sorry I had a party and didn’t invite you

Sorry I deliberately forgot your birthday

– I thought you’d fallen out with me?

 

Mine did.

 

And would a best friend say, simply,

Never mind

That’s OK?

 

I did

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© Bernard Young

 

If you would like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge, 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 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 Poet's Piece

Chrissie Gittins asks, Are Children Ever Too Young for Poetry?

Chrissie Gittins is an award-winning poetry writer for children and adults, and also writes short stories and plays. Her poems have been widely anthologised and animated for Poetry Pie and CBeebies on TV. Not only has she been visiting schools as a poet for over 20 years, she has written 5 children’s poetry collections. Now You See Me, Now You…, illustrated by Gunnlavg Moen, and I Don’t Want an Avocado, illustrated by Kev Adamson, were shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award. Her latest book is Adder, Bluebell, Lobster, illustrated by Paul Bommer. Her website is here.

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Are Children Ever Too Young For Poetry?

 

I live next door to twins – Billie and Milo. When they were three years old I discovered that Billie called her dollies Baby Door and Baby Floor. This begged for a poem. I wrote ‘Billie’s Dollies’ and took a copy next door to show her. The family had visitors and I was asked to read/perform the poem to them all. There was much laughter.

Milo also wanted a poem. He is mad about leaf blowers and asked if I would write a poem about a leaf blower, which I did. Their parents framed both poems and hung them on the wall in their bedroom. Just before they got into bed they would say the poems together. Before they could read them they would run their fingers along the lines as they remembered them. They enjoyed the rhymes and could pick out their names and recognise repeated words. After their parents left the room they would say the lines to each other.

I’m so pleased that I contributed in a small way to the twins learning to read, and to their enjoyment of poetry.

‘Milo the Leaf Blower’ will appear in the anthology ‘Poems Out Loud’ published by Penguin in September 2019.

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Billie’s Dollies

 

Billie has two dollies,

Each dolly has a name,

One dolly is called Baby Door,

The other one’s called Baby Floor.

 

Billie throws Baby Floor to the ceiling,

Then she pushes Baby Door to the wall,

They all look out of the window,

Then Billie shouts ‘More! More! More!’

 

They all go into the garden,

Where the dollies are planted in soil,

Soon the two beautiful dollies,

Become Four! Four! Four!

 

© Chrissie Gittins

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Milo The Leaf Blower

 

Milo is a Leaf Blower,

He blows every single leaf,

They spin and twirl and hit the ground –

He catches three leaves in his teeth.

 

The golden leaves lie in a pile,

They cover Milo’s nose,

No matter how much Milo blows –

They pile up on his toes.

 

Milo blows and blows the leaves,

The orange and the red,

But if the wind blows North to West –

They pile up on his head!

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© Chrissie Gittins

 

Posted in Poet's Piece

US Poet Performer, Eric Ode, and ¿Que Es La Palabra?

I first met Eric Ode (pronounced ‘Odee’) in poetic circles on Facebook, and very soon fell for his warm, droll and upbeat personality. Eric is not only an educator and well-published poet performer, he writes his own songs and performs with his guitar. I had the enormous pleasure of meeting Eric this May, where I had a chance to get to know him and his lovely wife Kim when we got together with a group of children’s poets and did a performance. It was hilarious and at some point I will post one of Eric’s songs from that recording. Here is a link to one of Eric’s lovely books, Sea Star Wishes, and his website. Below, Eric expounds on ¿Que Es La Palabra? 

¿Que Es La Palabra? (Or “Why Writing Poetry is Like Spending Three Weeks Learning Spanish in Guatemala)

Okay, that was hard. I’ve just wrapped up my first full week of Spanish classes at a cooperative school here in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala. My first visit to this wonderful country. Five days a week of one-on-one instruction, five hours each day. I’m still too overwhelmed to create poetry here. Frustrating. I’m surrounded by amazing sights and sounds and people that should inspire BRILLIANT poetry! But maybe I can concentrate enough to create a short list – some commonalities between learning a new language and writing poetry. So here we go!

FINDING THE RIGHT WORDS CAN BE… DIFFICULT? CHALLENGING? ARDUOUS?

Of course with a new language, we can fumble around with vocabulary we do know, and, with the help of our pocket dictionary and some frantic hand motions, we’ll get by. But with poetry, there’s no alternative to knowing precisely the right words. It is poetry, after all!

BELIEVE THERE’S A DESTINATION

People ask me why I’m studying Spanish. Truthfully I don’t know. I have no end goal. But I do believe that when we open ourselves to opportunities, opportunities reveal themselves – opportunities we could not have foreseen. So in the end, these studies will lead to something wonderful. I’m sure of it! Likewise with poetry, we might approach the blank page with little idea of what will come of our efforts. But, poco a poco, the poem will reveal itself, again often arriving as nothing we could have imagined.

TAKE TWO STEPS FORWARD…

It’s never just forward momentum. Language learning? We can expect that, by the next morning, we’ll have forgotten much of what we were so certain we’d learned. And with poetry? We’re frequently tearing apart what we had already so carefully built. Of course the beautiful thing with poetry is that we’ll be rebuilding into something even better – something closer to the ideal poems we have in our dreams. Which leads us to…

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

It’s Guatemalan Independence Day today. I was trying to tell my host mother how much I enjoyed “la parada” this morning. Wait. Parada is “stop,” NOT “parade.” Sigh. But I digress! The parade? I had no idea. I was enjoying a coffee in a small café when the school marching bands began their enthusiastic procession down the narrow cobblestone street. I stood in the doorway with the café’s waitress, and we watched and listened and talked about the schools and the children. Absolutely a treat! Writing poetry is often like that. We’re scribbling away, when suddenly wonderful, unexpected metaphors and images parade right in front of us.

Paz,

Eric

 

 

Posted in Poetry in Education

Teachers!

Do you want to enthuse your pupils with a love of words and give them ways of expressing themselves and extend their vocabulary at the same time as giving them a fabulously entertaining day?

There is one way to do this – invite a poet in to your school to read, perform, excite, enthuse, inspire and do workshops with them!

In the tabs at the top of the site is an A-Z of poets working in schools. Most are working in this country. Have a look! There may be one near you… including me!

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

A is for Poet and Children’s Poet Moira Andrew, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Moira Andrew

Moira Andrew was born and educated in Scotland, became a primary teacher, worked her way up to Assistant Head, then lectured in education at Craigie College of Education, Ayr before moving to Bristol where she was Head Teacher of a primary school. During the 80s, 90s and into the 2000s she wrote stories and poetry for children. Here most recent poetry collection is Wish a Wish, illustrated by Anna PopescuPoetry Space, 2016available here. Moira’s website is here.

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This is one of Moira’s gorgeous poems:

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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.

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© Moira Andrew (First published in Dragon Poems, by John Foster & Korky Paul, (OUP 1991)

Click on the title of the post if you are on the home page to be taken to the post’s page where you will be able to comment! Thank you!

You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

C is for Children’s Poet and Educator Pie Corbett, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Pie Corbett

Pie Corbett is an English educational trainer, writer, author, anthologiser and poet who has written over two hundred books. He is now best known for creating Talk for Writing which is a teaching programme that supports children as storytellers and writers. He has supported children’s writing and children’s poets as well as the education of primary children for many years. His main collection is called Evidence of Dragons, illustrated by Chris Riddell and Peter Bailey, published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

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Here is one of Pie’s fabulous poems:

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In the Land of Possibility

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In the land of possibility,

there is a swan’s final feather;

a fragment of the moon’s crust;

the final echo of a rainbow’s cry;

the gleam from a conker

when the shell cracks open;

a silence that was trapped after sleep takes over;

the secret of how clouds travel;

the stillness in an opal’s centre;

a spider’s web that has snared

a bee from the hives at the edge of the lake;

a thief’s subtle grin as he sneaks into a house;

the moment when two ideas clash together;

the sudden grating of a car’s brakes

juddering to a terrible halt;

a whip of sea spray gathering

in the wind on an ocean wide;

flames curling their sulphurous tongues;

snowflakes settling on pine trees

and a gobstopper made of honey.

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©  Pie Corbett 2017

 Click on the title of the post to be taken to the post’s page where you will be able to comment! Thank you!

You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

I is for Children’s Poet Inky (Peter Bicot), #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

Photo Credit: Spider-Dog

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Inky and Spider (Peter Bicot)

Peter Bicot, known as Inky, spent his childhood in the south of France and moved to London when he was eight. He has had poems published in small press magazines and has been working with schools in south London. He has become famous for his poetry performances which involve his dog Spider who barks in time to the chorus of Peter’s poems! Peter’s website is here.

If you want to book Inky, his email is peterbicot1 @mail.com

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Here is one of Peter’s poems (without a chorus!):

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Fly

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The fly’s mosaic eye

is a red lens;

a loud speaker,

with nothing to say.

An anonymous stare

glares back.

Its body armour

gleams oily green.

Hairs bristle

as the domestic alien

waits – spindle legs

planted from a sci-fi film

and brittle wings flick,

glossed as glass,

flexed for take off.

Fly off the wall,

out of the ointment,

fly-by-night

under the radar,

what wouldn’t you harm?

A futuristic chin

thistles needles.

The air stills

as it tickles

your hand.

Greedy fossicker,

carrier of parasitic disease

flies with ease,

teases with a fickle tickle,

tastes with soft feet,

greets food with vomit,

then drinks liquid filth;

debris-dealer,

garbage-czar,

exoskeletal-superstar.

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© Peter Bicot

Click on the title of the post if you are on the home page to be taken to the post’s page where you will be able to comment. Thank you!

You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Photo by Spider-Dog.

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

S is for Poet Lemn Sissay, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay MBE is author of a series of books of poetry alongside articles, records, broadcasts, public art, commissions and plays. Lemn was the first poet commissioned to write for London Olympics.  His Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London.  They can be seen in The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park. Lemn was official poet for The FA Cup 2015 and his Desert Island Discs was pick of the year for BBC Radio 4 2015. He is Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Patron of The Letterbox Club, Canterbury’s Poet Laureate and he is a regular contributor to radio and television. Lemn’s wonderful poems are frequently included in anthologies for children.

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I have been given free reign to choose any of his poems, so here is one that is included in 100 Brilliant Poems for Children, ed. by Paul Cookson. I have rarely read a poem by Lemn that hasn’t made me want to cry, and this is no exception:

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Let There Be Peace

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Let there be peace

So frowns fly away like an albatross

And skeletons foxtrot from cupboards;

So war correspondents become travel-show presenters

And magpies bring back lost property,

Children, engagement rings, broken things.

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Let there be peace

So storms can go out to sea to be

Angry and return to me calm;

So the broken can rise and dance in the hospitals.

Let the aged Ethiopian man in the grey block of flats

Peer through his window and see Addis before him

So his thrilled outstretched arms become frames

For his dreams.

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Let there be peace

Let tears evaporate to form clouds, cleanse themselves

And fall into reservoirs of drinking water.

Let harsh memories burst into fireworks that melt

In the dark pupils of a child’s eyes

And disappear like shoals of darting silver fish.

And let the waves reach the shore with

Shhhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhh

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© Lemn Sissay (Reproduced by kind permission of the author)

Click on the title of the post to be taken to the post’s page where you will be able to comment. Thank you!

You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

V is for American Poet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is an American poet who writes for young people. She loves to bake, knit, and scribble poems in her cozy farmhouse in upstate New York. You can find her online at The Poem Farm, her blog for children. Her latest two books are Dreaming of You, (Boyds Mills Press) and With My Hands: Poems About Making Things (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) You can find Amy on Twitter here.

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Amy’s blog is brilliant and her Twitter stream is always interesting and full of children’s poetry. Here is one of Amy’s lovely poems:

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This can be sung to the tune Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Click on the title of the post if you are on the home page to be taken to the post’s page where you will be able to comment. Thank you!

You can hear more from this poet featured on the blog on Twitter, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

W is for Colin West, Poet and Illustrator, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Colin West

Colin West was born in 1951 and studied Graphic Design and Illustration at various art colleges. His first book, a slim volume of nonsense verse, Out of the Blue from Nowhere, was published by Dennis Dobson in 1976. He went on to write and illustrate some sixty children’s books, and now lives in Sussex and writes and draws for his own amusement, mainly.

However, he has published two rather wonderful collections recently, The Funniest Stuff and Bonkers Ballads, both of which I love, and both of which are stuffed with Colin’s delightfully witty poems and charming, colour illustrations.

Here is one of the poems from The Funniest Stuff:

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My Vulture

I once had a little vulture,
But he didn’t care for Culture,
And to let the whole world know it,
He would peck at any poet.

Though I begged him not to do so,
He would squawk all through Caruso,
And what really seemed a scandal,
Hiccup all the way through Handel.


I once dragged him to a lecture
On Renaissance architecture,
But he found the subject boring,
So he spent the whole time snoring.


When at last I took my vulture
To a show of modern sculpture,
Twenty times he yawned, I counted,
So I had him stuffed and mounted.

Poem and illustrations © Colin West

Click on the title of the post if you are on the home page to be taken to the post’s page where you will be able to comment. Thank you!

You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

W is for Celia Warren, Children’s Poet and Anthologiser, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

NewYearSP_3_

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Celia Warren

Celia has been writing poetry ever since she learned to read, and has been published since the early 1990s in hundreds of children’s anthologies, at home and abroad, and shortlisted and commended in various competitions. Her collections are all for young children and many of her poems and stories form infant readers in mainstream school reading programmes all over the world. She has compiled two anthologies: The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife Poems illustrated by a range of fabulous artists, (Bloomsbury) and A Time to Speak and a Time to Listen (Schofield and Sims). Celia loves reading and performing her poems to anyone who’ll listen! Her website is here.

I have heard lovely Celia perform and I know everyone enjoys listening! I am also party to the fact she is very partial to worms. In fact her last book, Don’t Poke a Worm till it Wriggles illustrated by Sean Longcroft, A&C Black, is all about them.

Here’s a poem from that collection:

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Flexi-Worms

Twenty soily centimetres underneath the ground
flexi-worms are exercising, writhing round and round,
strengthening their muscles in gymnastic pursuits
as they wiggle-weave and zig-zag in between the roots.

Tiptoe on the grass now – don’t make a sound;
mustn’t wake the worms up deep underground:
worn out with workouts they’re curling up to sleep
thirty dirty centimetres underneath our feet!
Sssshhhhh!

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© Celia Warren

You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

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Posted in Poetry News

Win a Copy of Apes to Zebras, an A-Z of Shape Poems!

Wow. It’s pretty gorgeous, isn’t it? I am so PROUD of this book, written with my lovely poet friends Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens. We worked very hard on this book – and Bloomsbury have done us proud. It’s for 8 and up, but children as young as 3 have been enjoying it, because the words are in shapes, apparently! Here is a link to the latest of it’s fab reviews, this one from The Reader Teacher.

Bloomsbury are giving one away in the UK – all you have to do is click on the link to enter.

“WIN a copy of our gorgeous new poetry book by @Lizpoet @SueHardyDawson and @PoetryZone PLUS a sumptuous A3 print and fun postcards by liking and sharing our pinned Facebook post by Thursday 22nd March!”

Click here to enter: http://bit.ly/2DvIFuy

Good luck!

Posted in Introduction

Welcome to Poetry Roundabout!

Hello! I’m Liz Brownlee, and I’ve set up Poetry Roundabout to be the go-to place to find anything and everything about poetry for young people. Here you will find interviews with the best children’s poets, poetry news, how to write poems, poems of course, and poetry book reviews… and more besides! For teachers, young people’s poets, and poets who are young people!

Teachers, Editors, Publishers, people who wish to employ a poet – at the top in the tabs you will find an A-Z of poets and their poems from the UK, US and round the world, and a tab for poets who do free 15 minute Skype visits.