Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

S is for Children’s Poet and Author Roger Stevens, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Roger Stevens

Roger Stevens has had nearly 40 books published: novels, numerous solo poetry collections and edited poetry collections. His most recent books are The Same Inside: Poems about Empathy and Friendship (Macmillan); The Waggiest Tails: Poems Written by Dogs illustrated by Ed Boxall, (Otter-Barry) and Apes to Zebras: an A – Z of Shape Poems illustrated by Lorna Scobie (Bloomsbury). When not writing, he visits schools, libraries and festivals performing his work and running workshops for young people and teachers. He is a National Poetry Day Ambassador for the Forward Arts Foundation, a founding member of the Able Writers scheme with Brian Moses; and runs the award-winning and most excellent poetry website PoetryZone, here, for children and teachers.

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Roger is a dear friend and a tireless supporter of children’s poets and poetry. Here is one of his fab poems!

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The Brown Bear

 

In the dark wood

In a clearing

Sleeps a brown bear

Dreaming, dreaming

 

His skin is furless

His paws are clawless

He walks into the city

Lawless, lawless

 

The moon is hidden

The clouds are weeping

A princess slumbers

Sleeping, sleeping

 

The thief creeps through

The royal bedroom

And steals her ruby

A priceless heirloom

 

The ruby glows

With fire and lightning

A spell is cast

So frightening, frightening

 

The thief grows fur

His body thickens

His hands grow claws

He sickens, sickens

 

Beneath the black sky

Thunder rumbles

Into the dark wood

He stumbles, stumbles

 

For in the ruby,

Gleaming, gleaming

A wizard’s mind

Is scheming, scheming

 

Now, in the dark wood

In a clearing

Sleeps a brown bear

Dreaming, dreaming

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© Roger Stevens (First published in Moondust and Mystery. Chosen by John Foster. OUP, 2002)

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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, Poetry Competition

AMAZING #AtoZChallenge of Children’s Poets STARTS tomorrow! Find out about the COMPETITION!

Above is just a mini-glimpse of the fabulous children’s poets who will be showcased in this year’s #AtoZBlogChallenge on Poetry Roundabout and Liz Brownlee poet. Every day there will a new post of one to nine poets for that day’s letter of the alphabet. BUT – I am not going from A-Z! I am going from Z to A! Then at the end of the challenge, all my posts will read from A-Z.

After April finishes, the posts of British Poets and US and World Poets will be put A-Z in separate pages above the title on this blog. These lists will become permanent resources for poets and teachers and industry professionals and – anyone interested in children’s poetry!

There is a COMPETITION! For those in the UK, four of the poets in the list DO NOT EXIST! They are completely made up! Four real poets in the A-Z have made anagrams of their names and posted a false bio and other information and have written a special poem for their alter-ego. You have to work out which poets have an alter-ego! Get all four right and you stand a chance of winning a copy of Apes to Zebras, an A-Z of Shape Poems by me, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens; Animal Shape Poems for 9 to adult. A beautiful, glossy hardback.

You cannot enter until the A-Z has finished, because you need all the names of the poets to work out the answers. Unless you think you can guess because you know a lot of poets! The judges decision is final. You will be picked at random from all the entries. Please email your answers, with answers, name, email and home address, to poetryfunfactory @ gmail.com. Please follow poetry roundabout. You won’t miss a post, then! Follow me here on Twitter or Children’s Poetry Summit here on Twitter for more children’s poetry news – maybe some clues? Who knows. But share, share, share and spread the love! Thank you, see you on the challenge!

Posted in Poetry Competition

Happy Book Birthday to us!

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♫🎶♪♩🎶       Happy book-birthday to us      🎵♩♪♫🎶

🎶♪♩♬     happy book-birthday to us     ♬♩🎶♪

🎶♩♬     happy book-birthday to Liz, Sue and Rog-er    ♬♩🎶

♬♫🎵♬♪♩🎶       happy book-birthday toooooo US!       🎵♬🎶♩🎶

Yes, it’s out TODAY! And there is still time to win one if you click and share on social media: Win a book!

Posted in World Poetry Day

Happy #WorldPoetryDay! Celebrating with the mini-film, Poets are Everywhere!

Happy World Poetry Day!

To celebrate, here is a video of Poets are Everywhere, featuring poets Liz Brownlee, the late and wonderful Gerard Benson, Catherine Benson, Jane Clarke, Sue Hardy-Dawson, Andrea Shavick, Roger Stevens, and Philip Waddell. Written by the poets, with extra verses by Jan Dean, Michaela Morgan and Graham Denton. Filmed on location in Bristol, thanks to Blackwell’s Bookshop and Bristol City Museum.

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!

A Christmas Poetry Competition on PoetryZone!

Roger Stevens’ excellent PoetryZone has a new competition – Write a Poem for Christmas.

It can be a funny, sad or serious poem. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, send a poem about the holidays, or about winter.

Poems can be long, short, rhyming or non-rhyming, and in any style. You may enter as many poems as you like. But remember, Roger is looking for originality.

Three winners aged 7 and under will win copies of Joshua Seigal’s Little Lemur Laughing Three winners aged 8 or over will win copies of Joshua Seigal’s I Don’t Like Poetry. 

All the details here on PoetryZone. Get writing!

Posted in Poet's Piece

Three Simple Steps to Perk Up Your Poems by Roger Stevens

Roger Stevens carries a notebook everywhere he goes; I have seen his notebook in glimpses over the years, and it is packed full of notes, poem workings, observations, ideas, drawings… it is all you need to write a poem seen through Roger’s eyes and poured out onto pages. It’s like raw diamonds and rocks with seams of gold in dug out of the ground. It’s probably worth MILLIONS. If poetry paid well that is. Roger has run The PoetryZone since 1998, full of really interesting poetry things, such as children’s poetry, reviews of children’s poetry books, and poetry teaching resources. Children can send in poems and if they are good enough get them published there – and Roger runs poetry competitions, the next is due very soon! More details below from Roger – along with how to finish a poem!

Here at Poetry Zone HQ we receive some wonderful poems, written by children and teenagers. But I am often disappointed because a poem which is actually quite good feels incomplete or just needs a few final touches which would change it from a nice piece of writing into something excellent.  So, if you have written a poem and you are ready to send it to The Poetry Zone – or you’re going to enter it into a competition, or you are just writing it for school, or for pleasure – here are three simple things you can do to take your poem on to the elevator and up to the next level.

  1. Ask yourself: Does the poem say what I want it to say? Does it make sense? It’s amazing how many poems are sent to the Poetry Zone that make no sense at all. Why? I don’t know! A poem may arrive with a last line missing. Or the author may have added a couple of lines just because they want to finish with a rhyme. But, unless it’s meant to be a nonsense poem, a poem must really make sense. Making sure your poem says something is more important than making it rhyme. Sometimes I can tell that the author didn’t read the poem through properly. I always ask someone else to read my poems and stories before I send them anywhere. So, first rule – CHECK IT MAKES SENSE.
  2. Read your poem to make sure it has rhythm. For me, rhythm is the most important element of a poem. It is certainly more important than rhyme. Does your poem flow nicely? Does it have a beat? Are there any awkward words or phrases that interrupt its flow? My rule here is to READ THE POEM OUT LOUD before you send it; read it to someone else. You will hear whether or not it has rhythm and they will tell you if they get a sense of the meaning of the poem.
  3. Check your spelling and punctuation. Generally speaking, you don’t need commas or full stops at the end of lines. Usually the end of each line of a poem signifies a natural break, or the meaning runs into the next line. So there is no need for a comma or full stop unless you need punctuation to make the meaning of the line clear. You might like to use the convention of beginning every line of the poem with a capital letter – or you might prefer to use capital letters as you would when writing prose. The important thing here is to be consistent. And finally on this topic, two bugbears of mine. Firstly use a capital letter when writing in the first person. For example – ‘I wrote a poem’ NOT ‘i wrote a poem’. Secondly learn how to use there, their and they’re. There refers to a place. It’s over there. It even has the word ‘here’ in it to help you remember. Here and there. Their means something belongs to someone . This is ‘their’ story. One way to remember is to change the sentence – if you can change it to ‘my’ or ‘your’ then it’s ‘their’. This is my story, this is your story . . . And they’re is a shortened form of they are. Hence the apostrophe.

I hope you found that useful. There are lots of other things you can do to make your poetry better, of course. You can find more advice on the Poetry Zone or from other websites or poets on the internet. But follow these three simple rules and you’ll notice a real improvement.

So, do send your poems to The Poetry Zone . Do enter our competitions. And do watch out for our special 20th anniversary celebrations next year, in 2018. Good luck. (www.poetryzone.co.uk)

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: