Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; L is for Laura Mucha

My L poet for the poetry feast is the bundle of fun, Laura Mucha. Laura worked as a face painter, studied flying trapeze, philosophy and psychology, and swam in Antarctica before becoming a lawyer. Now she spends most of her time playing with words. Her poetry has been published in books, magazines and newspapers around the world, and she’s performed on BBC Radio, at festivals and in schools. In 2016, she won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize. Laura’s latest book, however, is a non-fiction one about Love – Love Factually. You can read and listen to Laura’s poetry here.

This is the poem Laura sent for us to enjoy:




I’ll show you if broccoli’s jammed in your teeth
or toothpaste is smeared on your lip,
your frowns won’t escape, every face that you make
I’ll reflect – don’t neglect me. Look quick!

Come by, say hello, and I’ll make sure you know
that there’s orange all over your chin,
your eyes need a wipe or your nose needs a blow,
and I’ll even remind you to grin.

So do pop along as I’d love to help out –
as long as you don’t come and gawk.
Just take a quick peek to ensure you look chic,
and then turn around, honey, and walk.


© Laura Mucha


If you’d like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge post, follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter:

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter:

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter:

The 2019 New Poets Prize, for Poets 17-24

The Poetry Business has announced that the 4th New Poets Prize is now open for entry, this year judged by Mary Jean Chan.

The New Poets Prize is a short collection competition for writers between the ages of 17 and 24 (inclusive). This prize is run alongside the renowned International Book & Pamphlet Competition organised by The Poetry Business, which has now been established for 33 years.

You have five weeks to get your entries in! Details here.

Young Poets Network Tree Poetry Competition!

This poetry challenge by The Poetry Society’s Young Poets’ Network is for young poets everywhere to write about trees! It is for writers aged up to 25 based anywhere in the world. The deadline is midnight, Sunday 20 January 2019. So you need to get writing now – you can send as many poems as you like, written down, or a recording as a video, or as an audio file.

Selected poets will be published on Young Poets Network and sent an exclusive Young Poets Network notebook as well as poetry goodies. The Woodland Trust have also kindly contributed a special print of Robert Macfarlane’s poem ‘Heartwood’ for the top three winners.

There are 7 prompts on the website, details here.

Young Poets’ Network Poetry Challenge

Young Poets Network have set another poetry competition!

Could you be one of the Bletchley set? Poet So Mayer takes goes into the Bletchley Park archives and invites young poets everywhere to try a number of cleverly coded writing exercises. Write in response to one or more of these, or simply write a poem inspired by the work at Bletchley Park and email Young Poets Network with your work for the chance to be published in an anthology!

Details here.

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

O is for Swedish Poet Tommy Olofsson, #AtoZChallenge #AtoA


Tommy Olofsson

Tommy Olofsson is an author and a literary critic as well as a Professor emeritus of Creative Writing. He made his debut as a poet in 1970 and has since published twelve collections of poetry, most recently Attack mot intigheten (2009). His poetry has been translated into a dozen languages and published in separate volumes in two languages, English and Polish. A selection of his poetry, Elemental Poems, was published 1991 in the U.S., translated by Jean E. Pearson.


Here is the first poem I read by him – it was first published in the book above, but I read it in This Same Sky, poems collected by Naomi Shihab Nye, one of my favourite books of poems from around the world for young people:


The Shadow Inside Me 


Night has driven the shadow

into my own body. It’s an inward

robe that stretches its arms


and legs into my limbs, whispers

like silk along my spine,

turns darker and darker until it


finally comes off in me as the colour

of sleep, behind whose eyelids

two black flames are flickering


© Tommy Olofsson, Translated by Jean Pearson (First published in Elemental Poems, White Pine Press.)

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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

Z is for Young People’s Poet and Performer Benjamin Zephaniah, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA


Benjamin Zephaniah

Dr Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah was born and raised in Birmingham, England. Amazingly, he is dyslexic, and when he left school at 13, he couldn’t read or write; but by 15 he had a strong following in Handsworth for his accessible poetry, strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls ‘street politics’. His poetry book for children, Talking Turkeys, illustrated by The Point, was an immediate bestseller. He has also written several novels aimed specifically at teenagers, as well as several collections of poetry. Benjamin Zephaniah’s website with all his books on is here, and he is available through United Agents.

Here is a brilliant poem, reproduced by kind permission of Benjamin Zephaniah. It appears in his book Wicked World, illustrated by Sarah Symonds, published by Puffin Books.




To walk to

To talk to

To cry and rely on,

People will always need people.

To love and to miss

To hug and to kiss,

It’s useful to have other people.

To whom will you moan

If you’re all alone,

It’s so hard to share

When no one is there,

There’s not much to do

When there’s no one but you,

People will always need people.


To please

To tease

To put you at ease,

People will always need people.

To make life appealing

And give life some meaning.

It’s useful to have other people,

If you need a change

To whom will you turn,

If you need a lesson

From whom will you learn,

If you need to play

You’ll know why I say

People will always need people.


As girlfriends

As boyfriends,

From Bombay

To Ostend,

People will always need people.

To have friendly fights with

And share tasty bites with,

It’s useful to have other people,

People live in families

Gangs, posses and packs,

It seems we need company

Before we relax,

So stop making enemies

And let’s face the facts,

People will always need people,


People will always need people.


© Benjamin Zephaniah (This poem is taken from the book Wicked World, published by Puffin Books. Reproduced with the permission of Benjamin Zephaniah.)

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

If you’d like to see some more Blogs from the A-Z Challenge, click the link on the A-Z Blog Challenge 2018 logo in the right-hand column.

Wanted – A Warwickshire Young Poet Laureate!

Could you be Young Poet Laureate?

Applications are open for Young Poet Laureate 2018

Are you aged 13 – 17?

Would you like to develop your poetry writing skills?

Could you perform to audiences?

Then apply to be Warwickshire’s Young Poet Laureate.

The position of Young Poet Laureate is unique, giving the appointed person an opportunity to work with Warwickshire Libraries.

Our poet laureate takes part in events and activities across the county under the mentorship of a professional poet.

Warwickshire Young Poet Laureates have performed on the radio, on film, at festivals and led their own poetry workshops.”

Details here: Warwickshire Libraries.