If you’d like to read my interview with lovely Joshua Seigal in the wonderful Books for Keeps Magazine, it is here:
Here’s a quickie simile poem idea.
The poem is a description of the person writing it, they should describe each part in the most surprising, and positive way they can. They must be as complimentary as possible about themselves. Each colour should be true, the description of the colour can be as vivid as they like.
Line one describes their hair colour, line two describes that colour further with a simile
Line three describes their eye colour, line four describes that colour with a simile.
Line five describes their skin colour, and line six further describes that colour with a simile.
Line 7 describes the colour of their hearts. This can be ANY colour. Line eight will be a simile again, and can be of anything, but animals work very well.
The colours of me!
My hair is brown
like conkers in the sun
my eyes are brown
as autumn nuts
my skin is paler pink
than summer buds
and my heart
like the leopard
that hides in the grasses.
Have fun! This poem can be done with many variations.
Wanting a quick idea to practise using nouns, verbs, and adjectives?
I call these tribbles. Ask your class to write a noun, a nature word, on the top of a piece of paper.
Ask them to pass that paper to the child behind them, or at a suitable distance.
The new child then adds an action on the next line. You can, if you wish, have a pool of verbs for them to draw from on the whiteboard, so obvious verbs are not chosen. This can also be achieved if the first child folds their paper so the noun is not visible.
Then the paper is passed on again to another child who writes the conclusion, based on the first two words. Ask them to use a noun or an adjective and a noun in the last line, and to keep it as short as possible.
Show them these examples to give them the idea:
behind a hand of smoke
fuzzbuzzes its way
up the lupins
Liz Brownlee, Sherri Turner, Liz Brownlee
Then get them to pass the poems on again to be read out. These little poems give a great feeling of achievement, don’t take long and usually yield excellent results – hope you enjoy them! They can be displayed in many ways and if you choose connected initial nouns can be put together to make into longer poems.
Julie Anna’s first book is a bright and positive collection full of promise, which is beautifully illustrated in a variety of styles. At its heart is the idea that creativity sparks creativity, and this is something I believe in passionately – at the end are a number of ideas to help you write your own poems, produce your own artwork and models, and interact with the poems in the book. You can buy Painting Poems here.
Here is my favourite from the book:
Whiskers appears in my garden each morning
just as I’m leaving for school.
Bright eyes flicker through the lavender
full of the wisdom of the woods.
Black-tipped ears glisten in the sunlight,
searching for whispers on the breeze.
Elegant, graceful, poised.
Standing still and serene.
We pause for a golden moment
shared in silence.
Frozen in time
until we blink back to life.
© Julie Anna Douglas
Welcome to my Crazy Life, Joshua Seigal, illustrated by Chris Piascik, Pub. Bloomsbury.
Full of jokes, great fun! Some nice poems about reading, writing and poetry in here, perfect for the classroom, to instigate discussion. Lots of familiar situations, not-so-familiar situations, and darned ridiculous situations, this book is bound to please. Recommended.
How Many Points for a Panda?, Hilda Offen, Pub. Troika.
This is a book of delightful poems, charmingly and richly illustrated by the author herself, who was CLiPPA shortlisted in 2015. Fantasy and magical poems jostle with the real world wistful and humorous (I laughed out loud several times). Contains poems to please and poems to stretch – recommended.
There’s a Crocodile in the House, Paul Cookson, pictures by Liz Million, Pub. Otter-Barry.
Paul Cookson is renowned for his audience-snaring participation poetry performances, and fittingly, these are mostly poems with a purpose – to read out loud with young children, complete with actions and sound effects. Some of them come complete with handy performance suggestions, perfect for use with little ones in the classroom.
Mums to admire, mums to entrance, mums who fuss and some football-mum chants – every type of mum, even a dad who’s a part-time mum, is within these poems from Justin Coe.
This lovely book is the partner to his popular Dictionary of Dads, published by Otter-Barry in 2017.
Children will enjoy finding the poetry version of their own mum in these pages, and schools will certainly never be without a great poem for Mothers’ Day – there’s a good range of styles, personalities and aspects of motherhood covered!
Recommended. Here’s a taster:
Mum gave me fun and gave me laughter.
She gave me all the things I asked for,
and trips and treats.
I gave her… nits for Christmas.
When I felt scared she helped me flourish,
when I was ill she gave me courage.
When I had troubles
she gave me cuddles.
I gave her nits for Christmas.
So while she gave without a limit,
her heart and everything within it,
I brought the louse
into the house.
I gave her nits for Christmas.
The advice she gave she gave with love.
I gave her lice that sucked her blood,
eggs that hatched
and made her scratch.
I gave her nits for Christmas.
There were other gifts. I gave her germs
and once I gave her bottom worms.
She thanked me – not,
but to top the lot,
I gave her nits. FOR CHRISTMAS.
© Justin Coe
I knew I’d love this book, having seen a few sneak peeks, and I did. I didn’t want to start reading because then I knew I’d get to the end and would regret not being able to read it for the first time again.
Matt has provided a book with bright bursts of his ability to illustrate the essential with the everyday, his sense of humour with the absurd and poignancy with poems that contain a planet-full of empathy.
Many moods, many colours, many laughs – everything you could possibly want in a poetry book, in a range of styles. I enjoyed every single poem. This book is very much recommended. I insist you buy it right now.
Two poems to illustrate Matt’s range below – one that made me laugh, and one that made me cry!
A Special Badger
I’m a special kind of badger
in a special badger den
writing special badger poems
with my special badger pen
learning special badger lessons
in a special badger school
earning special badger kudos
for my special badger cool
wearing special badger badges
saying badgers are the best
passing special badger interviews
and special badger tests
drinking special badger coffee
from a special badger mug
but my special badger problem:
I am actually a slug
Charlie never cries
when he came down the slide
too fast in Year 5
and broke his wrist.
Miss couldn’t believe it;
he even smiled and waved
to our class across the playground
when Mr Smith drove him off
Charlie never cries
when his gran died –
he was back in school
the next day
said he was fine,
he’d survive –
but you could see it
in the shadows
of his eyes.
Charlie never cries
but when it was time
for the reading paper
flicked through the pages
put his pen down.
Miss appeared at his side
saying try your best, Charlie
it’s just a test, Charlie
and he looked over at me
and I swear I could see
right inside his mind
and it was dark
and he was hiding
and he knew
he couldn’t do
what they wanted
him to do
however hard he tried.
And I’ll never forget
the day of the test,
© Matt Goodfellow
Dear Poet, Notes to a Young Writer by Charles Ghigna – a Poetic Journey into the Creative Process for Readers, Writers, Artists & Dreamers popped through my letterbox just before National Poetry Day/Week.
The book takes the form of short numbered poems on all aspects of writing poetry – set out on a double page spread, the left-hand side the number title, the right-hand side, the poem. I love the feeling of light and space this gives for each poem to breathe inside your head. Here is one of my favourites:
When in need
of the poem,
go write it.
But do not think
There is no
for the poet.
There is only
for the poem.
© Charles Ghigna
I love this. The poet as an observer, recorder, describer. What you feel, see, understand, remember will be personal to you, the reader. There are many such observations throughout the book, the sum of a life well-lived in poetry. Recommended!
Could you write a poem to amuse, excite or inspire children?
You’ve got until midnight on Sunday to enter a poem into the The YorkMix Competition with a chance of winning first prize of £250, with runner-up prizes of £100, £75 and £50. Judged by Carole Bromley.
Get writing! Here’s the link.
Could you write a poem to amuse, excite or inspire children? That’s the challenge as YorkMix launches the YorkMix Poems For Children Competition!
The first prize is £250, with runner-up prizes of £100, £75 and £50, and the poems are judged by Carole Bromley.
If you want to write a children’s poem now is the time to try!
The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is now open! This year’s judges are Raymond Antrobus and Jackie Kay.
This is free to enter to anyone in the world aged 11-17 years. Deadline 31 July 2019.
There’s something in this anthology collected by Joshua Seigal to tickle all funnybones – young or old!
Joshua Seigal is an award-winning poet, performer and educator who uses poetry to develop literacy skills and inspire confidence and creativity in communication.
My favourite poem was my dog, Lola’s, favourite poem. Joshua once wrote a great poem for Lola. She is one of his fans.
I’ve got a new DogMatic
she’s my automatic pet.
Of all the beasts I’ve ever bought
she is the best one yet.
She likes to play outside with me
but sometimes she gets wet,
and then she blows her circuitry
and ends up at the vet.
I’ve got a new DogMatic,
she’s my high-perfomance mate.
Of all the cronies I could own
it’s her I really rate.
I simply click a button
and she starts to calculate
the distance to the park, in metres,
from our garden gate.
I’ve got a new DogMatic –
she’s my electronic chum.
She’s smarter than my sister,
more efficient than my mum.
She has a byte at dinner time
and then, when she is done,
a tiny little microchip
comes plopping out her bum…
© Joshua Seigal
You can buy I Bet I Can Make you Laugh, humorously illustrated by Tim Wesson, here.
Enter this competition to win a set of these wonderful new poetry books, all recommended for National Poetry Day:
Happy Poems by Roger McGough draws together a fantastic collection of upbeat poetry from the very best classic and contemporary poets; Apes to Zebras contains shape poems by favourite children’s poets Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee and Sue Hardy-Dawson, certain to entrance young readers; Rachel Rooney’s new collection A Kid in My Class features stunning illustrations by former UK Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, and every type of kid will find themselves in its pages; The Same Inside is a collection to encourage empathy, with poems covering friendship and togetherness, difference, tolerance, bullying, by Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens; while The Song of the Dodo by Hilda Offen is a vibrant and accessible collection full of funny, thoughtful and surprising poems.
Plus, the prize package will also contain Poetry for a Change, the first ever National Poetry Day anthology. It features new poems by the National Poetry Day Ambassadors, Deborah Alma, Liz Brownlee, John Canfield, Joseph Coelho, Sally Crabtree, Jan Dean, Marjori Lotfi Gill, Chrissie Gittins, Matt Goodfellow, Remi Graves, Sophie Herxheimer, Michaela Morgan, Brian Moses, Cheryl Moskowitz, Abigail Parry, Rachel Piercey, Rachel Rooney, Joshua Seigal, Roger Stevens, Jon Stone, and Kate Wakeling. Each poet has chosen a favourite poem to share too, so you’ll also find classics as well as suggestions for further reading (and writing), making this a collection to enjoy all year round.
To enter email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Poetry for a Change World Book Day NPD competition. The deadline is 14th September 2018.