Young Writers Poetry Competition!

Young Writers have a new poetry competition, I Have a Dream, words to change the world.

Young people aged 11-18 are invited to write a poem inspired by their hopes, dreams and visions for the future.

Who inspires you? What are your hopes and aspirations for the future? You can write a poem in any style sharing your visions for a better world.

All details here.

Quicky Poetry Ideas for Teachers: Similes – what colour is your heart?

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

is dappled

like the leopard

that hides in the grasses.

 

Have fun! This poem can be done with many variations.

Quickie Poetry Ideas for Teachers

Wanting a quick idea to practise using nouns, verbs, and adjectives?

the grass

glitters

its forest

Carol Bevitt, Susan Eames, Helen Laycock

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:

 

The Volcano

belched

behind a hand of smoke

 

Susan Eames, Helen Laycock, Liz Brownlee

 

Tadpoles

wriggle

into frogs

 

Sherri Turner, Carol Bevitt, Helen Laycock

 

A bee

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.

Painting Poems by Julie Anna Douglas.

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

 

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

 

Book Review: Welcome to my Crazy Life, Joshua Seigal

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.

Book Review: How Many Points for a Panda?, Hilda Offen

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.

Book Review: There’s a Crocodile in the House, Paul Cookson

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.

Book Review: The Magic of Mums, Justin Coe

The Magic of Mums, Justin Coe, Illustrator Steve Wells, Pub. Otter-Barry.

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:

 

Itchy Mum

 

Mum gave me fun and gave me laughter.

She gave me all the things I asked for,

tasty sweets

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

 

 

 

 

Review: Bright Bursts of Colour, Matt Goodfellow

Bright Bursts of Colour, Matt Goodfellow, Illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff, pub. Bloomsbury.

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

© Matt Goodfellow

 

Strest

 

Charlie never cries

 

not even

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

to hospital.

 

Charlie never cries

 

not even

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

we’d

revised

revised

revised

for,

Charlie sighed

flicked through the pages

for ages

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

shoulders shaking

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,

 

the day

Charlie

cried.

 

© Matt Goodfellow

Charles Ghigna’s Dear Poet

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:

 

1V

 

When in need

of the poem,

go write it.

 

But do not think

you are

needed.

 

There is no

need

for the poet.

 

There is only

need

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!

More information can be read in the spotlight on Charles Ghigna, here. His website is here.

YorkMix Poems For Children Competition!

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!

Details here.

I Bet I Can Make You Laugh, Poems by Joshua Seigal and Friends

 

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.

 

DogMatic

 

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.