In MAY 2022 my new book, ‘You Can’t Wear A Poem’, will be released! Pre-orders can be made at the Magic Daisy Bookshop from today – with a discounted price of £5 (£6.99 once released) for anyone who orders before May!
I am so excited to have worked on a second collection and can’t wait to share it with you. Thank you for taking the time to support my writing and happy reading, writing and imagining to you!
I expect I have romanticised the idea of being a writer. I had visions of long afternoons sat in Parisian cafes whilst writing in beautiful notebooks, or writing retreats in quintessentially remote English cottages where I am woken with birdsong and ideas aplenty.
The reality is one of grabbing five minutes at the kitchen table amongst the chaos of life, or starting writing at 8pm after a day of work. Nevertheless, the reality is just as good as the fantasy because I AM WRITING. This month I set myself the challenge of writing a blog post everyday and now that month is almost done I wanted to share the news of a poetry competition I am helping to judge.
If you know a 4-11 year old who wants to have a go at writing poetry then please pass on the information! I love writing, but the teacher in me also loves inspiring others to write. I hope some of my blog posts this month might have done that. I will try and keep them up, but I suspect the frequency will drop a bit next month as I work on a few other projects – including this fab competition:
Conversations with children are great inspiration for poetry. Lots of my poems feature lines which are inspired by phrases or words children have said to me. This poem is a good indication of how my evening went today – if you can’t beat ’em, write poetry about them!
Think about the things children are interested in – you can still cover big “grown up” topics in children’s poetry but it is how you present them on the page that will determine whether they work or not. The poems need to talk to their audience in a way which makes them engage, so why not write from their perspective? How do children talk to each other? How do they talk to adults? How do THEY see the world?
Keep an ear out for interesting phrases or conversations that might work well as poems.
I often use photography with students to inspire poetry ideas. Whether that is showing them photographs someone else has taken, or going on an ideas walk around the space we are in to find something that interests them. This can lead to some brilliant ideas for poems because so much about poetry is observing the world around you and finding your own take on it.
I love taking photographs of our children and, normally, those photographs are of them smiling. Today I took a photograph of their muddy knees instead, and when I got home I wrote this poem. The smiling photos are lovely but there was something magic and different about this photo, which is probably why it inspired me to write.
Have a look through your photographs – do any of them inspire ideas for poems? If not, go for a walk and take a photo of something that interests you, something that calls out to be written about.
Today is Mothers’ Day in the UK. So here is a poem my mum wrote, about her mum. My mum is one of the reasons I write and love poetry. She once woke me up at 5am to tell me about an idea she’d had for a writing project – that kind of excitement and passion for ideas and writing is something I will always be grateful to her for. Now, if only I could be as healthy as her mum, my Nan – then I really would be winning at life…
Have a go at writing a poem about someone who is a different generation to you – they could be older or younger, but think about what interests you or inspires you about that generation and have a go! Remember, you can always share your poems with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This poem was inspired by a drama game of the same name. During the game students take it in turns to perform a simple action (such as brushing their hair) but when asked by someone what they are doing, they have to respond by describing a different action (“I’m eating a pear”) which rhymes. The game takes concentration and imagination and can be lots of fun – because whatever action the student comes up with, the next person has to act out!
I wanted to try writing a poem which worked in the same way but where the reader could imagine a story by reading between the lines. What was the dare in the poem? Did the writer mean to find a bear? How is the bear feeling? Will brushing the bear’s hair work, or is the writer going to be in big trouble? It’s fun writing without answering all the questions for the reader and it works well in poetry to leave that space for the reader to fill in the blank spaces.
Have a go at writing a poem using the same format – “I’m…” where all the words at the end of the lines rhyme.
When we talked about how my husband is half Danish, our son looked at him and, after a pause, asked – ‘Which half?’ – it was such a brilliant question. This poem was born. When I read it to children they always love to tell me about their own heritage and culture, their links to other countries, whether they were born in a different country or they have a great-great-great aunty who once lived in Australia; they always have brilliant stories to tell. They also love to tell me how they are ‘divided’ up – “I’m half English, quarter Irish, quarter Australian and another quarter American!”, one little person once told me!
Write a poem about YOU – what makes you, you? It could be things you like (or things you don’t!), or perhaps you have an interesting story to tell about where you come from? These poems are great to read and share to learn about each other.
On the topic of other countries, WordPress (who my website is made through) reliably informed me yesterday that people from the countries listed below have popped by to take a look – so I just wanted to say, thank you! I still can’t really believe that copies of my poetry book are in Denmark, America and Hong Kong at the moment being read. It is always amazing to hear from people across the planet that they are enjoying my writing – thank you!
Last night as I lay in the bath daydreaming, I had a feeling I’d forgotten something. That feeling stayed in the back of my mind taunting me until I woke up this morning and realised I’d missed a day of my month of daily blogs challenge. So here’s a double whammy.
Firstly, I wanted to share some poetry books I have recently read because they are all completely awesome for different reasons – and one of the things I love about the writing community is how supportive they are of one another. So here are some fab books, for no other reason than that – they’re fab!
If you’d like to follow any of the authors on Twitter then look for:
@DBertulis (Where Do Wishes Go) @JoshuaSeigal (Welcome To My Crazy Life) @JosephACoelho (Poems Aloud) @moses_brian (Lost Magic) @MichaelRosenYes (Many Different Kinds of Love) @WakelingKate (Cloud Soup)
Secondly, here are two brilliant websites for anyone interested in children’s poetry – reading it, writing it, using it as a coaster for your tea (don’t do that!). Poetry Zone (run by Roger Stevens) and The Dirigible Balloon (Jonathan Humble) – who are both hugely passionate about sharing, celebrating and encouraging poetry for children. Click the image to visit the websites!
This is a poem I was working on yesterday for World Poetry Day.
It has proved great fun to think of some of the bizarre and interesting things that one might find at an Imagination Station. Imagination is one of the most valuable resources to tap when writing poetry for children.
Have a go at writing the next stanza of the poem – you have a pattern to follow with the rhyme and the repeated line ‘At the imagination station’ after your four lines – but what happens on those four lines is entirely up to you! Let your imagination run wild.