Day 11 – Questions and Answers

Question and Answer poems are so much fun to write! You don’t have to separate out the questions and answers like I have – they can follow one another like a conversation.

If I asked you, “What’s your favourite colour?” you might answer ‘Red’ or ‘Green’. Try answering that question again with your poet hat on.

What’s your favourite colour?
It’s the forests and valleys. The grass beneath my toes.
It’s a strawberry fresh for picking. The moon, blood-angry with the sun.

Have a go at writing some question and answer poetry. You can use these question prompts to get you started.

Where does the sun go at night?
How far away is the moon?
Why does the morning bird sing?
Where is the missing sock?

Day 10 – My Stick (By Sasha Kuntz)

Today is a little bit different because instead of one of my poems, I am sharing writing from another author who has been in touch. I am delighted to share Sasha’s poem, ‘My Stick’, which was inspired by the ‘Treasure’ prompt from my Day 7 post.

One of the wonderful things I’ve noticed since reaching out to the writing community via Facebook and Twitter, is how wonderfully supportive they are of one another. It is certainly one of the happier parts of the internet and it is a pleasure to pass on some of that writing support to another poet today.

It can be really scary to share your writing with people, especially a stranger! So thank you to Sasha for getting in touch and for your fab poem:

March 9th – Earwig

I wrote this poem when our son misheard the word ‘earache’ and refused to believe me when I said it wasn’t ‘earwig’. Combined with his mispronunciation of the word ‘antibiotics’ it was a poem waiting to happen.

(It’s also true that my mum used to say that we should wear our hats to avoid earache – I have no idea if that is medically sound advice, or just something parents say – like watching too much television makes your eyes go square.)

Children often mispronounce words. Did you mispronounce any when you were younger? My little brother said ‘Heliplopter’ instead of ‘Helicopter’ which we like to remind him sometimes now he’s a grown up doing grown up things.

One of the things I love about writing children’s poetry is the fun that is to be found when playing with words and language. Children do this naturally as they are learning to speak. Have a go at writing a poem with some mispronounced or misused words and see what you can come up with.

Remember, you can always email me any poems – I’d love to see them and share them on here!

charliebownauthor@outlook.com

March 7th – Lionel’s Entourage Mirage

I wrote this poem as part of a competition, using a word prompt. The word I was given was ‘entourage’.

The first thing I did was read a definition of the word:

ENTOURAGE
noun

  1. a group of people attending or surrounding an important person. “an entourage of loyal courtiers”

Then I created a mind-map around the definition, taking each part in turn.

‘A group of people’ – what if they weren’t people? Who else might they be?

‘surrounding’ – for what reason? Could it be sinister? Funny? How close could they get?

‘an important person’ – Why is the person (or animal) important? Are they only important to the entourage?

I then thought about what entourage meant to me. It meant celebrity culture – adoring fans surrounding a popular singer or actor.

All these questions and thoughts helped me get to the stage where I had the idea for this poem.

‘A group of people’ (fleas) ‘surrounding’ (living on) ‘an important person’ (Lionel). Poor Lionel, who has adoring fans by day who take photos and upload them to social media, but is left alone at night with his real entourage – his fleas.

A writing prompt can be a fun way into a poem – especially if you take the time to really think about all the different ways that word could be interpreted. Have a go with one of the following words:

adopted

treasure

disaster

March 6th – The Cold

This poem is great fun to perform – you can even throw in a few well timed sneezes of your own.

Have a go at writing a poem with only two words on each line. Try and keep the endings the same. Your first line is:

Chicken Pox

March 5th – Boys Can’t Be A Princess

I loved writing this poem and I really enjoy reading it with children. The ending always makes them laugh and it’s great fun to have two people read the poem as a conversation.

Have a go at writing a conversation poem. Who might be talking? Could it be a conversation between a parent and child – what if they swap traditional roles? Maybe the child could be telling the parent off for being silly… my son does this a lot to me!

What about a conversation poem between animals, or inanimate objects? Imagine what a pair of shoes or a bowl of fruit might have a conversation about – there is lots of fun to be had!

March 4th – Dinosaur

Depending on how confident children feel with drama activities, this activity can be done in a group or as individuals.

If working in a group ask children to choose an animal – living, extinct or fictional. Working together they have to create the animal using their bodies, working together to move around the space. Once they feel confident moving as a team encourage them to add sound effects, then give them different challenges to act out. How would your animal eat? Sleep? Interact with other animals in the room?

Once you’ve had fun exploring the animals, create word banks using the drama to guide you. To extend the activity think about what the animal might represent (Lions = bravery, Foxes = sly etc) can you add those characteristics into the poem? What happens if you reverse them – write a poem about a shy lion or a kind fox.

Use “If I were a…” as the poem’s starting prompt.

March 3rd – The Crocodile Lady

I wrote The Crocodile Lady whilst visiting a Crocodile farm (who knew they existed!) near our house. After looking at the crocodiles we went for a walk in the nearby forest and stumbled across a wooden hut. It was abandoned and almost hidden in greenery, but it caught our eye as we walked past.

I imagined who might live there if this was a story. The Crocodile Lady was born. I suppose it might also act as a cautionary tale – stranger danger and the old ‘don’t go with someone just because they offer you sweets’ phrase that parents parrot out to small children.

Many children enjoy reading and writing scary poems. Make a word bank of creepy, horrible words and then create a character to describe.

Perhaps you will choose a monster or a beast. But what would happen if you wrote a terrifying tale about a hamster or a bunny rabbit? Sometimes contrasting a character with traits you wouldn’t expect can be a lot a fun!

The Hideous Hedgehog or The Blood-Curdling Butterfly…

March 2nd – The Potion

The Potion is a list poem. They are one of my favourite types of poem to read and write. This one was inspired by children’s bath time but they can be about absolutely anything!

Ian McMillan wrote one called ‘Ten Things Found in a Wizard’s Pocket’ and Colin West wrote one called ‘Socks’ – you should check it out – I bet you never knew there were so many types of sock!

Why not have a go at writing your own list poem? This can work well in the classroom as a starter activity with each child writing just one line to add to a shared poem.

How about ‘A List of Things I’ve Forgotten’ or ‘Times I’ve felt Scared’. You could write a poem called ‘Things I’d take to the Moon’ – I’d take some crackers to have with all that cheese.

For an extra challenge try using your list poem to tell a story – at the end of The Potion we can imagine bath time coming to an abrupt end. What will happen at the end of your poem?