I previously provided freelance social media advice and coaching for self-employed people - specialising in artists and writers, but I am currently focusing on producing my own art. I have a wide range of experience. My passion is technology and I'm very interested in surface pattern design, symmetrical images, abstract watercolour, intuitive art, social media, blogging, website design, epublishing, digital photography, making videos and recording music.
National Poetry Day, your chance to enjoy, discover and share poems you love, will take place on Thursday 4 October 2018. This year’s theme is Change: use it to start thinking about your celebrations now. Maybe you would like a poet to visit your school and help things along (if so, contact me)? For more information about National Poetry Day and useful resources see: https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/
Here is a poem of mine for people who are thinking they might like a change of career. This poem is in my new book of poems for children ‘What Are You Like?‘.
Career Opportunity: Knight Required
Are you brave, honourable
Do you like wearing metal suits
and enjoy being called Sir?
Then this could be the job for you.
Your duties will include
wielding a sword, jousting
and clanking about.
Preference will be given
to those candidates
who come equipped
with their own warhorse and squire.
If you think
you’ve got what it takes
turn up for an interview
and show us what you can do.
NOTE: Candidates will be left to fight
it out amongst themselves. Castle Management accepts no responsibility
for loss of life or limb.
I had the pleasure of meeting Christina Gabbitas at the Between the Lines Children’s Literature Festival in Sheffield on 24th February. We were both leading sessions. She asked me to be one of the judges of a poetry competition that she is organising, and I agreed. The competition is open to young people aged 7-14. The closing date is 30th April. Schools or individuals can submit poems. Selected poems will be published in a lovely book. Full details are here: http://www.christinagabbitas.com/competition/
World Poetry Day (21 March each year) celebrates and promotes the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry worldwide. The day was declared an official observance day by UNESCO in 1999. But as many countries already had established traditional National Poetry Day’s around October time, this worldwide celebration receives very little publicity in those countries, including the UK. (National Poetry Day is Thursday 4 October 2018 in UK and the theme is Change). I say, the more poetry days, the merrier.
“Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.”
“Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.” (UNESCO website)
You could celebrate World Poetry Day in your school by learning about poems from different cultures, including from pupils’ own cultures. Or investigate different forms of poem, such as the Japanese Haiku or the Arabic Ruba’i.
Here are some teaching resources online that you may find useful:
On Friday 2nd March I spent an enjoyable day at Summerville Primary School in Salford. This was my third Patron of Reading visit to the school in a year, and was timed to be linked to World Book Day. The pupils were excited that I was there again (and so was I). We were building on previous work and now have a rewarding ongoing relationship. It creates a buzz in the school. It is a pleasure for me that I am now seeing familiar faces.
The young people remembered that last time I visited it was anti-bullying week and we had written some odd socks poems. They were keen to tell me that they had worn odd socks the day after I was there.
On this visit, I read poems from my new book, “What Are You Like?”. In the classrooms the pupils asked me questions about being a writer. We talked about the pleasure and importance of reading. Most of the children said they are keen readers. I told them how my parents read to me when I was young and that was what got me interested in reading myself and becoming a writer. I told them that writers were first of all readers.
I think other schools could learn a lot from this Patron of Reading scheme. Inviting a guest into the school several times a year is a good investment to give an extra dimension to the lessons. The on-going relationship reinforces the learning from the previous visits, refreshes ideas in the pupils’ memories.
So thank you Summerville staff and pupils. I look forward to the continuing rewarding Patron of Reading relationship.
What is a Patron of Reading?
A Patron of Reading is a school’s special children’s author, poet, storyteller or illustrator. The school and their patron develop a relationship over a period of time. Everything the patron does is related to helping encourage and develop a reading for pleasure culture in the school: book quizzes, blogs, book recommendations, discussions, plays, poetry bashes, blogs, book trailers and visits. The possibilities are virtually endless.
“This year, to launch our whole school poetry home learning challenge, we welcomed poet Bernard Young into school for World Book Day. He wowed us with some fantastic poetry performances, with guitar accompaniment and wrote poems with classes. We look forward to hearing the children’s own poetry performances over the next few weeks! Children also enjoyed sharing their favourite stories and poems in class. ”
Over 80 tried and tested poems that Bernard regularly uses in primary schools for poetry performances and workshops. Collected together from four books and several anthologies, together with some previously unpublished. Funny, catchy, uplifting, foot tapping, hand clapping, in lots of verse forms and lengths. Something for everyone.
ISBN 978-1-9999173-0-2 Price £5.99 (+£1.80 P&P UK)
Well the country has had a challenging week with the snow and wind, accidents on the roads, people trapped on trains for hours, emergency services stretched to the limit and lots of schools closed. But I would like to thank all of the wonderful staff and pupils of the schools that I have visited this week for such a great time reading, performing and writing poetry.
I had a terrible journey from Manchester to Uttoxeter on Monday for my visit to St Mary’s C of E First School. It should have been less than 2 hours. I set off at 6:30am. I arrived at 11am! There was an accident on the M6 and the traffic just didn’t move at all for 1 hour 45 minutes. But at least I wasn’t stuck in a snow drift. Guess which of my poems I started with when I finally arrived.
Luckily, despite the weather, and having to get up early and clear the snow off my car, I made it to all of my other schools early for the rest of the week and they were open.
On Tuesday I was in Radcliffe-on-Trent Infants and Nursery School, and it was well worth the stay in the hotel just 7 miles away from them. I had a lovely email this morning as feedback from that visit that I would like to share with you.
“Thank you for your visit on Tuesday. I am glad you got home safely. We had snow days Thursday and Friday. The children and staff have been left really enthused by your visit. I had a couple of parents asking on Wednesday too about books so you may have had even more emails! I had a lovely email sent by a parent to the Head and Deputy Head so I thought you might like to read it…
Just wanted to a say a big thank you for organising the Bernard Young poet visit and the interactive sessions with him. Both my kids have been so inspired by him and poetry isn’t something we or they have read much of so been great to show them how poetry can work. Lucy has read every poem to us out the book she bought and loves the fact that it has been signed by him especially for her. Really lovely to see them so excited about it. Thank you, great idea. Please pass onto any other staff who have been involved in making it happen.”
I had great visits too with Bridgewater Primary, Little Hulton, Salford, St Joseph’s Catholic School, Winsford, and my 3rd visit to Summerville Primary School as their Patron of Reading, which I will write about in a separate post.
So all round a great week of poetry in schools and I also sold a good number of my new book, which was only published on 23rd February.
I will be launching my new book of poems for children on Saturday 24th February at the Between The Lines Festival in Sheffield. I will also be doing 2 performances and workshops for families, so if you are in the Sheffield area, please come along.
The new book is titled “What Are You Like?” after the poem below. To order a copy send a message on the form on the books page.
What Are You Like?
I’m like hey
She’s like whoa He’s like ah I’m like ho
She’s like ha He’s like er
I’m like really? She’s like yeah
He’s like eek I’m like shh She’s like um He’s like ugh
I’m like Mmm She’s like eh? He’s like oh I’m like yay