Hello, I’m Liz – this is my personal website; if you want poetry information, lesson plans, poetry writing ideas, interviews with other poets etc., then please see my other website, Poetry Roundabout. This is poetry information about me, me, me, and also poetry celebrations!
Out now, Being Me, Poems About Thoughts Worries and Feelings written by me, Matt Goodfellow and Laura Mucha, Otter-Barry Books, is a book full of poems to support the mental health of young people – especially relevant this week, #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
For our launch we shared some of the poems read by young people – and a lovely job they made of performing them. Here is Sophia, and What to do With Worries by me.
I’m very much looking forward to April 1st; not a day I normally think of quite so warmly, as usually that’s the day I am bamboozled and baffplussed by ridiculous statements from otherwise excellent sources.
But THIS April the 1st is the publication date of this beautiful book, Shaping the World, the first anthology I have edited. It is full of poems and facts about people who have helped shaped the world, twenty women and twenty men, and each poem is in the shape of its subject.
Nearer the time I’ll post a taster of what’s inside! But I am very excited about it!
This is from a series of videos we made in 2015 for the theme of Light for NPD. This poem is also about a vision of beauty. She Walks in Beauty, by George Lord Byron, read by people in Bristol who work with light.
We filmed this poem in 2015 for National Poetry Day’s theme of Light – but it fits with Vision beautifully! The wonderful poem Dazzle Dance amazingly performed by Lydia Elisabeth Wild, fire performer.
This poem was filmed as part of a Family Poetry Exhibition for Bristol Poetry Festival, all material for which is still available.
Here’s something a little different – a video without me in! This was filmed a while ago in a different world when poets could get together and we could film them reading poems! This is the wonderful John Dougherty and Pink!
It’s NPD, and I’m posting poems and poetry videos on the theme of Vision.
Here’s a poem with questions for the moon – her sky is very different from ours! No colourful sunsets or sunrises with no atmosphere, the sun will be off and then – on! No clouds, and her dark side never sees the Earth as she keeps one side forever towards us. When we see a full moon, the moon sees a sliver of us, and the other way around.
A version of this poem is in Moonstruck! Poems About Our Moon, edited by Roger Stevens and illustrated by Ed Boxall.
Questions for the Moon
Does the silent moon sleep soundly
when her two week day is done
and dark falls with no colours
to switch off her spotlight sun
or does she gaze up at the Earth
as it waxes and it wanes
full Earth to crescent Earth
to disappear and come again?
The sleeping moon is woken
at end of lunar night
when her white sun rises suddenly
in a bright and cloudless white –
does she wonder as she gazes
in a moony kind of way
at the earthlight and its patterns
changing through the night and day?
Image © Reema Mantri
Tomorrow is National Poetry Day! Being a National Poetry Day Ambassador, I will be posting poems and videos here and on my sister blog, Poetry Roundabout on this year’s theme of Vision.
Here is a poem I wrote for a book edited by Brian Moses, called The Cowpat-Throwing Contest, and Other Sporting Poems. The illustration is by David Pattison.
I am putting up some posts from the past about extraordinary people of colour. #blacklivesmatter
By Scurlock Studio (Washington, D.C.) (photographers). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Madam C. J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove, the last of six children, on December 23rd, 1867, in Louisiana.
Sarah’s parents and four older brothers and one sister were slaves on Robert W. Burney’s Madison Parish plantation, but Sarah was born a free child, as the Emancipation Proclamation was signed before her birth.
Her mum died when she was 5 and her dad died when she was 7 – she lived with her older sister Louvenia, and brother-in-law Jesse Powell in Mississippi, and became a domestic servant at the age of 10.
She married at the age of 14, and had one daughter, Lelia, who was 2 when her husband died – she remarried but left this husband and moved to Missouri. There she married again, Charles Joseph Walker, a newspaper advertising salesman. Although she eventually divorced him in 1912, she kept his name and became known as Madam C. J. Walker.
In 1888 she moved to Saint Louis, Missouri, where three of her brothers, who were barbers, lived. She learned about hair care from them, and ended up selling hair care products for an African hair care entrepreneur, Annie Turbo Malone.
Sarah began to adapt the products and develop her own product line. From there, she started her own career.
Between 1911 and 1919, during the height of her career, Sarah and her company employed several thousand women as sales agents for its products, and employed 20,000 women selling products door to door. She also understood the power of advertising and harnessed this to advertise in African American newspapers and magazines.
She encouraged her employees by giving prizes to the best sales agents – helped other black women build their own careers, and rewarded those who made the largest contributions to charities in their communities.
She became a political activist, promoting black interests, and donating money to black causes. Profits from her business helped her donate to many causes and in 1918 the National Association of Coloured Women’s Clubs honoured her for making the largest individual contribution to help preserve Frederick Douglass’s Anacostia house. She pledged $5,000 to the NAACP’s anti-lynching fund. At the time it was the largest gift the NAACP had ever received. She also bequeathed nearly $100,000 to orphanages, institutions, and individuals and her will directed two-thirds of future net profits of her estate to charity.
She was one of the wealthiest African American women in the US, the WORLD’S MOST SUCCESSFUL FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR of her time, (let alone most successful black woman!) and one of the most successful African-American business owners ever.
She died on May 25th, 1919.
Eventually, by the 1920s, her empire expanded as far as Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Panama, and Costa Rica, carried on by her daughter.
The firm is still going today strong today as evidenced by their reply to my tweet of this post! Hooray!
If you’d like to read about more extraordinary women, why not buy the book Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, by me, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan.