lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

S is for Children’s Poets Darren Sardelli, Robert Schechter, Joshua Seigal, Andrea Shavick, Marilyn Singer, Lemn Sissay, Roger Stevens, Alan Summers, George Szirtes

George Szirtes

 

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George Szirtes

George Szirtes was born in Hungary in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He trained as an artist and has written over twenty books of poetry in English, some of which have won prizes, such as the Faber Prize, and the T S Eliot Prize, as well as prizes abroad. He has written three books of poetry for children: The Red All Over Riddle Book, (1997), In the Land of the Giants (Salt, 2012, winner of the CLPE Prize) and, most recently How to be a Tiger illustrated by Tim Archbold (Otter-Barry 2016). As well as his own books he has translated many from the Hungarian for which he has also won various international prizes. He is married to artist Clarissa Upchurch and lives in Norfolk.

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Here is one of his great poems:

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How to be a Tiger

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The scary tiger roars and roars,

it slinks through shadows on all fours.

Children beware! Are strange dogs howling?

No, it is the tiger growling.

 

The tiger growls, its eyes ablaze,

but we too have our tiger ways,

we too can pad through the dark wood

of the cosmic neighbourhood.

 

Pretend this is the forest floor.

Pad tiger, pad! Now children, ROAR!

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© George Szirtes

Alan Summers 

 

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Alan Summers 

Alan Summers, Wiltshire, England, is President of the United Haiku and Tanka Society, and co-founder of Call of the Page, here. He

Alan will be bringing out his book Writing Poetry: the haiku way later in 2018.

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Here is one of his award-winning haiku:

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the scent of rain
birdsong stretches
as far as Mars
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© Alan Summers (Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum Selected Haiku Anthology, Japan 2017)

Roger Stevens

 

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Roger Stevens

Roger Stevens has had nearly 40 books published: novels, numerous solo poetry collections and edited poetry collections. His most recent books are The Same Inside: Poems about Empathy and Friendship (Macmillan); The Waggiest Tails: Poems Written by Dogs illustrated by Ed Boxall, (Otter-Barry) and Apes to Zebras: an A – Z of Shape Poems illustrated by Lorna Scobie (Bloomsbury). When not writing, he visits schools, libraries and festivals performing his work and running workshops for young people and teachers. He is a National Poetry Day Ambassador for the Forward Arts Foundation, a founding member of the Able Writers scheme with Brian Moses; and runs the award-winning and most excellent poetry website PoetryZone, here, for children and teachers.

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Roger is a dear friend and a tireless supporter of children’s poets and poetry. Here is one of his fab poems!

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The Brown Bear

 

In the dark wood

In a clearing

Sleeps a brown bear

Dreaming, dreaming

 

His skin is furless

His paws are clawless

He walks into the city

Lawless, lawless

 

The moon is hidden

The clouds are weeping

A princess slumbers

Sleeping, sleeping

 

The thief creeps through

The royal bedroom

And steals her ruby

A priceless heirloom

 

The ruby glows

With fire and lightning

A spell is cast

So frightening, frightening

 

The thief grows fur

His body thickens

His hands grow claws

He sickens, sickens

 

Beneath the black sky

Thunder rumbles

Into the dark wood

He stumbles, stumbles

 

For in the ruby,

Gleaming, gleaming

A wizard’s mind

Is scheming, scheming

 

Now, in the dark wood

In a clearing

Sleeps a brown bear

Dreaming, dreaming

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© Roger Stevens First published in Moondust and Mystery. Chosen by John Foster. OUP. 2002

Lemn Sissay

 

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Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay MBE is author of a series of books of poetry alongside articles, records, broadcasts, public art, commissions and plays. Lemn was the first poet commissioned to write for London Olympics.  His Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London.  They can be seen in The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park. Lemn was official poet for The FA Cup 2015 and his Desert Island Discs was pick of the year for BBC Radio 4 2015. He is Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Patron of The Letterbox Club, Canterbury’s Poet Laureate and he is a regular contributor to radio and television. Lemn’s wonderful poems are frequently included in anthologies for children.

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I have been given free reign to choose any of his poems, so here is one that is included in 100 Brilliant Poems for Children, ed. by Paul Cookson. I have rarely read a poem by Lemn that hasn’t made me want to cry, and this is no exception:

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Let There Be Peace

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Let there be peace

So frowns fly away like an albatross

And skeletons foxtrot from cupboards;

So war correspondents become travel-show presenters

And magpies bring back lost property,

Children, engagement rings, broken things.

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Let there be peace

So storms can go out to sea to be

Angry and return to me calm;

So the broken can rise and dance in the hospitals.

Let the aged Ethiopian man in the grey block of flats

Peer through his window and see Addis before him

So his thrilled outstretched arms become frames

For his dreams.

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Let there be peace

Let tears evaporate to form clouds, cleanse themselves

And fall into reservoirs of drinking water.

Let harsh memories burst into fireworks that melt

In the dark pupils of a child’s eyes

And disappear like shoals of darting silver fish.

And let the waves reach the shore with

Shhhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhh

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© Lemn Sissay (Reproduced by kind permission of the author)

Marilyn Singer

 

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Marilyn Singer

Marilyn Singer was winner of the 2015 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry, and is the author of over one hundred books, many of which are poetry collections; including Feel the Beat: Dance Poems That Zing from Salsa to Swing illustrated by Kristi Valiant, (Dial); and three books of “reversos”: Mirror Mirror, Follow Follow, and Echo Echo, all illustrated by Josee Masse, published by Dial. Marilyn co-hosts the Poetry Blast, which features children’s poets reading their work at conferences. She and her husband, Steve Aronson, live in Brooklyn, NY and Washington, CT, with their pets. Her website is here.

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Here is one of her poems:

 

ALL OVER THE WORLD, DANCING IS JOY

 

All over the world,

dancing

is

joy.

Move your feet.

Spin.

Sway.

Just

feel the beat,

the rhythm.

Find

a partner.

Grab

your shoes.

All you can lose are

the blues.

Dance, dance away.

Now’s your chance!

What do you say?

 

JOY IS DANCING ALL OVER THE WORLD

 

What do you say?

Now’s your chance.

Dance, dance away

the blues.

All you can lose are

your shoes.

Grab

a partner.

Find

the rhythm.

Feel the beat.

Just

sway,

spin,

move your feet.

Joy

Is

dancing

all over the world!

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© Marilyn Singer (From her book Feel the Beat: Dance Poems that Zing from Salsa to Swing, ill. by Kristi Valiant, published by Dial, 2017)

Andrea Shavick

 

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Andrea Shavick

Andrea Shavick is an experienced UK writer with 27 books published including best-selling children’s picture books, funny children’s poetry and a biography of Roald Dahl that’s still in print around the world after 20 years! Her poetry book, Grandma was Eaten by a Shark can be bought here. For freelance writing/commissions please get in touch via Andrea’s website here.

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Here is Andrea’s shark poem!

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Grandma Was Eaten by a Shark!

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Grandma was eaten by a shark

Dad, by a killer whale

And my baby brother got slurped up

By a rather hungry sea snail

 

A cuttlefish cut my mum to bits

An octopus strangled my sister

A jellyfish stung my auntie’s toes

Giving her terrible blisters

 

A pufferfish poisoned my grandpa

A dogfish ate my cat

And then a catfish ate my dog!

I was very upset about that

 

So you go for a swim if you like

Just don’t ask me to come too

I’m staying here with my camera

I can’t wait to see what gets you!

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© Andrea Shavick

Joshua Seigal

 

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Joshua Seigal

Joshua Seigal is a London-based poet, a great performer as you see above, and educator. He has three published books and has performed all over the world. He has held residencies at numerous schools, is an official National Poetry Day Ambassador, and was shortlisted for a National Literacy Trust Award and the Laugh Out Loud Award. Joshua works with children of all ages and abilities, as well as running training days for teachers and doing comedy and spoken word performances for grown ups. His website is here and his book, I don’t Like Poetry, illustrated by Chris Piascik, here.

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Here is the great title poem from that book!

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I Dont LikPoetry

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I don’t like similes.

Every time I try to think of one

my brain feels like a vast, empty desert;

my eyes feel like raisins floating in an ocean;

my fingers feel like sweaty sausages.

I don’t like metaphors.

Whenever I attempt them

a hammer starts beating in my chest;

lava starts bubbling in my veins;

zombies have a fight in my stomach.

I don’t like alliteration.

We learnt about it in school

but it’s seriously, stupendously silly;

definitely drastically difficult;

terribly, troublingly tricky.

I don’t like onomatopoeia.

I wish I could blow it up

with a ZAP! and a BANG! and a CRASH!;

a BOOM! and a CLANG! and a POW!;

a CLASH! and a BAM! and a THUD!

And I don’t like repetition

I don’t like repetition

I don’t like repetition…

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© Joshua Seigal

Robert Schechter

 

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Robert Schechter

Robert Schechter’s children’s poetry has appeared in Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, and various major anthologies. Winner of the 2016 XJ Kennedy Parody Award, his adult poems and translations have been widely published in literary magazines and in weekly humour contests in The Washington Post, The Spectator, The New Statesman, and elsewhere. His website is here.

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Here is one of Robert’s poems:

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The “Just Because” Hug

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Bears will hug you cause they’re mean,
so watch out for their claws!
But I don’t hug you cause I’m nice.
I hug you just because.

There is no rule that says I must.
There are no ‘hugging laws,’
no hidden motives to discuss.
I hug you just because.

I do not hug you to reward
your virtues or your flaws.
Can you guess the reason why
I hug you?  Just because.

When life’s too busy, rushing by,
sometimes I like to pause
and wrap my arms around you.  Why?
I hug you just because.

Just because I have two arms.
Be glad it’s not two paws!
Just because it feels so good,
I hug you.  Just because.

 

© Robert Schechter (From One Minute to Bedtime, Ed. Kenn Nesbitt, Art by Christoph Niemann, Little, Brown and Company)

Darren Sardelli

 

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Darren Sardelli

Darren Sardelli is an award winning poet, motivational speaker, and children’s book author. He makes poetry fun and exciting for everyone. His poems are featured in 18 children’s books in the U.S. and England, and dozens of textbooks (worldwide). Since 2004, Darren has visited more than 600 schools. His assemblies and writing workshops have turned countless students and educators onto poetry. Darren’s poems have been featured on Radio Disney, in best selling books on the Scholastic Book List, and are being used in lesson plans all around the world. His entertaining poems delight, excite, and ignite imaginations everywhere! A link to his book, Galaxy Pizza and Meteor Pie is here.
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Here is one of Darren’s poems:

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Do You Salsa in the Shower

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Do you Salsa in the shower?
Do you Disco in your den?
Do you Boogie in your bedroom?
Is your Twist a perfect 10?

Do you do the Mashed Potato
when you’re cooking up a storm?
Are the Butterfly and Bunny Hop
fun dances to perform?

Do you Shimmy, Shake, and Shuffle
on your lawn on Friday night?
Do the Jitterbug and Foxtrot
fill your heart with pure delight?

Do you like the Hokey Pokey?
Do you Square Dance with your pets?
Do you Mambo and Fandango
in a pair of purple sweats?

Would you Tap Dance on a table?
Would you Moonwalk on the moon?
Would you do the Irish Step Dance
with a leprechaun balloon?

Can you Limbo under lumber?
Do you Dougie in the sea?
Well, whatever kind of dance you do,
Please save the last for me!

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© Darren Sardelli (All Rights Reserved)

2 Comments

  1. Wow, each one became my favorite in turn, but I think the hugs have it!

    Liked by 1 person

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