M is for Children’s Poets Roger McGough, Trevor Millum, Michaela Morgan, Brian Moses, Cheryl Moskowitz, and Laura Mucha, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA
Laura Mucha worked as a face painter, studied flying trapeze, philosophy and psychology, and swam in Antarctica before becoming a lawyer. Now she spends most of her time playing with words. Her poetry has been published in books, magazines and newspapers around the world, and she’s performed on BBC Radio, at festivals and in schools. In 2016, she won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize. You can read and listen to Laura’s poetry here.
This is one of Laura’s great poems:
Cheryl Moskowitz writes for adults and children. She loves going in to schools to get pupils, teachers and parents writing their own poems! Her poems for children have appeared in recent anthologies, Is This a Poem? illustrated by Spike Gerrell (Bloomsbury, ed. Roger Stevens) Wonderland: Alice in Poetry, illustrations by Tenniel, (Macmillan, ed. Michaela Morgan) and Watchers of the Skies, illustrated by Emma Wright (The Emma Press, eds. Rachel Piercey & Emma Wright). Her popular collection of poems about home, school and everything in between, Can It Be About Me?, illustrated by Ros Asquith, is published by Janetta Otter-Barry Books. Her website is here.
Here is one of Cheryl’s poems from Can it be About Me?:
Brian Moses has been a professional children’s poet since 1988. He has over 200 books published including volumes of his own poetry such as A Cat Called Elvis and Lost Magic: The Very Best of Brian Moses (both Macmillan and illustrated by Chris Garbutt), anthologies such as The Secret Lives of Teachers and Aliens Stole My Underpants (both Macmillan) as well as picture books. Over 1 million copies of Brian’s poetry books have now been sold by Macmillan. His poem ‘Walking With My Iguana’ is one of the most listened to poems on the Poetry Archive. Brian has visited well over 3,000 schools to run writing workshops and perform his own poetry and percussion shows in the UK and abroad; CBBC once commissioned him to write a poem for the Queen’s 80th birthday! His website is here, blog is here, and Twitter is here.
Brian is a kind and indefatigable supporter of children’s poets and poetry. Here is one of his fab poems:
All The Things You Can Say to Places in the UK
Always say ‘Ta’ to Leamington Spa,
say ‘Have a nice day’ to Whitley Bay.
You can shout ‘What’s new?’ or even ‘Howdo’
to inhabitants of Looe or Crew.
You can tell the whole story in Tobermory,
say ‘Hi’ to Rye and ‘Right on’ to Brighton,
or call out ‘Let’s go’ to Plymouth Ho.
Talk through your dreams in Milton Keynes,
say ‘It’s all for the best’ in Haverfordwest.
Always say ‘yes’ when you visit Skegness
but only say ‘No’ in Llandudno.
Don’t tell a lie to the Island of Skye
or say ‘It smells’ in Tunbridge Wells.
Don’t talk rude if you’re down in Bude
or start to get gabby in Waltham Abbey.
Don’t ever plead in Berwick on Tweed
or say ‘You look ill’ to Burgess Hill.
You could lose your voice and talk with your hands
when you take a trip to Camber Sands,
but whatever you say just won’t impress
the inhabitants of Shoeburyness.
© Brian Moses
Michaela has had over 140 titles published including poetry, picture books, junior novels and non-fiction. She is a regular visitor to schools, has been shortlisted for the BBC Blue Peter Award (twice), and has won a UKRA (now UKLA) award, and many others. Her 2016 poetry book Wonderland: Alice in Poetry, illustrations by Tenniel, was shortlisted for the prestigious CLiPPA Award for poetry and her 2017 collection Reaching the Stars: Poems About Extraordinary Women and Girls co-authored with Jan Dean and Liz Brownlee has just won the North Somerset Teachers’ Award. She is about to release a newly updated and extended third edition of How To Teach Poetry: Writing Workshops, in which she stresses the importance of poetry across the curriculum.
Michaela is great fun – here is one of her great more serious poems from Reaching the Stars:
A girl with a book.
A girl with a book.
That’s what has scared them –
A girl, with a book.
They get onto the bus.
They call out my name.
They aim. And they fire.
A shot to the brain.
Because a girl with a book,
A girl with a voice,
A girl with a brain,
A girl with a choice,
A girl with a plan
To have rights, like a man.
That’s what they’re scared of
One girl, with a book.
A girl who has words.
A girl with a pen.
A girl to be heard
With support of her friends
Who want to live free –
That’s what they fear
a girl just like me.
© Michaela Morgan
Trevor is a writer and performer of short stories and poems for children and has published lots of other stuff too. His poems are widely published and anthologised. He is also an experienced workshop leader and is well known for his work on creativity and developing the use of ICT in English. His website is here.
Here’s ‘Sunday in the Yarm Fard’ from his book, A Stegosaurus is for Life and other Animal Poems, illustrated by Elaine Hill.
Spring in the Yarm Fard
The mat keowed
The mow cooed
The bog darked
The kigeon pooed
The squicken chalked
The surds bang
The kwuk dacked
The burch rells chang
And then, after all the dacking and the changing
The chalking and the banging
The darking and the pooing
The keowing and the kooing
There was a mewtiful beaumont
Of queace and pie-ate.
© Trevor Millum
Photo credit: Colin Clarke ARPS
Roger McGough was born in Liverpool and received the Freedom of the City in 2001. President of the Poetry Society, he presents the popular Radio 4 programme Poetry Please, and has published more than a hundred books for both adults and children. His most recent book, 80, which contains 80 of his wonderful poems to celebrate his 80th birthday, is illustrated by the author himself. It is available here. In 2005 he received a CBE from the Queen for his services to literature. His website is here.
I love You Tell Me, illustrated by Korky Paul and written with Michael Rosen. People my age must feel, like me, that they have known him all their lives – he is certainly one of Britain’s best loved poets.
Here is one of his brilliant poems:
The Colour Collector
A stranger called this morning
Dressed all in black and grey
Put every colour into a bag
And carried them away
The goldenness of cornflakes,
The ivory of milk
The silverness of soup spoons,
The see-througness of silk
The greenness of tennis courts
When play has just begun
The orangeness of oranges
Glowing in the sun
The blueness of a dolphin
Nosing through the sea
The redness of the breast,
The yellowy blur of a bee
The creaminess of polar bears
Sliding on the floes
The little piggy pinkness
Of tiny tickly toes
The sky that smiled a rainbow
Now wears a leaden frown
Who’s sobbing in the circus tent?
Wizzo the monochrome clown
A stranger called this morning
He didn’t leave his name
We live now in the shadows
Life will never be the same
© Roger McGough