B is for Children’s Poets Debra Bertulis, Clare Bevan, Ian Billings, Ian Bland, Ed Boxall, Carole Bromley, and Liz Brownlee, #AtoZChallenge, #ZtoA
Liz Brownlee is the children’s poet who collated this A-Z (in answer to a survey in the UK which found teachers were mostly unable to name more than one children’s poet).
Liz is a National Poetry Day Ambassador, hosts this website, and runs the Twitter feed for @kidspoetsummit. Her books include Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, Macmillan, written with Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan, which won the N. Somerset Teachers’ Book awards in 2017, The Same Inside, Poems about Empathy and Friendship, Macmillan, written with Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, and Apes to Zebras, An A-Z of Shape Poems, Bloomsbury, written with Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens. Liz loves doing school visits, library readings, literary festivals etc. and has read in town centres to the Southbank Centre accompanied by her assistance dog, Lola. Her website is here and Twitter is here.
This is a poem from Apes to Zebras, An A-Z of Shape Poems:
.© Liz Brownlee
Carole Bromley lives in York where she has taught in schools, a Sixth Form College and at York University. She now tutors for the Arvon Foundation, the Poetry Society and the Poetry School. She was shortlisted for Manchester Writing for Children Award, and performed at CLiPPA Awards 2016. Her poetry collection for children, Blast Off! illustrated by Cathy Benson, is available here. Carole is available for workshops and readings in schools and at festivals.
Here is her poem!
I’d listened at the door; they were always there,
the daddy with the voice and the enormous chair,
the mummy with the pinny, stirring the vat;
banging his spoon, their spoilt wee brat.
The chance came soon; they were humouring
the kid, swinging him hand to hand,
There there, baby bear let’s leave our bowls,
walk in the forest till the porridge cools.
All the more for me; I walked in from the yard
climbed onto daddy’s chair – far too hard.
You know the score – hard, soft, right
hot, cold, fine; big, small, mine.
Point was I had the whole place to myself,
put telly on, took a bath, rearranged a shelf.
Then it was Who’s been sitting in our chairs,
helping themselves? Beds are for bears
and this one’s bust. Yeah, yeah, fair cop.
But they chased after me and didn’t stop
till jumping out the window was the only way;
and there’s me thinking they’d ask me to stay.
But I’ll be back, you mark my words;
bears living in houses! It’s just absurd;
bears eating porridge, bears wearing frocks –
next time they’re out I’m changing the locks.
© Carole Bromley
Ed Boxall lives in Hastings, a seaside town in the South of England. He is a writer, illustrator, performer and educator and likes to make poems, pictures, stories and songs. He has written and illustrated several picture books but in recent years Ed has realised he loves writing poems best and has his first full collection Me and My Alien Friend which will be published by Troika in 2018. Ed also publishes his work through ‘The Pearbox Press‘. These books are quite unusual black and white picture books that illustrate Ed’s surreal story-poems. Ed’s favourite is High in The Old Oak Tree about a boy who spends his whole life up a tree. He runs workshops, residencies and special events based on his writing and illustration, and performs in schools, arts centres, galleries and at festivals. Ed’s Website is here.
Here is one of Ed’s great poems:
I know there’s glitter in the cupboard,
In perfect brand new tubes,
But I never get to use it,
My mum’s always got an excuse.
She says ‘It’s not long until dinner’
And ‘It always makes such a mess’
I was three when we last used the glitter,
Now I’m nearly ten.
Pencils and paper are fine,
To draw cat faced butterflies
But I really need that glitter
For the comets that blast through the skies.
For the sparkle of the scarecrow’s treasure
The glisten of the monkey’s crown
For the glimmer of the newborn galaxies
Above a Martian mountain town
The stardust that floats through my dreams
Races just out of my reach
But the glitter shut up in the cupboard
Is right there and wants to be free.
©Ed Boxall 2013
Ian Bland has work published by Macmillan, Scholastic, AC Black, Oxford University Press and Hands Up Books to name just a few. His poetry was recently featured on BBC1’s Match of the Day and he has performed many times on regional and national radio. Since 2000 Ian has worked as a professional children’s poet and performer and has visited literally thousands of schools, libraries and festivals both here in the UK and all over the world. Ian’s website, where you can buy copies of his books, is here.
Here is one of his poems:
As well as being poet, Ian is a children’s author and stand-up comic for kids; his stand up show has taken him round the world, including Brunei where he performed for the Sultan’s grandsons. As an educationalist he has also taken his literacy performance and workshop into 3,500 schools. He has 23 books to his credit! His latest poetry book is Lost Property and can be found here. Ian’s website is here, and Twitter here.
Here is one of Ian’s poems!
POEM – DOOR
Dad took our front door
back to the hardware store
He was angry, in a fit.
“Why bring back your door to this hardware store?
It’s odd I have to admit.”
“I brought back this door to this hardware store,
I’m so angry I could spit,
I brought back this door to this hardware store,
‘cos somebody’s already opened it!”
© Ian Billings
Clare fell in love with poetry when she was very young. She started writing poetry of her own and one poem about the horrors of hockey was printed in the school magazine. After that, she wrote song lyrics for a local performance; wrote plays in verse for children; poems about the children she taught; and eventually her poems began to appear in proper anthologies! Now her work is in over a hundred poetry books – and in fiction and poetry books of her own such as Ballerina, Fairy, Mermaid and Princess Poems for Macmillan Children’s Books. Clare loves visiting schools to pass on the joy of reading and writing poetry. Read more about Clare here.
Here is one of Clare’s gorgeous poems:
Who will bring me the hush of a feather ?
“I,” screeched the Barn Owl. “Whatever the weather.
Who will bring me the shadows that flow ?
“I,” snarled the Tiger. “Wherever I go.”
Who will bring me the colours that shine ?
“I,” shrieked the Peacock. “Because they are mine.”
Who will bring me the crash of the wave ?
“I,” sang the Dolphin. “Because I am brave.”
Who will bring me the secrets of night ?
“I,” called the Bat. “By the moon’s silver light.”
Who will bring me the scent of the flower ?
“I,” hummed the Bee. “By the sun’s golden power.”
Who will bring me the waterfall’s gleam ?
“I,” sighed the Minnow. “By river and stream.”
Who will bring me the strength of the small ?
“I,” cried the Spider. “When webs line your wall.”
Who will bring me the shiver of snow ?
“I,” howled the Wolf Cub. “When icicles grow.”
And who will bring me a nest, furry warm ?
“I,” squeaked the Rat. “When we hide from the storm…
But who will care for the Treasures we give ?”
“I,” said the Child.
“For as long as I live.”
© Clare Bevan
Debra Bertulis wanted to be a writer all her life. She now writes children’s poetry, plays and is busy working on a middle grade novel and a collection of her own poetry. As a teacher of speech and drama, Debra is passionate about her work at an outstanding Primary Academy. She has been published in poetry magazines including Caterpillar Magazine, and anthologies, including Is this a Poem? Ed. Roger Stevens, Bloomsbury, and also a recent Bloomsbury Education series by Brian Moses including Poems about the Seasons. Her latest publication is in Joshua Seigal’s upcoming I Bet I can Make you Laugh, Bloomsbury Education. She enjoys visiting schools across the country with Authors Abroad. Her website is here.
Here is one of Debra’s great poems:
Monday built our Snowman
Sitting proud and fat
Tuesday gave him a football scarf
And the warmest woolly hat
Wednesday gave him button eyes
Thursday a carrot nose
Friday gave him sticks for arms
And Saturday more clothes
But Sunday gave bad weather
The sky began to cry
Sunday took our Snowman
We never said goodbye.
© Debra Bertulis (Published in Poems about the Seasons, chosen by Brian Moses) 2015, Wayland