Sunday, 22 April 2012

Casting the Net

This blog is having a rest while we try to figure out how to improve it! meanwhile - some final words from Sue.

Try this write down everything that comes into your head for a few minutes. When you’ve finished underline any words you’ve written that really interest you or make a clear picture in your head. Add words the first words made you think of.

Sometimes I get caught in a rhythm or find two unlikely words to cobble together and make a really unusual image. Try arranging your words in short sentences. What you will have now is a first draft. It may or may not turn into something wonderful don’t worry about it. Do this several times. Play with them then put them away until you can’t remember exactly what you wrote. Then read them again and somehow magically you will see. Most poems are better looked at a few days or even months later.

Very occasionally poems almost write themselves. Mostly they’ve been bouncing around in a secret place my head others appear after a strong feeling like a sort of brain volcano. I have at least one poem, the snake one as it happens, that I only changed a couple of words from first to final draft. But mostly it’s a bit like casting a net into the sea and seeing what it pulls in. And just like the net there’ll be the odd fish or if I’m really lucky there’ll be something unusual, beautiful even, along with a dearth of pebbles, driftwood, bits of sandy glass and maybe an odd shoe.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Other Wayne Rooney

by Jan Dean

Think of a famous person – alive now, or someone from history.
Hmm… shall I choose Julius Caesar or Wayne Rooney? What about Cleopatra, Boudicca, or maybe Lady Gaga…?
Let's choose Wayne Rooney.

Now think about why Rooney is famous. What great things has he done? What do you imagine his life 
to be like? Think about the differences between your life and Rooney’s life. Write some of them down.

The Other Wayne Rooney
I cannot run for 90 minutes
can’t weave through the opposition
like a needle through cloth
when I kick a ball
it doesn’t cannon
into any net
may hit the target
may not
I don’t have any fans
my Mum likes me
does that count?
I don’t think my brothers too keen
can’t dribble
can’t head
can’t mark or tackle
I am the other Wayne Rooney
the one who fed fish fingers
to the penguins in the zoo

Hmmm. .. Not sure about the last two lines. It might be better to end with ‘I am the other Wayne 
Rooney’. What do you think?
I quite like this ‘other’ idea. If I write one about someone from history I might have to do a bit of 
research to find stuff out about them to use in the poem.

Do you know anyone with the same name as you? Are you one of 5 Jacks in your class, or one of 3 Jessicas down your street? Why not write a poem about which one you are?
…I am not the Jack who threw the brick
or the one who can wiggle his ears.
I am the Jack with the small black cat…

Or I might invent a person – or several people:

I am the other Frank Mulligan.
I did not eat a motor bike,
or wrestle an alligator.
I am the Frank who trained for years
To be a gladiator.

See - there’s no need for the ‘other one’ to always be less interesting.

I am not the Evie White who goes to Blackdown Primary School
I am the famous Evie White who synchros in the swimming pool.
I am amazing Evie White, Olympic Champion. Supercool.

Have a go. You could write a rhyming poem like the one above, or a non-rhymer like the Rooney poem. And you might share the results here.


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

New Book Reviews

See our book review (above) for new books by Roger Stevens and Brian Moses as well as Ian Bland and Philip Waddell

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Song of Winter

The cold weather is coming! So, here's an idea for teachers. (Or you might try your own version.)  Wrap up warm. Take children outside to record their impressions of all they see, hear, feel etc... Back inside write down as many winter-related words, ideas, phrases that they can. Give them just five minutes to do this! Work fast. Then write the first draft from winter's point of view. Each line starts... I am... Finally shape the lines, and order them, into a poem. My example is below. (My poem rhymes - but theirs/yours doesn't have to.) Good luck. 

I Am the Song of Winter
Roger Stevens

I am the beard of icicles
That hang beneath the eaves

I am the rock-hard mud
The frosty crunch of frozen leaves

I am the chilly wind that searches out
The cracks around the door

I am the wet scarf on the radiator
The puddle on the floor

I am the bustling of the birds
The seeds thrown in the snow

I’m the blue tit on the bacon rind
The patience of the crow

I am trees drawn with a fine black nib
Against a troubled sky

I am a pensioner. All alone
As another day creeps by

I’m the awesome silence
When the final snowflake’s fallen

I am the halo round the moon
The dark the day has stolen

Yes, I’m the gloomy afternoon
The leeching of the light

I am the growling, howling song
The wind sings in the night

Sometimes I’m hot buttered toast
As the snowstorm roars outside

But sometimes I’m untimely death
And the feeling hope has died

Monday, 23 January 2012

A Metaphor Speaks for Itself

by Celia Warren

Well, a metaphor doesn't literally speak for itself, as it has no voice. To say a metaphor speaks for itself is personification, a particular type of metaphor, where an inanimate object displays human characteristics; in this case the power of speech.

Power is the operative word. It is why we so often use figurative language: it makes what we have to say more powerful. The image becomes stronger, more memorable and has greater impact on the reader. For example, I could say that I put my hands in my pockets. I could say that I clenched my fists inside my pockets. Or I could say (as I did in my popular poem, Left Out) “My hands are rocks in my pocket”. The metaphor adds weight to the image I'm creating.

Sometimes, when you are writing a poem, it is fun to experiment with an extended metaphor. That is where the imagery continues along a theme. Let's have a go at creating a short descriptive poem using an extended metaphor. We'll start with something simple:

The moon is a round cheese.

Now we'll explore that cheesy image further. Where is the moon? (in the night sky) Where is the cheese? (on a plate). Okay, let's try:

The moon is a round cheese
on a deep blue plate.

Can we say a bit more about the moon?

The moon is a round cheese
on a deep blue plate
that twinkles with grated crumbs.

Hmm. Well, it's not a great poem (more a grated one), but it's a start. Why don't you create your own metaphor for the moon and play around with developing an extended metaphor? Share your poems with us, if you like.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Swimming With Trout

New Year Resolutions 2012

Hi there! Well, this blog has been going over a year now – and we’re all still here, although the rate of new entries has slowed down a bit! I’m intending a bit of a shake up soon. (Watch this space.)

Have a wonderful 2012. May you swim with trout. Meantime - here are a few of our new year resolutions. Have you made any this year? –
Roger Stevens

My New Year Resolution Number 1: Not to make New Year's Resolutions. Only disappointment and a sense of failure comes with them. Number 2: To follow my own good advice re not making Resolutions. - Michaela Morgan

1: To be dafter – daft and wonky both make good poems.  (Don’t let my family see this – they already think my daft and wonky are off the scale.) 2: To be more awake when I’m doing ordinary things. Then I’ll squeeze all the juice out of everyday experiences, enjoy them more and have more material for writing. That’s a double whammy! - Jan Dean

I never remember to carry out my resolutions. This year I made a resolution
to carry out my resolution when I made a resolution. And decided NOT to make a resolution so I didn’t have to carry it out. Then I remembered - I wanted to carry a notebook at all times to write all the ideas I forget when I don’t have a notebook
to note them down in. So I've made a resolution to carry out my resolution to carry out my notebook, and thus carry out my resolution and carry out a notebook for the first time ever, after all.
If I remember. - Liz Brownlee

I resolve not to complain at the drop of a hat.
I resolve not to drop my hat. Bernard Young

1: To spend more time searching for the ends of rainbows.
2: To swim with trout so they're not as jealous of dolphins. 
3: To get rid of some of my old books so the house doesn't explode
- Sue Hardy-Dawson

1: To write a poem in tiny words on each finger nail.
2: To buy a magnifying glass.
3: To learn each poem by heart.
4: To cut my nails.
5: To see how many finger-nail poems I can remember.
6: To stop being so silly.
The End. - Celia Warren

This Year… Be Kind to Animals

Agree with aardvarks
Be nice to bees
Cook for caterpillars
Dance with dolphins
Entertain elephants
Frolic with frogs
Giggle with gorillas
Holiday with hippos
Inspire iguanas
Joke with jackals
Kiss koalas
Lunch with llamas
Motivate moose
Natter to numbats
Organise owls
Play with platypi
Queue with quail
Read to rabbits
Snuggle with snakes
Tickle terrapins
Understand unicorns
Value vultures
Wave at whales
eXercise with oXen
Yodel with yaks
and let zizzing zebras zzzzzzzzzz
-Jane Clarke

And finally, for the grown-ups...

Not get drunk
Not be rude
Not eat chocolate
Or other nice food
Cut down on drugs
Fags and caffeine
But wait until   
- Andrea Shavick.

Monday, 19 December 2011

A Poem Is Not Just For Christmas

A poem is not just for Christmas
A poem is for life
It’s for a child, a mum or dad
A husband or a wife

It’s for the changing seasons
For the many, for the few
But this poem is for Christmas
This poem is just for you

Roger Stevens

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone. And a happy new year. From all the secret poets.