Bookshelf Poetry

The Poets at FCBG 2019!

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It’s been a week since the Federation Conference and one special event, which makes me smile every time I remember it, was the poets’ session on Friday night.

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If anyone ever needed a reminder that poetry can be fun, moving, lyrical and magical, then this was it. Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee, Laura Mucha, Ed Boxall, Brian Moses, Zaro Weil and John Dougherty combined their considerable talents and entertained us royally.

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Each performed a selection of their poems, covering a variety of styles. The whole audience was completely captivated and enjoyed every moment!

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As a finale, the group performed together, combining music with their poetry to become a poetry supergroup! There was so much joy and laughter in the room- proving poetry is really good for you!

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Roger and Liz were winners of our 2018 Poetry Category (with Sue Hardy-Dawson) with ‘Apes to Zebras’ (read our review here) and Zaro was shortlisted with ‘Firecrackers’ (review here). Liz was also a winner in 2017 with ‘Reaching the Stars’ (review here). We have lots of reviews of poetry books on the website - there really is something for everyone!

The Waggiest Tails- Poems Written by Dogs with help from Brian Moses and Roger Stevens

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Who doesn’t love a dog? Who doesn’t love these two amazing poets? Mix them together and you get a wonderful collection of poems about precious pooches which are full of personality, pathos and humour!

With the final of ‘Strictly’ on tonight, it would be rude not to mention ‘My Dancing Friends’! This poem introduces a whole range of breeds of dogs and the dances at which they shine. Lots of alliterative word play and ticklish rhymes make the poem great fun to read aloud! It could inspire poems about breeds of other animals and their favourite pursuits- cats and their crafts perhaps!

‘Rescue Dog’, on the other hand, is deeply moving. Exploring the former life of a rescue dog, it would be an excellent poem to use for an assembly or PSHE lesson encouraging empathy and understanding. This need for patience and support could equally apply to humans. Brian Moses offers hope for the rescued dog if time, space and warmth are given.

Using kennings, ‘What I Am’ is a wonderful exploration of the perfect canine companion! This format is great for having fun and exploring the essence of something. There is so much to discuss and enjoy here- and children love describing their pets, friends or family members using this style!

Full of wonderful illustrations, this is a fabulous, fun collection of poems with something for everyone!

The Waggiest Tails Brian Moses and Roger Stevens, illustrated by Ed Boxall

Otter-Barry ISBN: 978-1910959893

Poems to Live Your Life By

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Most of us have a favourite poem- or a snatch of one- that we treasure. Many of these seem to live with us from our schooldays, something which reinforces the importance of providing opportunities to explore and enjoy poems as part of any curriculum.

There are a number of poetry collections available at the moment, but this little volume is particularly beautiful in both presentation and content. Quite simply, Chris Riddell has selected some of his favourite poems and has illustrated them in his unique style.

Organised into sections like ‘Love’, ‘Youth’ and ‘War’, there is a carefully balanced mixture of very well-known and lesser- known poems from different periods. Tennyson’s ‘Lady of Shalott’, Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ and Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 are here in all their wonder and beauty. Here too, is A F Harrold’s poignant poem, ‘I Miss You’, which makes me cry every time I read it. Rachel Rooney’s ‘The Language of Cat’ is another gem not to be missed nor Neil Gaiman’s ‘Witch Work’, each stunningly illustrated.

A collection to treasure and a collection to share, ‘Poems To Live Your Life By’ would make an excellent Christmas - or Jólabókaflóð- present for someone special.

Poems to Live Your Life By Chris Riddell

Macmillian Children’s ISBN: 978-1509814374