A Folly of Poets

In May a group of poets got together and recorded some videos of our work. Thanks are due to Liz Brownlee for organising it and to Pete Brownlee for recording and editing the videos.

This is me performing my poem, Love Is Blind:

This is the out-takes from all of the videos:

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Fancy a Change of Job? How about Cowboy Teacher?

Cowboy on horse

I’ve recently had the pleasure of spending some time with Eric Ode (ericode.com), an American singer/songwriter and poet. I knew he’d be the perfect person to read my poem “Wanted Alive: New Teacher For Cowboy School”. This poem appears in my new book, “What Are You Like?”. I think he has done an excellent job for me. Thanks, Eric! I thought it would be a good one for the theme of National Poetry Day this year, which is “Change”. National Poetry Day is on Thursday 4th October 2018.

If you click on the orange arrow in box below, you should be able to hear Eric reading my poem with his wonderful cowboy drawl.

Fancy a change for National Poetry Day? Thursday 4th October 2018

Photo copyright Bernard Young Two Knights fighting

National Poetry Day, your chance to enjoy, discover and share poems you love, will take place on Thursday 4 October 2018. This year’s theme is Change: use it to start thinking about your celebrations now. Maybe you would like a poet to visit your school and help things along (if so, contact me)? For more information about National Poetry Day and useful resources see: https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/

Here is a poem of mine for people who are thinking they might like a change of career. This poem is in my new book of poems for children ‘What Are You Like?‘.

Career Opportunity: Knight Required

Are you brave, honourable
and chivalrous?
Do you like wearing metal suits
and enjoy being called Sir?
Then this could be the job for you.

Your duties will include
wielding a sword, jousting
and clanking about.

Preference will be given
to those candidates
who come equipped
with their own warhorse and squire.

If you think
you’ve got what it takes
turn up for an interview
and show us what you can do.

NOTE: Candidates will be left to fight
it out amongst themselves.
Castle Management accepts no responsibility
for loss of life or limb.

A Chocoholic’s Poem for Easter

Chocolate Fudge Cake photo CC-BY-SA James Petts https://flic.kr/p/bPoDDZ

Chocolate Fudge Cake photo CC-BY-SA James Petts https://flic.kr/p/bPoDDZ

Addict

I don’t choose cheese or chicken
I don’t touch marzipan
Chocolate’s my addiction
I indulge whenever I can

I gobble it for breakfast
I guzzle it for tea
Choc-a-block with chocolate?
Send for me

I may not have my own teeth
I may be overweight
But as a chocolate-chewing chomper
I’m not just good – I’m GREAT!

Please don’t prohibit chocolate
Don’t impose a chocolate ban
‘Cos I’m a chocoholic
A desperate dangerous man

And I need chocolate – NOW!

This poem is in my new book, ‘What Are You Like?’. For signed copies of my book, please contact me via the form on the books page.

Some more chocolate pictures to make your mouths water:

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Video of Absent by Bernard Young

Just received a link today to this video we made a few years ago at a poets retreat. It was fun to make. I’d forgotten all about it.  Absent has been one of my most popular poems.

What Are You Like? New Book with over 80 Poems for Children

I will be launching my new book of poems for children on Saturday 24th February at the Between The Lines Festival in Sheffield. I will also be doing 2 performances and workshops for families, so if you are in the Sheffield area, please come along.

The new book is titled “What Are You Like?” after the poem below. To order a copy send a message on the form on the books page.

What Are You Like?

I’m like hey
She’s like whoa
He’s like ah
I’m like ho

She’s like ha
He’s like er
I’m like really?
She’s like yeah

He’s like eek
I’m like shh
She’s like um
He’s like ugh

I’m like Mmm
She’s like eh?
He’s like oh
I’m like yay

New Video – Anything – Poem Set to Music

We have made a new video over the last few days. I composed a short piece of music to accompany my poem Anything. The poem is about friendship and is suitable for younger children (KS1), but it is likely to appeal to older students (KS2) as well. This poem is in my new book, What Are You Like, which is due for release 23 February 2018.

Karen, my wife, is the guest performer reading the poem and also she made the video. The images are all shared by Creative Commons License. They are credited in the description on YouTube and below the video here.

Images in their order of appearance:

  1. kittens CC-BY-SA Susan https://flic.kr/p/52JU7z
  2. Chicks CC-BY-NC Andy Purvlance https://flic.kr/p/665D8X
  3. Labrador-Puppy CC-BY Tyler Allen https://flic.kr/p/a1gG6S
  4. Baby’s Best Friend CC-BY Brandon Atkinson https://flic.kr/p/96KrY6
  5. Buds CC-BY Juhan Sonin https://flic.kr/p/6DSpcV
  6. kids CC0 klimkin https://pixabay.com/en/kids-girl-pencil-drawing-notebook-1093758/
  7. children CC0 Bess Hamiti https://pixabay.com/en/child-children-girl-happy-people-817369/
  8. Best Friends CC-BY-SA Rod Waddington https://flic.kr/p/Wq9E51
  9. girls whispering CC0 Olichel https://pixabay.com/en/girls-whispering-best-friends-young-914823/
  10. Handsome Indian boys CC-BY Nithi Anand https://flic.kr/p/qpzJmX
  11. Cups Full of Chats CC-BY-NC Mo Riza https://flic.kr/p/3JM8pt
  12. Best friends CC-BY Robert de Bock https://flic.kr/p/UsGxgR
  13. The Cat-Circle of Love CC-BY-NC Gloson Teh https://flic.kr/p/8119Px
  14. Maternal instinct CC-BY-ND Tambako The Jaguar https://flic.kr/p/Muizu

Wearing odd socks for Anti-Bullying Week #AllDifferentAllEqual

photo of feet copyright Bernard Young

Odd Socks Day is designed to be fun! It’s an opportunity for children to express themselves and appreciate individuality and uniqueness! Schools across the country are holding Odd Socks Days as part of Anti-Bullying Week (13th-17th November). I’m looking forward to going to one of my Patron of Reading schools, Summerville Primary School in Salford, tomorrow, where we will be reading and writing poems on an anti-bullying theme.

If you are looking for ideas on how to use poetry for anti-bullying lessons, I listed some resources in a previous post here.

While we are on socks, here’s one of my poems that is from Brilliant and will also be in my new children’s poetry book due to be published soon.

Orange Socks

Orange socks
Orange socks
I’ve seen a girl wearing orange socks

Not blue not black
Not violet not pink

Orange socks
They make me think

of red hot days
the sun up above
when you don’t need your scarf
you don’t need your gloves

Orange socks
Orange socks
Who’s that girl wearing orange socks?

Not brown not grey
Not yellow not green

But the orangiest orange
that I’ve ever seen

Orange socks
I like the style
Orange socks
They make me smile

Orange socks
Orange socks
Glad I saw that girl in those orange socks

Anti-Bullying Week: All Different, All Equal

13th-17th November 2017 is Anti-Bullying Week #AntiBullyingWeek #AllDifferentAllEqual

Poetry is a great way to get young people thinking and talking about the issues and feelings linked to bullying and friendship in a positive and fun way. I’m looking forward to doing poetry workshops at Summerville Primary School in Salford on Thursday 16th November as part of our Patron of Reading relationship. We’ll be reading and writing some poems on this theme.

Anti-Bullying Resources

There are loads of great resources for lessons and activities in school on the theme of anti-bullying for this special week and throughout the year here: http://www.actionwork.com/bullyingresources.html

I’ve listed more resources at the bottom of this post.

A Poem

Below is a poem of mine from “Brilliant” that was also included in an anthology of poems compiled by Brian Moses, “Best of Enemies, Best of Friends” (2011). Even though right on topic, that book is hard to get hold of now. There is a new book due to come out January 2018, “The Same Inside: Poems about Empathy and Friendship” by Liz Brownlee, Roger Stevens and Matt Goodfellow.

I wish I was a robot

When robots are fighting
they don’t feel pain.
They bash one another
again and again.

They clang when they clash
They rattle and crunch.
Have head-on collisions
and don’t stop for lunch.

I wish I was like them
then I’d suffer no pain
when punched and kicked
and punched again.

If I was a robot
I could cope with a lot.
If I was a robot.
But, sadly, I’m not.

The Effect Of Poetry

When children are being bullied they cannot always put their feelings into words. Reading and writing poetry helps them to articulate those feelings. It can help by making them realise that others have felt the same way too. It also can help bullies to have more empathy to change their behaviour.

Even where there are no issues of bullying in your school, focussing on positive messages of what being a good friend is all about is also a great thing to do.  Here is a popular poem of mine, “Best Friends”, in video format:

Odd Socks Day: Monday 13th November

As part of Anti-Bullying Week, on the first day, (Monday 13th November) the organisers are asking schools across the country to hold an ‘Odd Socks Day for Anti-Bullying Week’.

Aimed at early years and primary school children, the day encourages young children to wear odd socks for the day, celebrating their uniqueness. Odd Socks Day is designed to be fun! It’s an opportunity for children to express themselves and appreciate individuality. There is no pressure on the children to wear the latest fashion or for parents to buy expensive costumes. All they have to do to take part is wear odd socks to school, it couldn’t be simpler!

More info: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/63635-anti-bullying-week-2017

Other Poetry Resources on Bullying and Friendship Theme

  1. A downloadable poem by Brian Moses about friendship taken from “Best of Enemies, Best of Friends”. Also included: information about bullying, teaching notes, class discussion activities and worksheets to use in English and PSHE. https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/bullying-and-friendship-6085881 (requires logon to download)
  2. 7 Poems on the Theme of Bullying https://nobullying.com/poems-about-bullying/
  3. Article about catharsis for kids reading or writing poems about bullying by having their feelings articulated http://nobullying.com/bullying-and-poetry/
  4. ‘The Bully’ poem poster from https://education.scholastic.co.uk/resources/7720 (requires logon)
  5. ‘I’ll be there for you’ anti-bullying poem poster from https://education.scholastic.co.uk/resources/60709 (requires logon)

Poster available from https://education.scholastic.co.uk/resources/7720Anti-bulying poem poster available from https://education.scholastic.co.uk/resources/60709

What does it feel like to be in someone else’s shoes? Empathy Heroes Day

A man's foot with a old lady's feet in the background copyright Bernard Young

I’m looking forward to the first Patron of Reading visit to Oldham Hulme Grammar School Juniors on Tuesday. I will be leading poetry workshops using people’s shoes as inspiration for Empathy Heroes Day. I thought I’d repost a poem of mine along these lines as an example. This poem was inspired by the photo above.

The Visitor

When he arrives
she wonders who’s come?
He kisses her cheek
and calls her Mum.

After he’s been
she forgets that he came.
She can’t picture his face
or recall his name.

This poem and photograph was first published on blipfoto.com on 30th May 2013.