Spaceship Shop Read by Mshirnia

It pays to google yourself from time to time to see who is doing what with your copyrighted work. Found this today. It’s breaking my copyright, but done very nicely.

Hull City of Culture, National Poetry Day and the Theme of Freedom

Freedom definition National Poetry Day Theme 2017 Bernard Young
Please scroll down for lesson ideas, a video and text of my poem.

Hull, City of Culture

I was very pleased when I learnt that Hull was going to be City of Culture for 2017. I’ve visited most schools in Hull over the years, and know the city well. When I stayed a few days in 2016 to visit Thoresby Primary School, the city centre was in a state of major refurbishment in preparation for all of the activities. The arts and cultural programme for the year celebrates the unique character of the city, its people, history and geography. I think it will be very good for the city and people. You can read more about the City of Culture on their website, https://www.hull2017.co.uk/.

National Poetry Day

This year National Poetry Day is on Thursday 28 September – a little earlier than usual. This is because the organisers, Forward Arts Foundation, are working closely with the BBC and Hull City of Culture on “a celebration that will ensure still more are involved closely in enjoying, discovering and sharing poetry, all year round.”

National Poetry Day Theme Freedom 28 Sept 2017

Freedom Theme

The theme of Freedom is prominent in Hull, because of the sadness about previous prosperity linked to the slave trade, and the celebration of William Wilberforce, a native of the city, whose leadership of the movement opposing slavery eventually led to its abolition in the British Empire, through the Slavery Abolition Act 1826.

Throughout the year of culture there are events linked to the theme Freedom, including the Freedom Festival, 1-3 September 2017.

Using the Theme of Freedom on School Visits

Last week I visited Cavendish Primary School in Hull. After giving a performance to the whole school, I led poetry workshops on the theme of Freedom with foundation and year 1 classes before lunch, and with year 4 in the afternoon.

“Lots of lovely feedback from the classes you’ve been with today and we (foundation stage) wrote our own poem in the afternoon.” Karen Richardson, Cavendish School.

I also visited Thoresby Primary School, Hull, in May this year for the third consecutive year. Freedom was a theme we focussed on in 2015. Last year we covered Heroes, and this year we concentrated on one of Hull’s famous daughters, the boxer, Barbara Buttrick (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Buttrick).

Lesson Ideas for Poetry Linked to Freedom

There are some ideas for a lesson using one of my poems below, and more ideas like this are available from the National Poetry Day website, http://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/education/. The suggestion below is intended to be a part of wider lessons and discussion about the definition of freedom and different ways to be free or not free.

Watch this video of my poem ‘Summer‘:

Read the poem aloud again after watching the video (full text below). Ask pupils questions like:

  • How does the poem make you feel?
  • How do you think the person speaking in the poem feels?
  • Have you ever felt this free?
  • What other things do you like doing that make you feel this free?
  • How does the poem sound different being read on the page and having the music and pictures?

Encourage the children to think about words and phrases. Write things they suggest on post-it notes or on the board.

When I work with younger children, we often compose a class poem, with a tune, but music isn’t necessary.

If you use this poem as a model, it doesn’t need to be about football. Your opening line could start with “You” or “We” or “I” and be about another subject.

For example:

  • “I’ve finished doing my homework, and now I’m going to…” or
  • “I’ve finished tidying my room, and now I’m going to…”

For older children, I give the option of working alone, or in a pair or (with the teacher’s approval!) in groups of 3 or 4, to write their own similar poem.

You could ask the students to look at the pattern of this poem, and look at which lines rhyme and which don’t. Also ask them to listen to the rhythm of the syllables.

I find it is also a good part of the lesson if finished poems are read out at the end, either the teacher reading them, or, better still, the writers.

I hope this all gives you some ideas. If you would like me to come along to your school for your own performance and poetry workshops, please contact me.

Summer by Bernard Young

You’ve finished playing football
You’re lying on the grass
Thinking about the goal you scored
Reliving that brilliant pass

Summer is the future
School is in the past
This is a perfect moment
If only it would last

Just you and your mates relaxing
In the heat after the game
Everyone’s a winner
You all feel the same

Summer is the future
School is in the past
This is a perfect moment
If only it could last

This poem is covered by copyright. You may use a copy of it in your class, but not reproduce it in any publication without prior permission. I’d love to see any poems inspired it.

Boxing Day

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Boxing Day

It’s the day to
be a contender
and go the distance

It’s the day to
face the foe
toe to toe

It’s the day to
bob and weave
and float like a butterfly

It’s the day to
ensure
you don’t have a glass jaw

It’s the day to
roll with the punches
and not be out for the count

It’s not the day to
howl
and throw in the towel

Apple Thoughts on Apple Day

a group of apples

Image credit: Apple Gala Golden Delicious Jonathon Orchard CC-BY Jackson’s Orchard https://flic.kr/p/s6RjYb

As it’s Apple Day, I’ve had apples on my mind. Apple Day (21 October every year) was launched by Common Ground in 1990 to celebrate the wide variety of apples and to contemplate the risks of losing the diversity of this wonderful fruit. Apples feature richly in our culture from the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden to the temptation to buy the latest smartphone. These are my thoughts in poetry form.

Apple Thoughts On Apple Day

(i)
Lots of people
love apples.

We’re tempted by the shiny skin
and the lively taste
that lies within.

And we adore the humble apple
in crumbles
and in pies.

(ii)
When I see an innocent apple
hanging from a tree
I make a wish that no mishap’ll
befall him.

(iii)
In my day,
when young people
wanted to experiment with alcohol
they opted for cider.

Do they still?

As a teenage kid
I never did.
I preferred beer.

(iv)
I’m picturing a billionaire businessman
in a shiny green appleskin suit
sitting behind a desk
in the Big Apple,
apple juice running down his chin
as he bites into a big red one.

(v)
The Beatles christened
their company and record label Apple.
I remember ‘Hey Jude’
revolving on the turntable
and watching the Apple logo
go round and round.

Tasty song.

(vi)
Apple Day,
by the way,
is nothing to do with computers.

(vii)
I guess
some people
whose livelihood/ business
is apples

are obsessed
with them?

(viii)
Is it bonkers
to be bananas
about apples?

A Message from two children for National Poetry Day

Poem from Bernard Young visit to a school on National Poetry Day

We had a great time writing messages poems for National Poetry Day at St Paul’s Primary in Worsley today. Well done everyone and keep it up! Here is an example from Amy and Hadley.

Dear Mr Poet
I’m out of ideas,
And don’t I know it,
If I don’t get started,
I’ll be here all night,
And that’s just not right!

Dear Mr Poet
Thanks for the lesson,
To you I owe it,
My ideas were great,
I picked up a pen,
And I wrote it down,
Miss gave it a ten!

Dear Mr Poet
Thanks again

Another Message Poem for National Poetry Day on 6 October

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National Poetry Day takes place the first Thursday in October every year in the UK. Each year there is a theme and this year it is MESSAGES. Here is another poem of mine on that theme to give you some inspiration.

Message From A Miserable Tortoise

To whom it may concern,

Don’t expect
to see me today.

I’m fed up.
Depressed.
Withdrawn.

You can knock as hard as you like.
I’m not coming out.
Not even for a lettuce leaf.

I’m a hard nut to crack.
An unsociable bone.

Leave me alone.

I’m already booked for the actual day of National Poetry Day, but still have some slots that week, if you want to have me come to your school to kick off the creativity, or any other time of year is good too. Just contact me for availability and price.

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A Reassuring Message – Free Teaching Resources for National Poetry Day

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I hope all the teachers out there are having a lovely time still on holiday, sipping ice cold drinks, basking in the sunshine. But for those already thinking about returning back to school and lesson planning, there are some FREE LESSON PLANS and other resources for National Poetry Day on the NPD website.

Maybe a competition will provide some motivation. Here are some to look into:

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National Poetry Day takes place the first Thursday in October every year in the UK. Each year there is a theme and this year it is MESSAGES. Here is a poem of mine on that theme to give you some inspiration.

A Reassuring Message

Anything that’s broken
I will mend

Anything that needs to go
I will send

Anytime you call me
I shall attend

You can ask me anything
I am your friend

I’m already booked for the actual day of National Poetry Day, but still have some slots that week, if you want to have me come to your school to kick off the creativity, or any other time of year is good too. Just contact me for availability and price.

National Poetry Day is the first Thursday in October. Book a Poet www.bernardyoung.co.uk

Messages for National Poetry Day on Thursday 6th October

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National Poetry Day takes place the first Thursday in October every year in the UK. Each year there is a theme and this year it is MESSAGES. Here is a poem of mine on that theme to give you some inspiration.

To The Great Provider

Dear Great Provider,
This is to thank you
for the delicious cheese
you so thoughtfully provide.
Thank you.

However,
(and I do hope this doesn’t seem ungrateful)
would it be possible to place it
by the side of our hole
and not on the spikes
of the thing that snaps
when we take a bite?
That would be most helpful.

It’s just that,
as you may or may not know,
a member of my family
(my precious daughter to be precise)
has not returned from dining out
and we fear her disappearance
may have something to do
with the fierce snappy thing.
It doesn’t like mice!
(This is not a criticism.
We would sooner pull out our own whiskers
than question your unquestionable wisdom.
We know you move in mysterious ways.)

Once again, Great Provider,
thank you for the wonderful cheese.
It’s irresistible.

Yours humbly and appreciatively,
Montague Mouse

This poem appears in my book Wanted Alive, copies are available to buy from this site. More information about National Poetry Day is available on the Forward Arts Foundation website.

Illustration by Jessie Gillick from Wanted Alive

Illustration by Jessie Gillick from Wanted Alive

A busy week for World Book Day 2016

Poem by nursury school class

It’s a busy time for a poet this time of year, and for schools, what with dressing up and doing lots of reading and great creative writing.

The poem in the photo (inspired by my I Like What I Like – see video below) was written with Nursery Children at Audenshaw Primary School, Manchester as a class effort. We performed it at the end of the day to the rest of the school. I was there to celebrate World Book Day 2016 and worked with every age group. A wide variety of excellent poems were written and performed. I had a great time, so thanks to all the staff and pupils for working so hard and for making me very welcome.

In all I visited seven schools just before and during World Book Day Week. Thank you to Abingdon Primary School (Stockport),  Gorton Mount Primary Academy (Manchester) who have a fantastic steel band who played for me, Old Hall Drive Primary Academy (Manchester), Alexandra Park Primary (Stockport), Broadfield Primary (Oldham), and (last but not least) Silverdale Primary Academy (Newcastle-under-Lyme).

Thanks also to Authors Aloud who organised a couple of the bookings.

I like playing in the park
I like tig and hide and seek
I like swimming and paddling
I like what I like I do

I like ice cream and Mexico
I like Sealife and Lego
Let’s say hello to our Leo
We like what we like we do

I like flowers and rainbows
I like hopscotch and videos
I like porridge it fills me up
I like what I like I do

Remembrance

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We comfort one another
We who never learn

The losses continue
The fires still burn

We comfort one another
We who never learn