The Balloon Goes Up … adventures in children’s poetry

I stagger to the counter, an armful of book packages clutched to my chest. “Hello!” I say through the perspex slot. “It’s me again.” Mrs Goggins in the post office leaps into action and five minutes of weighing, printing and sticking begins as post codes and zip codes are checked. While the growing queue behind…

Yorkshire Times Review: What is a Bong Tree? by Michael Rosen

Book Review by Jonathan Humble‘What is a Bong Tree?’ by Michael Rosen (edited by John Richmond)Published by Michael Rosen (February 2022)ISBN 978-1-9999238-6-0 Sometimes, post arrives that lightens the day and puts a spring in your step. ‘What is a Bong Tree?’ a selection of articles and talks by Michael Rosen over several decades, had that…

March Update … the musings of an ex-deputy head teacher

As a teacher who graduated in the 80s, having studied at Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside where a child-centred pedagogy was developed and practised, I spent the early part of my career coping with the imposition of Kenneth Baker’s ‘National Curriculum’. At a meeting with student teachers in late 1987, a junior minister from Margaret…

The Book … a poem for children

A classroom book sat all forlorn, unchosen on the shelfand in its simple way it wondered sadly to itself,how many days or weeks or months or years it must there bide,till any child might pick it up and read the words inside. It knew each boy and girl within the classroom by their namesand through…

Dirigible Balloon and the National Poetry Day

In the last update I said that 50 poems a month would be unsustainable and here we are approaching October with 60 poems being uploaded from 32 poets in the next ‘flight’. All in all, since August 1st 2021 we will have published 155 poems from 57 poets. The submission figures have doubled over the…

To Infinity … KPF 2021 Zooms into the Future

Kendal Poetry Festival 2021 … Poetry For Everyone: a review So I was organising my hot chocolate, arranging with the family my sole and undisputed access to our comfiest armchair, practising my skills on Zoom and looking through the programme on the Kendal Poetry Festival website, when an e-mail pinged into the virtual letterbox from…

December Update

I have recently written two poems. I am very pleased with both. One is a poem for children and the other is not. Both have been entered in competitions (see an earlier blog entry about competitive poetry). To me this feels significant because they are my first creative efforts since leaving school and retiring from…

Last day …

Old Dog Heart racing as if a mile had been lost, at odds with the stillness of a newly emptied room, taking in the failure of pencils on the floor and books left on tables. He sees ghosts, hears the echo of children’s voices, careless and free now it has gone three, oblivious of the…

November 1st 2020 … déjà vu, all over again

Borrowing the above phrase made famous by professional baseball player and undoubted sage Lawrence Peter ‘Yogi’ Berra, we do seem to have been here before. Back in March 2020, when news of the first coronavirus lockdown was sinking in and the UK came to a shuddering halt, I had been deep in preparations for an…

Interview with BBC Radio Cumbria Summer 2020

I have uploaded an edited version of Helen Millican’s radio programme. In the show, we discuss Fledge and the inspiration behind the poems. The interview took place in Lady Wood, Grasmere, about 200 metres along the old coffin route from Dove Cottage in a typical Cumbria downpour under a magnificent beech tree with a torrent…