Review … Head in the Clouds

Head in the Clouds by Charlie Bown Published in Chasing Clouds … Adventures in a Poetry Balloon (The Dirigible Balloon and Yorkshire Times Publishing 2022) Illustration by Em Humble Teacher says,Get your head out,Right out,Out of the clouds. Nothing good can comeFrom having a headStuck in the clouds,He says. Before I take my headOut of…

Book Review … Steve Whitaker takes a look at Chasing Clouds

Chasing Clouds … Adventures in a Poetry Balloon, published late in November, has just received its first review from that knowledgeable chap and all-round lovely human, Steve Whitaker of the Yorkshire Times. The link to the full review is here and, needless to say, I am incredibly pleased with Mr Whitaker’s perceptive and lyrical take…

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…

Someone ought to make an anthology out of this line-up … Dirigibility

How to Conjure a Poem in Eight Easy Steps (Julie Anna Douglas) A Poem Is Like A Balloon (Philip Ardagh)     Head in the Clouds (Charlie Bown)              Suitcase Poem (Michael Rosen)                    Recipe For Flying (Julie Stevens)                Ballerina Cherry Tree (Stephanie Henson)      River Morning Walk (A.F. Harrold)                 Tell it to the Bees (Carole Bromley)            Disco Bumblebee (Dale…

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…

December Update … news from the mesosphere

The last winter poem has been uploaded along with sound files sent by poets and the Dirigible Balloon is almost set up for Christmas. A feature on the artistic and poetic genius that is Colin West has yet to be released (the man himself has kindly offered further unseen gems which will be added to…

Two weeks to lift-off

It is now two weeks until the official launch of The Dirigible Balloon. The idea of an online publication featuring the best poetry for children from both established and new poets has moved on and is becoming a reality. We have twelve poets contributing over thirty poems altogether for the inaugural issue … but perhaps…

Doggerel for the Discerning

Over at that wonderful organ, The Yorkshire Times, another poem in the ‘Doggerel’ series has surfaced. Last week, the title poem from ‘My Camel’s Name Is Brian’ was front and centre (copy and link below with a favourite photo of Ian McMillan at Tullie House last year), but today we’ve gone for ‘The Thoughtful Little…

Wings On Windermere

In the year since the pandemic hit the headlines and the world altered forever, we have all had to adapt. Face masks, social distancing, frequent basic hand sanitation routines, lockdowns, furloughs, Zoom meetings, government road maps, mass vaccinations etc. have become familiar on the landscape of daily life. One aspect which affected my teaching more…

The Tripe Hound Of Little Ormstonmere

So pleased that the Yorkshire Times are going to give some of my dafter poems a regular weekly airing as Doggerel for the Discerning starting with the classic Tripe Hound of Little Ormstonmere … #TripePoetry The Tripe Hound Of Little Ormstonmere Amongst the dark foreboding hills of ancient Lancashire,the eerie howls rolled down the moors…

Countdown To The Kendal Poetry Festival …

I miss going to live poetry events: meeting friends, visiting the bookstalls, the bustle for perfect seats, listening to poets you admire while nursing a glass of wine (beer, coffee, hot chocolate etc.) and being inspired to try and improve your own stuff at the end of it all … So, in these times of…

Yorkshire Times Article: Goole Revisited

As a child in the sixties, I lived and played down Jefferson Street in the Port of Goole. Home was handily placed for an unpaid job as ball boy with the town’s football team at The Pleasure Grounds. We could hear the busy railway lines that ran from Kingston Upon Hull to Doncaster (the same…