Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Soul Feathers

Soul Feathers is an anthology of poetry published by Indigo Dreams in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. It will be available in February 2011 and includes poems from Benjamin Zephaniah, Moniza Alvi, Seamus Heaney and Ruth Padel among others.

You can read more about Soul Feathers here http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/#/soul-feathers/4545520025

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Poetry Book Society

The Poetry Book Society has given Did I Tell You? a feature slot on its website: http://www.poetrybookshoponline.com/poetry_portal/poetry_for_children_in_need

Thanet Event Cancelled

Tomorrow's Did I Tell You? reading event in Broadstairs is cancelled as Maggie is stranded in Wales. We will reschedule in the New Year.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The 'Did I Tell You?' Launch Event...

was a magical evening full of amazing poetry. Over 130 people came along, including over 50 contributors, and we were treated to some wonderful readings, which really brought the poems alive. The readers were:

  • Dorothy Fryd: Dusky
  • Gary Studley: Mine
  • Alison McNaught: Elephant
  • Wendy French: From We Have a Little Sister and She Hath No Breasts (Song of Solomon)
  • Michael Curtis: Christmas Concert
  • Megan Watkins: Sharing a Shell
  • Vanessa Gebbie: Her on the Corner
  • Mark Holihan: It’s Rose
  • Victoria-Anne Bulley: The Photograph
  • Vicky Wilson: Migration
  • Abegail Morley: Make Me Love You
  • Nicky Gould: The Spoils of War
  • Daphne Gloag: The Children’s Charity Concert: Matter and Antimatter
  • Sue Rose: The Labour Room
  • Patricia Debney: Half Shell for Molly
  • Lorraine Kashdan-Lougher: My Daughter Taught Me Gravity
  • Harriet Proudfoot: Bone Vibrations, Harvest
  • Lyn White: Robert’s Blossom
  • Jeremy Page: Seeing Cats
  • Jo Field: Mirror Moons
  • David Herd: And Some Might Call It Singing

Saturday, 13 November 2010

'Did I Tell You?' in action!

Myra Schneider and Janice Fixter read their poems from Did I Tell You? at the Poets Anonymous Festival in October. Myra Schneider

Janice Fixter

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Black Swan by Roger James

Black Swan

You took your time coming. It’s 44 degrees
in the Blue Mountains, Eucalyptus explodes
as you struggle up and down your mum’s stomach,
banging on her heart , one thumb in the mouth,
ignoring ultrasounds and alarmed academics,
irresponsibly kicking the placenta to one side,
enlarging the liquor-dome till she can’t walk,
cannoning hormones, borrowing her oxygen.

And we were up on the snowy side of the planet
waiting for the sun’s penumbra to shift to Spring,
until that morning we saw a black swan on the lake
and I knew you’d come out yawning and calling,
the exception that would not be put off, one of
those things you rely on when the world seems stuck.
You’d opened your eyes. Another explosion.

Roger James

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Builder by John Lyons

The Builder
He observed men building houses:
how they cleared ground
for digging to bed-rock.

He watched them balancing,
with the body’s knowledge,
pillatrees on steep slopes.

He marvelled at the way
things came together with intimacy
of halving joints, mortise and tenon,
constructing a logic men live by.

For a long time he stood beneath immortelles
in awe with corn birds weaving hanging nests;
he knew then it would take a life-time
of ingenuity to build the house
he wished to grow wise in.

It was hard work digging a pit of clay,
dancing in the straw with bare feet,
pugging mortar to shape rooms to his desire.

As he danced, he dreamed of moulding
a room around silence, a place in which to foetal-curl,
suspend thoughts of how to survive;
another, without corners,
walls smoothed to a mirror
with the friction of love.

He danced dreaming
of the one where he would store
the things he had given power to:
an owl’s mummified wing,
his navel string, never planted,
withered like a dead yam vine;
the cosmic pebble, like a bull’s black eye
that almost struck his father down.

The last room was for his mother.
She died when he was nine.

John Lyons

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Fittings by Frances Knight


A pink striped sailors suit,
gingham dirndl, a dogtooth coat –
even once, a denim bikini.

So many outfits there’ve been
my progress mapped and measured
in cool, smooth tailor's chalk,

until the day I stood fidgeting
in paisley needlecord, all shades of red
my mother pinning me at the hemline:
stay still, stay still why don’t you

Realising that although the dress was perfect,
I no longer fit.

Frances Knight

Monday, 11 October 2010

Thanet launch event

Maggie Harris is organising an event for us on Friday 3 December 7pm - 9pm at Hilderstone Adult Education Centre, Broadstairs.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Girl with a Red Umbrella by Susan Wicks

Girl with a Red Umbrella

It was a high red dome
of cloth, black-spotted, some kind of bug –
a ladybird –
and she stood beneath it speechless,
pink in its reflected glow.

The two white crescents of its eyes
were two white flags on a billow of red sail

or pennants fluttering slowly down
through layers of grey air

to land her safely here at the glass door.

Is there any way to write about her?
Something I hardly know

clutches and opens,
starts to run warm
and I shut it off.

But isn’t it possible
to see a red umbrella over a tiny girl
and think of – what?
-- the oh, the ah,
the yes of it, the laugh

that’s something like hope?
At her side her father
touches her small elbow
and smiles, seeing my face. He nudges her gently

gently forward, under the collapsing ribs.

Susan Wicks

Monday, 27 September 2010

Self Portraits

We asked children to send self portraits for us to use in the design of our anthology cover. Here's some we received by Hayden, Poppy and Archie:

Sunday, 26 September 2010

New Boy by Ros Barber

New Boy

He is walking a line; his footsteps mark a square
around the playground. The others forget his name:
a boy that isn’t really anywhere.

Wherever he was just then, he isn’t there
but somewhere further along, just out of frame.
He is walking a line; his footsteps mark a square

enclosing his teacher, enclosing the autumn air.
She blames no-one, knowing she cannot blame
a boy that isn’t really anywhere.

He is more than alone. While other children pair
off by the fence and a penalty kicker takes aim,
he is walking a line. His footsteps mark a square

like the edge of a board, a game of solitaire.
He doesn’t seem to know another game.
A boy that isn’t really anywhere

is on the perimeter. You’d think he doesn’t care
about being different. But still, and just the same,
he is walking a line; his footsteps mark a square,
a boy, that isn’t really anywhere.

Ros Barber

Monday, 20 September 2010

Snakebite by Catherine Smith

(i.m. Helen Penfold, 1961-1999)

Things are looking up. We’ve
found a pub where the landlord,
convinced by my smooth lies, your

proper breasts, will serve us snakebite.
He tips the lip of each pint glass,
froths in lager, pours cider and asks

How much blackcurrant, ladies?
You smile at him, murmur When -
we love how his hands shake

as you take your change.
We gulp like seasoned drinkers,
avoiding the stares of the old gits

with their bitter, their racing pages.
The drink hits the spot and
everything is funny. You nearly

take my eye out playing darts.
And at the Rec on the way home,
full of sugar and gas, we slump

on the swings we dared each other
to leap from as kids, jewelling
our palms and knees with grit.

We lean back under the night sky,
under all the stars we can’t name,
we’re full of how we’ll leave

this dump of a town first chance we get -
how we despise the regular lawns,
the sagging paddling pools, we’re

singing as we approach our road.
Today was hot, like the days,
buckling with laughter, we shoved

each other over on your drive,
the tarmac sucked at our sandals
and the ice-cream van played Lara

from Dr. Zhivago, too slow. Tomorrow
we’ll feel sick as dogs. But tonight,
here, under a bright, full moon,

we’re amazing, and as we hug
on my doorstep, I taste you,
kiss the snakebite off your lips.

Catherine Smith

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Make Me Love You by Abegail Morley

Make Me Love You

You taught me how to pinch the sky
and let a gap breathe through the crack,
slowly pulling apart our thumbs and fingers
to capture a person at great distance.

We peered from the beach,
saw far out to sea, chose our boats
from those that bobbed just out of reach -
mine a slim-line yacht with sail ready,
yours a motor boat, fast, white.

We loosened our fingers, let the boats leave the bay
and swam out as far as the old fishing trawler.
We swept our hands along its length,
stroking the weed caught on its side;
it was soft, like a child’s hair.

Abegail Morley

Monday, 6 September 2010

Greenhow Grove by Anne Kenny

Greenhow Grove
(for Mary Kenny)

her small feet are planted
in soft buck leather, in a cobbled street
by a red brick house she will recall
like a scene from an old film

in soft buck leather, in a cobbled street
where children hop-scotch pavements
like a scene from an old film
washing is strung like bunting

where children hop-scotch pavements
and she emerged from the womb
washing is strung like bunting
a first breath of coal-warmed air

and she emerged from the womb
she cradles her doll in a cardboard cot
a first breath of coal-warmed air
unaware she is practising

she cradles her doll in a cardboard cot
by a red brick house she will recall
unaware she is practising
her small feet are planted

Anne Kenny

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Watching the News by Geraldine Paine

Watching the News

But we didn't have snow,
I can't remember that.
Nor tank-tracks, frozen grey,
smeared with blood;
the swaddled women,
carrying buckets
backwards and forwards,
the soldiers firing
at windows

I remember running -
a sudden silence
broken. And a crater
between houses in a garden,
after the All-Clear,
I remember that.
And later, at school,
the two empty desks.

Geraldine Paine

Saturday, 28 August 2010

We have a title...

Did I tell you? 131 poems for Children in Need

Friday, 27 August 2010

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

We're @WordAid on Twitter, and have a WordAid page on Facebook.

Friday, 20 August 2010

List of contributors

You can read a list of all 131 poets whose poems will be in the anthology. Click here or on the contributors link in the side panel.

Friday, 13 August 2010

We have selected 131 poems...

to be included in the anthology, and are in the process of emailing contributors to let them know. We'll be posting a complete list of contributors soon.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The grand total...

of poems submitted is...386!
We now face the difficult task of choosing which ones to include.

If you submitted, we'll be in touch by the end of August to let you know if we have included your poem.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Submissions deadline has expired

and so, nearly, have we. We have been overwhelmed by the response - we are about to do a count of the number of poems received, but can confirm that it is in the hundreds at least!

So thank you to everyone who submitted.

We are enjoying looking through all the entries and are looking forward to a sunny summer with some great poetry to read.

Launch event is booked for 16 November in Canterbury. More details on this and how to pre-order books will be following soon.


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The word is spreading

So far we have had submissions from as far afield as Canterbury, Thanet, Deal, Surrey, London, Scotland and the USA!! And such great poetry :)
Please keep them coming.

Monday, 24 May 2010

The response so far...

We are very excited and delighted at the positive response we've had so far to our call for submissions.
Respected, published and wonderful poets including Vicki Feaver, Catherine Smith, Sarah Salway, Anne Cluysenaar, Myra Schneider, Mimi Khalvati, Maggie Sawkins, John Killick, Michael Curtis and Mark Roper have all offered to contribute. And we've received fantastic poems from other poets who've answered the call.
So when you do submit you can be assured you'll be in very good company as well as supporting a very good cause.

Welcome to the WordAid blog.

The WordAid Blog is launched!