Posted by: Poems For Fun | September 12, 2014

Latest published poem


Can you hear the treetops?

Can you hear the voices – the voices of the trees?
Can you hear them singing to the gentle summer breeze?

Can you hear them laughing?
Can you hear them sigh?
Can you hear them whispering their secrets to the sky?

I can hear them playing, as they swing and sway.
I can hear their voices, but I can’t hear what they say.

Kate Williams

Published in The School Magazine, October 2014 issue, by New South Wales Education & Communities, Australia.

(Copyright: Kate Williams)

Posted by: Poems For Fun | September 3, 2014

Poetry workshops for autumn!

Suddenly, the globe has slipped round; we’ve turned the corner into autumn! There’s a crispness to the sunshine, a brassy tint to the trees, and a brisk, bustling sense of purpose as the school run starts up again.   At last I can get cracking with my autumn term workshops! 

Autumn Leaves have sailed onto my topic list again, and why not? They’re such fascinating things, with their sky-high dances, fly-away mysteries, their golden dazzle, and their frailty, their under-foot crunch! Children and teachers alike love this workshop theme – especially when the rain holds off and we can all go outside to watch, listen and catch them!

Birds are on my list too. What birds? All birds! Swifts and swallows cruising off over moonlit oceans, over city, jungle, desert, to sunny lands we can only imagine; peacocks parading their sea-blue, sail-tall tails; penguins standing, just standing, heads up in the blizzard, feet slide-sliding on the ice… oops, splash, oh dear! Robins I’ll be watching too, with the younger children, and copying them too – hopping, flapping, pecking, fluttering about the garden, and thinking up describing words to sing with ukulele. As for feathers, they’ll call for another poem again – a shape, simile, metaphor poem? Or a float-away fantasy? Or a picture-poem bonanza of plumage hues? I expect every class will fly their feathers a different way!

Giants are my third and final topic for this half of the term, but not just noisy, fierce ones! There’ll be gentle ones too, like the BFG, guardian giants, lonely ones, clumsy, accident-prone ones, girl and boy, old and young, heavy and light giants – whatever sorts the children want to write about. We’ll be comparing giants with other things too, and other things with them. Could a mountain be considered as a giant, for instance, watching over us, casting its light and shadow over our homes and streets, affecting us with its daily mood swings? And what about a sunset, or a thunderstorm, or a symphony? But we’ll have fun with our giants too – especially when they thump-crash-smash their way in through the classroom door!

After half term, when the leaves take on the colours of treasure, wine and pumpkin-juice, our leaves will be drifting down into spooky woods, rustling with furtive wildlife (and Halloween haunts?), while fireworks shoot and roar over the treetops in the deepening sky and cosy lamps light up the windows. 

With so much to write about, the children won’t want to stop, but then, they seldom do! A few may start off a little anxiously, perhaps, thinking that poetry is not for them or that they can’t write very well… but what they’ll discover, as they go along, is that it IS for them, in fact, it’s IN them, and… oh yes, they can write, even if they have to translate a bit for me! I’m forever amazed at the natural feel, leaning, gift, children have for creativity through language, so let’s see what they offer up this term!

Kate

Posted by: Poems For Fun | August 8, 2014

Battles with bindweed


Phew! That’s this evening’s watering circuit done! Mind you, most of it landed on the weeds and brambles and the various multiplying monster plants I’m sure I never knowingly planted, that are swiftly taking over my garden. As for the bindweed – it’s a total bind: the few shrub successes I have in my garden are bound up so tight with the merciless stuff that their style is seriously cramped. But then, they’re dying of drought anyway, so what’s the odds? 

Yes, global warming seems to be here at last, doesn’t it?  Just when we were all starting to get to grips with global cooling – unless there’s more of that round the corner – there’s just no knowing any more. But yes, suddenly we’re swamped with excess produce: we’re overrun with beans, stuffed with strawberries, crushed with the weight of ever-rising mounds of courgettes, bogged down in bucketfuls of blackcurrants, and turning green with lettuce consumption… and when we manage to hoist ourselves up and peer over the top of the heap, we find our lawns need mowing again – what’s left of them.

As for my gardening poetry entertainments – I’m having to revamp them – and fast. All the usual old stuff about barren, boggy borders with no sign of life except slugs, is seemingly out of date. Just when I thought I had my little show all under wraps, I’m having to whisk up a whole new whirl of rhymes to fit this shock-wave of weird new gardening conundrums. Still, I don’t think I’ll go so far as to chuck the old ones in the bin: not until or unless next spring produces a Wordsworthian host of daffodils across my patch – and the patch is still a patch, and not a lake. 

Meanwhile, I’m sticking one or two of my new, garden-glut-focused rhymes on my Grim Side of Gardening page here, as I go, for any gardeners who may like a browse between watering duties – or any non-gardeners, of course, or half-hearted strugglers like me. Any topic suggestions welcome, by the way!

Keep calm and carry on cutting, collecting, cooking, consuming…

 

Kate

Posted by: Poems For Fun | July 8, 2014

Wild Workshops for Wild Times

Hello!

If you’re a teacher, this post may be of interest to you; and perhaps even if you’re not! It’s about my plans for next term’s poetry workshops, which I provide for children of all abilities, aged 3 – 13.

Wonders, real and imaginary, will shape my workshops next term, with birds, leaves and giants over our heads! 

The sky is far from the limit! Fired-up by a term’s thrilling poetry workshops with schools across the UK on all things from ocean mysteries to jungle jitters to jewel-bright dragonflies in eye-blue skies, I’m now looking ahead to next term!  My eccentric art teacher of decades ago advised me and my fellow A’ level pupils to look at the sky as we walked to school – a risky thing to do, perhaps accounting for some of the falls she suffered, but an inspired one nevertheless. I’ve looked upwards ever since, in fact, when safe to do so, and never looked back – as it were.  The ever-shifting lights and tints, patterns and shapes, moods, times, weathers, and travellers of our sky form a backdrop to much of my writing and many of my workshops, and I can hardly wait to see how children bring its magic into their bird, leaf and giant poems next term!  After half term they’ll be enthralling me with their skies for fireworks and winter woods too, no doubt, with the fancy-free flashes of imagination that only kids can kindle! 

‘Birds’ as a theme for poetry:  wonderful, but ‘where to start?’ is the question. We’ll be on the look out for big and small, local and far-off, cloud-high and lake-low, common and exotic. We’ll be celebrating the beauties of a peacock’s tail, and trying to put a finger on the floatiness of a robin’s feather; we’ll be chatting to cheeky parrots and chuckling at gormless penguins, and we’ll be remembering, as we go, the worlds around these birds of such differing feathers.

But what can you get kids write about leaves? you may ask. But the question I’d ask is ‘how stop them writing about them, once you’ve got them started?’ After all, if their leaf has taken off on a world tour, they naturally want to see it safely home again, or at least follow it to its sad/absurd/fascinating/spooky/hilarious end. Especially when they can send their leaf poems sailing round the page and even onto others (Sellotape provided!). Nor do young writers like to leave a sweep of leaves hanging in mid-air, or a recipe for their colours stuck at the wide open ‘Leave to set [where?]…’ stage. As for the delicacy of that leaf just rescued from the playground at the start of the session – its fragile, ephemeral, lacy beauty – a child may be hungrier for a phrase to fit than for their waiting dinner! It happens, often to the surprise of teachers. Able young writers may be encouraged to think further still, and find ways in which an autumn leaf could reflect the season, time, end and renewal, and more.

Giants in a poetry workshop? Well, that depends if they can squeeze in, or if we can expand our poems enough to accommodate them. We’ll need to allow, of course, not only for their XL, multiply-multiplied sizes, but also for their amplified sounds and vibrations, and the mind-boggling repercussions of their – oops! – movements. Not that giants need be scary, nor even clumsy. We’ll be inviting gentle ones into our poems too: calming, reassuring, even graceful giants – gods and goddesses perhaps, or hints of. In older year groups, we’ll be looking at other big things too, like the sea, the wind, the weather, space, time… and asking if they could be thought of as giants.

Poetic adventures: as ever, we’ll be probing the possibilities of language, rhythm, rhyme, and word-arrangement on the page – and off it too, through music and acting out, for instance. Imagery and rich description will feature in each session, with delves into a range of poetic forms and techniques, especially at higher levels.  I’m not a teacher, and do not, in fact, believe that poetry-writing can be ‘taught’. Rather, it can be triggered, fired, guided, helped along, launched and set on course, through the opening of doors and lighting of paths, with armfuls of encouragement and sparkler-swirls of celebration along the way, and this approach will, as always, be my aim.  

Door-openers: picture displays, artefacts, support poems and anecdotes all contribute, in my workshop intros, towards enthusing my writing groups and spurring their creative potential. Inter-class chat, whole-group physical activities (mime, sounding-out, imitation) and brain-storming challenges all add in too, along with – for younger children – a word-building song with ukulele and a clapping rhyme or two. Yes, poetry-writing through fun, fascination and excitement is my aim! I suppose I must be a ‘big kid’, because I love it all myself, and enthusiasm is catching!

For more information, please see my Workshops page, or contact me direct @ katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com / Tel. 01446 760124.

Kate

Posted by: Poems For Fun | July 2, 2014

Publication news


Hello!

Between my workshops, I’ve been scribbling away as ever –  in the garden, at the kitchen sink, between poetry sessions in  school halls and classrooms, at the motorway service station on the way home, anywhere and everywhere, with various outcomes in the pipeline. 

A book of my poems, for 5-8 year-olds, entitled Poetry Party, is to be published next year by Thynks Publications.

Meanwhile, I shall be contributing to an international children’s poetry collection about food and where it all comes from, for Canadian anthologist Carol-Ann Hoyte.

My poem ‘Summer’s day sea’ is to feature in a future issue of The School Magazine, Australia. It goes like this:

 

Summer’s day sea

The sea’s so twinkly and flashy!
So silky and calm and blue!
So frilly and swilly and splashy!
So clear we can see right through!

So wish we could stay in all day,
just lolling about in the spray!
Oh, to stay the whole holiday,
and the whole of next term too!


‘Moth in the Bathroom’, mentioned previously, has been published in their July issue.

You can read it here:

http://poemsforfun.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/published-poems-supporting-workshops/

Details of my recently published poems can be found @

http://poemsforfun.wordpress.com/published-poetry/

and also at:

http://poemsforfun.wordpress.com/adults/

But now to prepare for my last school workshops of the term – my final summer plunges into the refreshing, rolling waves of childhood imagination and creativity! Many thanks to all schools involved, and congratulations to all the children I’ve worked with this term so far!

But I can hardly wait for the next school year to start now, and to get cracking with my new autumn themes: sailing leaves, soaring swallows, thundering giants, dark-defying fireworks, and more!

Any comments or questions? Please email me @ katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com .

Kate

Posted by: Poems For Fun | June 27, 2014

Enjoying June

June has swept by me in a whirl of workshops, so I’m snatching a few minutes of high summer meadow glory as I prepare for my final week of sea-themed sessions.

Yes, I’ve been working like a dog through June, so I’m making the most of its final dog days now, slumped under the dogwood tree, lounging among the dog daisies and dog roses, enjoying the last of the sun before it starts raining cats and dogs.

A week’s tour of schools in the south east – Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hounslow and the Isle of Dogs (or near) – has left me – that’s right – dog-tired, but with a few sessions still to do, I’m sorting through my dog-eared poems on all things oceanic: cow fish, ram fish, catfish, dogfish…

Sorry – time  to stop this doggerel!

Posted by: Poems For Fun | May 11, 2014

Published poems supporting workshops


Using my published poems to support my workshops


My summer term workshop themes are Sea, Jungle and Mini-Beasts, and I’ll be bringing along one or two of my published poems on these topics to add to the input, where relevant to age and focus.

If you’re a head teacher, class teacher or literacy coordinator, and perhaps thinking of booking a workshop, you might like to glance at a few, so here’s a sample. (Not much to hand on the Jungle theme, but numerous jungly poems in my own book, Wildlife Poems – see relevant page here.)

 

Butterfly

On wings flake-fragile,
petal-frail, you somehow sail,
mile after long mile.

 

Published in Let’s Recycle Grandad, A & C Black, 2008  (Haiku)

 

Moth in the Bathroom

Round my head,
in my face,
over the basin,
all over the place,
on the mirror,
round the light,
through the window,
into the night.

 

To be published later this year in The School Magazine – the Australian monthly pamphlet  produced by New South Wales’s state education department.

 

 

Sea monster sighting

(lines supposed to spread gradually across page, but not possible on this site).

 

Gliding, dipping
tilting, tipping
across the turquoise tinsel

plunging, swooping
loop-the-looping
through the wedding-dress lace

singing to the sunset sky
her giantess’s lullaby

then 
fading, fraying
sinking, shrinking
melting away in the sun’s last ray
gone
with her song
without trace

 

Published in The School Magazine, Australia, 2013 (Orbit series, issue 10).

 

 

Seabed Secrets  

Like nocturnal eyes
glimmering in gloomy woods,
deep sea shoals shimmer.

 

Published in The School Magazine, Australia, 2011 (Blast Off series, issue 6)  (Haiku)

 

Visible Invisible

In and out of sight
the sandy sidewinder slides:
now you see him, now…

 

Published in Wild, Macmillan, 2009 (Haiku)


What we found at the seaside


This poem (below) features in A First Poetry Book, Macmillan, 2012, and also in The School Magazine. Click on images to enlarge.

 

NB: All poems on this site are copyright: Kate Williams.


Published poems 1
My 1st Poetry Bk 002

Posted by: Poems For Fun | April 30, 2014

Summer workshops

Summer is cracking its shell, pushing out at all sides; bursting to burst out. It’s prising open spring’s bulging buds, setting free the waiting colours and scents and petal patterns, stretching the soft stems taller, taller, and rolling velveteen sheens over hill and vale, as the sun (yes, sun – remember it?) warms up ready for blast-off… or am I getting over-optimistic now?  Well, it’s here for now, at any rate, and now is when I want it, to shine a light on my workshop prep!

Yes, it’s homework time, and summer is doing all my work for me as I saunter round the garden with my new topics. It’s sweeping boundless horizons around each one in turn: Sea, Jungle and Mini-Beasts. One after another, they seem to rise up and quiver in the dazzle, ideas flashing up conveniently at all angles. The idle hum of a bee… a glassy ocean, grows into the  menacing buzz of a jungle… rises into the haunting howl of some beast – jungle, sea, or mini beast, who can say?

A butterfly flits by, flake-fragile, dancing over the bluebell sky like a tiny sail on a vast sea; as for the garden, it seems to be growing visibly around me as I wade through new nettles and duck elongated, leaf-loaded branches, brightening, deepening, twining,  threading, reaching up the gate posts in sheer exuberance!

But perhaps tomorrow will be rainy: a day for sea mists and wave-whipping tempests; steaming rain forests and leaping tree frogs; and slug mayhem in the vegetable plot… boundless horizons indeed.

But all those are just my dreams and scribbles. How to get the children dreaming and scribbling will be my next question, but already the possibilities are bubbling up in the blaze, so I’d better stop this and try to catch a few with pen and paper!

Please see Workshops page for more details of my poetry sessions for schools.

Kate

 

Posted by: Poems For Fun | April 15, 2014

New poems


Just to say – I’ve been adding a few poems and rhymes to various pages of this site.

These include a newly published verse for children on Published (for kids) page. See also Ponderings, Grim Side of Gardening, Mad Side of Mod, and also my overflow site, Poems4Pockets, if fancy a browse.

Now for some inspirational spring sunshine to fire up more scribbles!

PS – Have just purchased a ukulele, to add to the fun of performances and workshops! That’s as well as my classical guitar for my poetry shows! It’s sky blue, with a rainbow-stripy case, and it’s due to arrive in less than an hour! Can’t wait. All I have to do then is… er… learn to play it. But its potential for poetry enhancement, diversity and fun will spur me on!

Happy Easter!

Kate

Posted by: Poems For Fun | April 6, 2014

April update


Suddenly it’s spring… isn’t it?  Well, depending which day, or moment in fact, you happen to look out of the window. The flora and fauna seem to think it’s spring anyway – thank goodness – even if the sky’s still um-ing and er-ing, so that keeps us at the window – and even door, just about!

As for springtime in my school workshops, that’s been going on for weeks, all through the grey gloom of these past weeks. Yes, I know what you’re going to say: the weekends have been lovely (some of them). But I’m talking weekdays, those grim, chilly, colourless stretches of seeming stagnation during which I was scheduled to visit various primary schools around the country (by their kind, and much appreciated invitation) to inspire children on the theme of – yes, Spring.  My fault, I offered it (amongst others) in a spurt of wild optimism, and they must, presumably, have chosen it in like spirit.

Fortunately, children are equipped with the flexibility,  imagination, and pop-open fizz-cans of enthusiasm to leap into any theme, with a little coaxing. So, with a few photos, a bit of acting out (being bunnies, chicks etc. in this case) and some touchy-feely artefacts (cuddly baby animal toys from my local charity shop), class after class of our nation’s youngsters spun their magic, producing the fresh, fragrant spray of spring poetry delights I’d so recklessly hoped for, in schools all round the country. Congratulations again to them all!

Yes, in classrooms I’ve been celebrating – with their help – the wonders of spring. In my gardening performances for adults – The Grim Side of Gardening – my focus has been more on the blunders than the wonders, but with a sprinkling of the latter too: wonders that anything at all has sprouted in my muddy, floody, abandoned plot, for instance; wonder that weeds can, in a certain light, look quite pretty; wonder that those cursed wild geraniums are still multiplying away as per usual, despite the feverish zest with which I attacked  them on that last sunny Sunday. 

Flaming geranium -
every one the samium -
wax but never wanium,
driving me insanium!

But here comes the sun suddenly, and looking likely to stay at least five minutes – just long enough to fire up preliminary plans for my summer workshop themes: seasides and ocean mysteries;  jungle rumbles through giant fronds; glint of a dragonfly in mint-blue sky, flitting round glittery pond! 

Meanwhile, happy Easter!

Kate

Copyright note:
Please note that copyright of all content on this page, including the rhyme, is by, and copyright of, me – Kate Williams. If you wish to use any of the above text for any commercial purpose, please contact me first. Thank you. (See Contact for details.)

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