And now The Poetry Zone is proud, nay, privileged, nay, honoured to welcome to its pages Celia Warren, who has chosen to tell you all about herself alphabetically.
A is for Author and Animals
Author as, although I like writing poetry best, I also write stories, and Animals because I often put animals in my stories and poems, e.g.
B for Bears
Roly poly polar bears,
Rolling in the snow,
Sliding over icebergs,
In the sea they go:
Splish, splash polar bears,
Splish, splash, splosh!
Growly brown mountain bears,
Climbing on all fours,
Hugging each other
With their big brown paws:
Stump, stomp brown bears,
Stump, stomp, stamp!
B is also for Brigg in Lincolnshire, where I was born and went to school, and Barker, for my surname before I married.
C and D are for Causley,
Cope and De la Mare
– three of my favourite poets.
E is for Education
which I studied when I left school. I now write lots of books for schools. You might find some of my story books among your class readers – some of them are BIG books!
F is for Fun and Fantasy
I enjoy playing with the sounds and meanings of words. Sometimes I make up words and places, as in my poem -
I newly learn your Earth-speak -
forgive if I get it wrong.
When I don’t know the Earth-word
I shall have to write in Sprong.
Sorry to start “Dear Alien”,
but now our planets are twinned,
I hope as we get to know each other
we shall want to write “Dear fribble”.
I am thirty-two, in Sprong-years;
in Earth-years, I’d be eight.
My mum’s one-hundred-and-twenty today
so we’re going to celebrate.
She’s invited us all to a poggle,
and baked a birthday-cake,
with a hundred and twenty clabbits on top.
(Is my Earth-speak without mistake?)
Me, please, to tell what I wrong get,
my lovely new pen-fribble.
I want to learn all about the Earth.
Write and tell me all your gribble.
I shall now tell you what I look like:
My hair is short and red
on my arms and legs, and greenish-grump
and curly on my head.
My ecklings are blue and yellow,
with the middle one black and white.
I’m told that Earthlings have only two -
can you really see all right?
I have a brother and sister,
and a lovely pet splink called “Bloggs”.
Is it true you have pets with four legs and a tail?
What do you call them – droggs?
Please write back soon, dear Earthling,
don’t keep me waiting long -
and remember to tell me your Earth-words
that, today, I’ve written in Sprong.
G is for GINGERBREAD MAN
“Gingerbread’s too hard,”
said the Gingerbread Man,
“I’d rather be made of marzipan.”
“Marzipan’s too soft,”
said the Marzipan Man,
“I’d rather be made of strawberry jam.”
“Strawberry jam’s too runny,”
said the Strawberry Jam Man,
“I’d rather be made of plain meringue.”
“Meringue’s too stiff,”
the Meringue Man said,
“I’d rather be made of gingerbread!”
H is for Hard Work
People often ask, is it hard to write a poem? The answer is, it can be! Very few poems come right straight away, most need drafting and rewriting. It can take a long time and a lot of effort – BUT I find it FUN working on a poem until I’m really pleased with it. It’s a bit like painting a picture and doing a jigsaw at the same time – solving a puzzle and gradually seeing the picture emerge. I find it helpful to keep reading poems aloud to hear how they’re coming along.
I is for Imagination and Ideas
which come in all shapes and sizes – and are full of surprises! Sometimes a few words pop into my head; sometimes I sit down to write on a subject or theme. Often, I see or hear something that sparks off an idea. Then my imagination does the rest.
J is for January
when I was born (brrrr!) or, much pleasanter, June, when my children were born. I have a son, Richard, and a daughter, Charlotte.
K is for Kiddiwinks
everywhere without whom there would be no-one to read my children’s books!
L is for Loughborough and Leicestershire
where I went to college in the early seventies. (THE early 1970’s; not MY early seventies!)
M is for the Midlands
where I’ve visited lots of schools for Poetry Readings or to lead Poetry Writing Workshops with 4 – 12 year olds. I’ve also visited schools in other parts of the country. Maybe your school will be next?
N is for National Poetry Day and for Now
National Poetry Day falls each October, but you can make YOUR next Poetry Day NOW! Go on – read a poem; write a poem … NOW!
Oh – you’re back! …O is for Organised
I have to be fairly organised when I write. I usually start with a pen and paper but soon I key the words into my word-processor on the computer. Then I can cut and paste words easily as I redraft the …
P for poem. And P for Polish.
I don’t consider a poem finished until I’ve polished it till it shines. And if it sings, too, that’s even better.
(I thought you meant poems from Poland for a moment, Celia ! – RS)
Q is for Questions
Here are a couple of questions that I’m often asked.
Q: When did you start writing poetry?
A: As soon as I’d learnt how to write. Before that I made them up in my head.
Q: Can you can remember any poem you wrote when you were a child.
A: I remember writing one about the Beatles. It began:
John, George, Ringo, Paul,
I think they’re fab and love them all.
(Which shows how old I am!)
R is for Rhymes
Not all my poems rhyme, but most do. Sometimes I try and stop them, but rhymes are wriggly things and usually find their way in.
R is for Reading, too. The more you read, the better your writing becomes in my experience.
S and T are for
Staffordshire, the county where I live, and Tamworth, the town where I live…. but they’re also for Stockbridge Trail.
This is a poetry trail in Stockbridge, Hampshire. Ten poems were chosen from the hundreds suggested by local residents. These are now on display along the main street, an old drove road running through the beautiful little town. Some are carved in stone; some engraved on glass; mine is cast in metal and sits proudly on the wall of the fire-station.
U is for the Universe
There is no limit to what you can write a poem about – perhaps that’s why it’s called the uniVERSE!
V is for Vegetarian Flea
I’m not veggie, but if I were a flea I would be …
Mum says I should join a circus;
She thinks I’m a freak,
But just the thought of sucking blood
Makes my legs turn weak.
Once I bit a dog and it tasted awful,
Then I bit a cat and was nearly sick,
But when I bit a carrot I went back for seconds
And I took three bites from a celery stick.
Nothing tastes better than banana
And I love a bit of Stilton cheese,
But we just don’t like the taste of blood
We vegetarian fleas.
W is for Worms.
I have been collecting worm poems for years now and I’m looking for a publisher to print the squirmy stanzas. Some editors sound interested. Others say, “Children wouldn’t want a book of poems all about worms!” Well, would you …? Here’s an old joke that I turned into a poem to whet your appetite …
Noah let his sons go fishing
Only on the strictest terms:
“Sit still, keep quiet and concentrate,
We’ve only got two worms!”
X is for an eXtra special occasion
That was when I met Gary Lineker at the launch of “More of Gary Lineker’s Favourite Football Stories”, published in 1998 by Macmillan. My story is at the beginning of the book. Have you read it?
Y is for YOU!
If you like writing poetry keep at it. Hang on to your best poems to read when you’re older. It’s fun to see how your writing changes and develops with practice. (Sometimes your spelling gets better, too!)
Z if for zzzzzzz …!
(But always keep a notebook and pencil by your bed. Some of my best poems arrived at 2:00 in the morning when I least expected them!)
Never Sit On A Squid by Celia Warren
Illustrations by Mike Phillips (Rigby Heinemann)
An excellent collection of poems for younger readers. Meet Dora the Snoring Hippo, Skateboarding Kate and, of course, find out why you should never sit on a squid.
You will be pleased to learn that Celia has finally found a publisher for her worm poems. Don’t Poke a Worm Till it Wriggles is being published by Bloomsbury on March 6th, 2014. Hurrah!