Hi fellow poets.
A few words about me. I’ve been writing stories and poems for a long, long time. My first children’s book, The Howen, was published in 1993 by Penguin. It was a story about two children trapped in a strange school where the teachers were scary dog-like people. After that I wrote Creeper, about two different children, a dog and a boatload of monkeys and their adventures on a marsh. That was a very long time ago and the books sometimes pop up on the internet second hand.
I was teaching at a school in Kent back then. Brian Moses visited us to give a performance of his poems and ran a workshop in my class. It was brilliant and I thought – I’d love to do that. So I did! Brian helped me get my first few poems published. After successfully contributing lots of poems to anthologies, I published Never Trust a Lemon myself. Then I was one of Macmillan’s Sandwich Poets with two other authors, Jan Dean and Sue Cowling, in A Mean Fish Smile. And Macmillan published my first solo collection, I Did Not Eat the Goldfish. Since then, I have had over 40 books published. Brian and I became friends and still collaborate on poetry collections.
So what else can I tell you? I like performing poems in schools and libraries and at festivals. I enjoy running writing workshops for young people and teachers. I write music and songs and perform in folk clubs. I have a very lovely wife called Jill, who was a journalist and now does art with soft pastels and sometimes writes poems, too; and a very shy dog called Jasper. He is a rescued Welsh Terrier from France. He speaks three languages – English, French and Dog. But funnily enough he doesn’t speak Welsh. I like painting. My paintings are big, colourful abstract pictures.
Before I list my poetry books I’ll mention my new(ish) novel, called The Comic Café. It’s about a family who move to a near-derelict restaurant in a seaside town and decide to renovate it. Then the parents run away from home and so the children decide to do it up themselves. And they discover that the building holds a secret. It was fun writing a story again.
Here are my most recent poetry collections. If you click on the link you’ll be taken to The Book Depository or Amazon where you can find out more information.
First I must mention The Poetry Zone’s very own book The Poetry Zone: A Celebration of 20 Years of Children’s Poetry. It includes poems by some of the best children’s poets around and, perhaps more importantly, lots of poems by you, our young poets who are Poetry Zone regulars.
Apes to Zebras; an A-Z of Shape Poems. I loved making this book, alongside the amazing Liz Brownlee and Sue Hardy-Dawson. And it won the best poetry book in the North Somerset Book Awards in 2019. We were very proud.
In 2018 Brian Moses and I published The Waggiest Tails in which all the poems in the book were actually written by dogs. And I wrote a book with Liz Brownlee and Matt Goodfellow called The Same Inside: Poems about Empathy and Friendship.
2019 saw the release of Be the Change: Poems to Help You Save the World, all about sustainability, again written with Liz and Matt, and Moonstruck! Poems About our Moon, an anthology to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.
I Am a Jigsaw: Puzzling Poems to Baffle Your Brain is the latest in my Bloomsbury series about different kinds of poetry. There’s a section in the back of all the books with lots of poetry writing ideas. The other books are What Rhymes With Sneeze (rhyming poems), Is This a Poem (all about unusual styles of poetry) and Off By Heart
2020 is an Olympic year and so I’m very pleased that Macmillan are re-releasing one of my collaborations with Brian Moses, Olympic Poems: 100% Unofficial.