‘The Poetry Guerrilla’ on National Poetry Day website

National Poetry Day 2020 will take place on 1st October and this year’s theme is ‘Vision’.

The National Poetry Day website has curated a selection of poems and poetry books for everyone to read share, featuring “some of the best contemporary poetry available in the UK”.

I’m thrilled to have a poem included, ‘The Poetry Guerrilla’, which you can find at nationalpoetryday.co.uk/poems/poems

The poem’s taken from my forthcoming collection for children, Saturdays at the Imaginarium, published by Troika at the end of September.

Fringe Arts Bath Festival: Response to RISE

This should’ve been a participative live performance, but sadly the coronavirus pandemic intervened. So instead it’s online…

Response to Rise, is a cultural and arts engagement with the ecological catastrophe of our times, a poetic response to Rise: From one island to another, a poetry film produced by campaigning organization 350.org.

In the film two young women poets, one from the Marshall Islands and one from Greenland, connect their realities of rising sea levels and melting glaciers. Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and Aka Niviâna use their poetry to showcase the linkages between their homelands in the face of climate change. The film offers a glimpse of how large, and yet so small and interdependent our world is.

In July 2019, Bath Writers and Artists watched the video and were so moved by it that we screened it again, this time following it with readings of our own poems written as response – honouring, celebrating, echoing the indigenous poets. We created a kind of poetic ceremony, an experiment that we wanted to share more widely as part of Fringe Arts Bath.

Watch the original film and our response at www.fringeartsbath.co.uk/rise 

Curated by Peter Reason working with Bath Writers and Artists and other local poets.


First children’s poetry collection, ‘Saturdays at the Imaginarium’, will be published by Troika this July

The secret’s out… thankfully, because it’s been killing me sitting on this one!

I’m thrilled, tickled and cock-a-hoop to confirm that my first full poetry collection for children will be published by Troika in July 2020.

Saturdays at the Imaginarium will celebrate creative thinking, champion curiosity and revel in the pleasure of looking at things ever so slightly slant.

With enormous thanks to the wonderful team at Troika who are an absolute delight to work with: Martin West, Roy Johnson and the awesome artist Jude Wisdom who I’m honoured to say is illustrating our book.

Here’s a flyer with a sneak preview of what’s in store….



Three poems in Poetry Wales

I’m delighted to have three poems published in the latest issue of Poetry Wales, edited by Jonathan Edwards. Founded in 1965, Poetry Wales publishes internationally respected contemporary poetry, features and reviews in its tri-annual print and digital magazine.

The poems, ‘Forecast’, ‘Open Letter to Big Daddy’ and ‘When My Dead Mother Made Me Meatballs’ appear in issue 55.2 winter 2019/20.

In this issue:

Features: Gillian Clarke, ‘The Highest Wind in the World’ – on tree planting and creativity; Paul Henry ‘Music and Light’ – an interview; Arjunan Manuelpillai, ‘How to Make a Poetry Ashram’ – on poetry libraries; David Greenslade, ‘Imagined/Invited’ – a poem/collage collaboration; Wendy Pratt, ‘The Hare and the Witch: Transforming Grief into Poetry’

Reviews: Kate Noakes on Zoe Brigley and Jeremy Hooker; David Clarke on Fran Lock and Emily Cotterill; Anna Lewis on Eleanor Rees and David Clarke; Steve Whitaker on Ben Ray and Alan Perry

Poems: Gillian Clarke, Osi Rhys Osmond, Stephen Knight, Vicky Morris, Jessica Mookherjee, Marvin Thompson, Liz Lefroy, Emily Blewitt, clare e. potter, Patrick Jones, Phil Jones, Arjunan Manuelpillai, Di Slaney, Matthew Jarvis, Rhea Seren Phillips, David Rees Davies, Joe Dunthorne, Matthew Caley, David Clarke, Emily Cotterill, Shauna Robertson, Christopher Meredith, Emma Simon, Wendy Pratt, Neetha Kunaratnam, Rhian Edwards, Linda Saunders, John Freeman.

Find out more at poetrywales.co.uk

Interview on Roger Stevens’ The Poetry Zone

Since 1998, The Poetry Zone webzine – created by renowned children’s poet Roger Stevens – has published around 30,000 poems by children and teenagers, poets and other adults, and is widely used by teachers as a fun way of teaching poetry in schools.

In ‘Poets Talk’ the site features interviews with “some of our (and hopefully your) favourite poets”.

I’m chuffed to be one of them – many thanks to Roger for inviting me aboard. The interview was really interesting to do, as it invites poets to reflect on why and how they write, how long it takes to create a poem, how their experiences of poetry at school inspired them (or not) and what advice they’d give to young poets.

Here’s the links: Poets TalkShauna Darling Robertson


Poem in Raceme magazine

I’m delighted to have a poem published in the latest issue of Raceme magazine.

Raceme is a Bristol-based literary magazine published twice a year, and edited by Matthew Barton with co-editors David Briggs and Dominic Fisher.

The poem, ‘Baking, and Aleppo’ appears in the autumn/winter 2019 issue alongside poems, reviews and articles by David Clarke, Czeslaw Milosz, Raymond Antrobus, Deborah Harvey, Katrina Naomi, Katy Evans Bush and more.

Find out more at www.racemepoetry.com

‘On the Ills of Smoking’ to be screened at ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival 2019 in Berlin

I’m thrilled that my poetry film, On the Ills of Smoking, will be screened at this year’s ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin.

The festival takes place every two years, and the 2019 event will be held in the Kino in der KulturBrauerei from 5 to 8 December.

This year there’s a focus on poetry films from Germany and from the United Kingdom. I’m extremely grateful to Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron, who are curating part of the UK programme, for including my film. I only wish I was going with them to Berlin – the whole programme looks fascinating (and I’ve been itching to go to Berlin for years!).

Check out the festival trailer on YouTube:

View On the Ills of Smoking online on the ZEBRA Poetry Film Club Vimeo site:

My favourite children’s poetry books on PoetryRoudabout.com

It’s like desert island discs but instead of discs, think poetry.

Over the past month or so Liz Brownlee’s PoetryRoundabout webzine has featured a series of children’s poets asked to give a selection of their favourite children’s poetry books.

I’m 12th in the series. Every poet is allowed 5-8 choices, one of which can be a book of poetry for adults, and one of which has to be their own book.

You can read my selections here.

Many thanks to Liz, it was a really fun question to ponder!

Midnight Feasts: Tasty Poems Chosen by A.F. Harrold

Just published by Bloomsbury: a new anthology of children’s poems about munching, snacking, scoffing, chomping, dining, feasting and feeding.

As the title suggests (well, not so much suggests as very clearly states), the poems in Midnight Feasts: Tasty Poems Chosen by A.F. Harrold have been hand-picked by poet, writer and performer A.F. Harrold. I’m a big fan of A.F.’s work so am doubly delighted to have a few poems of mine in there (triply, actually, given that I also happen come from a long line of foodies who’d no doubt have me for breakfast if I didn’t write about their favourite topic from time to time).

Here’s the blurb…

“One thing that unites us all – across time, nations and peoples – is food. From chocolate, rice pudding and sandwiches to breakfast in bed, banana phones and the fruit of a mythical jelabi tree, A.F. Harrold has brought together a wonderful and diverse collection of poems on the topic of food.

Beautifully illustrated in full colour by rising star Katy Riddell (daughter of former Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell), this rich and delicious anthology brings together work from a broad range of poets, including the magically observant William Carlos Williams, award-winning Joseph Coelho and the inspiring Sabrina Mahfouz. Whether you’re in the mood for a perfect bowl of yoghurt or a pomegranate omelette, these poems will satisfy any food craving. The perfect gift for any poetry or food lover!”

The book is a full-colour 120 page hardback and retails for £12.99

Grab your copy at Amazon.co.uk or, better still, in your local bookshop.

Poem commended in YorkMix Poems for Children Competition

Huge congratulations to the winners of the first YorkMix Poems for Children Competition, judged by Carole Bromley!

Laura Mucha scooped the first prize with her poem, Rapunzel, a witty retelling of a classic fairytale.

Second prize was awarded to Richard Carpenter, for A Diplodocus Thumbs A Lift After Being Retired From The Natural History Museum, while equal third prizes went to: Geraldine Durrant for A Change Is As Good As A Rest; Matt Goodfellow for A Special Badger; and Sarah Ziman for Packed Lunch.

I’m thrilled that my poem Centuries of Questionable Kings was among those commended.

You can check out the full list of winners and read all of the winning and commended poems over on the YorkMix website.