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  • Writer's pictureAttie Lime

Ask a Poet! Answers to Questions from Hyperion Class, Y6, at Dee Point Primary School

A big Thank You to Hyperion Class for sending me your brilliant questions for World Poetry Day!


How many poems do you think you have written? Rebekah

Hundreds and hundreds! Probably more than I can actually find, written down. I will sometimes write a quick poem, share it with people on Twitter, and then forget to save it into a poetry folder! And I have lots of poems for grown-ups and children, written in notebooks, which I forget to type up...


Have you collated your poems in a book? Rebekah

Unless you publish a book yourself, it takes a long time to get a book out with a publisher, even after they say yes. So, a poet friend of mine (Roger Stevens - look him up, he's great!) recommended making my own book while I wait. So, at the moment I have a a short ‘bookling’ called Cornflakes and Gravy, that I made in my shed, but next year my first 'proper' book will be published, with Otter-Barry Books. I'm so excited!


Where do you get your inspiration from for your poems? Isla 

I try to remember what it was like to be a child, and how it felt, and put those thoughts on paper. I am often inspired by my own three children, my cat, things I hear, words I like the sound of, sometimes a funny rhyme or a catchy rhythm, something someone says, the weather, nature, something I read, and I am always inspired by reading great poetry by other poets.

 

How long does it take you to write a poem? Preston 

I usually write poems quite quickly, but then there is always editing to do, words to cut out, and maybe a title to think of. Most poems I write take just a few minutes to get a first draft, but occasionally the process takes much longer – for example, when I sent poems to be considered for the Gods and Monsters anthology by Macmillan, I spent about a week researching different myths, and writing poems about them. It wasn’t a topic I knew much about, and I had never written a poem about mythology before!



 

Do you also illustrate some of your poems? Jude

Not usually, although I did have a book of bedtime poems accepted for publication, and I agreed to do the illustrations, too. Unfortunately, the publisher closed down before my book could be published. This happened with another book, too, but this time I was only illustrating the cover. This is the drawing I did, because the collection was going to be named after a poem about a onesie!

 

What type of poems do you normally write? Jack 

I do like nonsense poems, with made-up words and general silliness! I am really happy that two nonsense poems are included in next year’s book. One of them has no real words in it at all! But most days I write poems about everyday things, like food, feelings, or nature.

 

What is your favourite poem that you have written? Laicey

This is a really difficult question to answer because I like different poems for different reasons! I really enjoy the poems which make people laugh (Egg Hunt, from Cornflakes and Gravy is always fun to perform, especially with props!). I am also very fond of the poems I write about poetry. I like the feeling I get when I read this one:


Ideas


I keep them in a box under my bed

which fastens with a silver hook

 

I keep them in a jam jar

and pressed like wildflowers in a heavy book

 

I keep them in an empty pocket, ready

for the shine of them to catch my eye

 

I keep them in the garden

in a very special secret slice of sky

 

I keep them in a mouthful of Sunday fruitcake

bursting with zest

 

I keep them in my pillowcase, but

in my pen is where I like them best.



Have you got any famous poems we may have heard of? Dennis

Not yet! But as my poems get published in more anthologies, they might become more well known. I know that Gods and Monsters sold many copies, so lots of people have now read my poems about the Bunyip in Australia, and the myth about the salt in the sea! In World Book Week, a poetry book was published by Oxford University Press, for use in schools, called Rising into Sunlight, which includes a poem of mine, called 8 Days of the Week, so it’s lovely to think of children up and down the country enjoying that poem at school. Maybe one of the poems from my new book will become ‘famous’!

 

Have you written a poem that you then disliked? Jack

Yes! There are a few that have been published that I choose not to read at events or use in schools, because I’m not that keen on them – usually because I would change things about them now, but it’s too late! If I write a poem and dislike it, I might keep editing until I like it, or if that doesn’t work, it might just leave it and try something new.

 

What is the process for writing a poem? Josh

 Actually, I wrote a blog piece about exactly that! It’s here: How I Wrote a Poem (attielime.co.uk)

 

How long have you been a poet? Ashton

I have been writing poems since I was a child, and I wrote lots as a teenager, then lots of very different ones while I was at university. I had a long break when I wrote hardly any poems, then in 2021 I started again and wrote loads and loads – for grown-ups first, then towards the end of 2021 I started writing poems for children and discovered that I loved writing those poems more than any others! I didn’t call myself ‘a poet’ until much later on.

 

What is the trickiest thing about being a poet? Lilian

Hmm, it can be quite a solitary job, so it’s important to get out and about. I love doing school visits and performances, so that my poems can be heard by the people they’re written for, and I can be with other people! That’s also useful for testing out poems – sometimes I won’t know if a poem really works, unless I’ve shared it with an audience. Another tricky thing is that it can be hard to get poetry published – there are far fewer places that publish poems for children, than for adults, which is a real shame.

 

Is this your main job or do you do something else/ have you ever had another job? Mrs Wright

This is my main job now, and I am brilliantly busy! At the moment I run a monthly craft and poetry club for children, two monthly creative writing groups for adults, a monthly home education writing poetry group, as well as performing at festivals and events, and doing school poetry visits, in person and online. Other parts of my job are helping others with their writing, writing articles about poetry, getting my book ready for publication (edits, title tweaks, emails with the publisher etc.), sorting my website, and lots of talking about poetry and promoting poetry for children, because poetry is great! Recently I was part of a lovely local arts project – we visited schools, had a nature walk, then did workshops on Spring poetry and art. I also recently co-organised the first literary festival in my local town, which was an amazing experience. Other jobs I’ve had include: Primary School Teacher, Preschool Teacher, School Matron, and Library Assistant. I spent many years being a stay-at-home mum, too. I have three boys, now 15, 13 and 6.

 

What else do you like to do in your spare time? Harper

I like to walk in the countryside near my house, especially in the morning, when it is quiet and the mist is still clearing. I would like to do more art, because I find it really calming, but I worry about not being good enough. I am trying not to think about that, and to just enjoy the process! I love spending time with my family, especially when we play board games together which make us all laugh. I enjoy baking things like scones and bread. My 6yo likes me to play Mario Kart with him, but he always wins!




 


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