Thursday, April 07, 2016

A Cento for NaPoWriMo

In a war zone existence, delimited
by snipers, landmines and hostile troops,
Grey sky reflects in glass houses
and everyone is throwing stones.

She carries her mourning
gravely through the streets
She finds herself looking out for him
but every night, she goes home alone.

Hiding in lofts with sandbags at the door
he watches war 24 hours on TV
but at night their minds meet
and the ghosts of his words sadden her.

Put them in any two squares of a chessboard
and they would recognise each other -
but for now they are lost. 

***
I used the prompt from Found Poetry for today's poem. A Cento is a poem made up of lines from other poems, traditionally usually lines from other people's poems, but this prompt suggested using lines from your own poems (you can use one or two lines from each poem, mostly here I've used two lines from each poem). This was quite a tricky exercise and I'm not entirely happy with the result. However I was very happy to read through some of my old poems again with fresh eyes! 

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Latest gothic jewellery creations

I do like goth style, and, as anyone who follows my Crafty Green Poet blog will know, I also like making jewellery and refashioning vintage and 'broken' jewellery. 

This black velvet choker was included in one of the bags of 'broken jewellery' that I bought recently in a second hand shop. The original pendant was missing so I added this cat charm from my stash.


The elements of the necklace below also came from a bag of 'broken jewellery'. The pendant was originally one of a pair of earrings, but after wearing them one day when out to supper with Crafty Green Boyfriend and almost ripping my ear off, I decided that they would be better as pendants. So I replaced the earring hooks with loops and hung them on smart black necklace threads (which also came from a bag of 'broken jewellery. it really is amazing what good quality items end up in these bags!) This one is mine


and the other one is for sale in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop, you can see it here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

If You had a SuperPower what would it be? by Christopher Holley

This is the latest children's book from Christopher Holley, this time illustrated by Kabita Studios.

The first half of the book asks, in entertaining rhyme, what superpower would you choose, for example:

Would you dare to climb buildings with no safety net?
Have nice cozy chats with your family pet?



Once the reader has thought about which wacky, impressive superpowers he or she might want then the book turns to reality and points out that actually, you don't need a superpower at all, you can change the world around you just as you are, starting with small, but meaningful actions, for example:

When a new kid arrives from someplace out of town
 Say "hello there!" and offer to show them around.

So this is a fun, entertaining and useful book to help children realise that they can be valuable members of society.

If You Had a Super Power What Would it be? by Christopher Holley, illustrated by Kabita Studios.

You can read my other recent reviews of books by Christopher Holley by following the links below:

The Moustache Fairy.


Chumbalina the Plump Princess.

A World Without Water.

 Disclaimer, I was sent free e-copies of these books to review. 

 As ever, coloured text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The Moustache Fairy


Everywhere he goes Alvin is teased, bullied and discriminated against because he doesn't have a moustache. School history lessons focus on the history of moustaches, fairground rides ban people from riding if their beards aren't bushy enough and his sister Alice teases him mercilessly.

Alvin tries desperately to fit in:

'He wanted a moustache so badly he was willing to do anything for one.  His first attempt was a simple solution. He drew one on with magic marker. There was nothing magical about it'

Alvin finally contacts the Moustache Fairy who agrees to help but has run out of moustache magic! Will Alice step in to help the fairy solve her brother's problems?

This is an entertaining tale of one boy's attempts to fit in. It's also a story about wanting to be grown up and being in that stage where you think you're behind your friends in terms of becoming an adult. 

The Moustache Fairy by Christopher Holley, illustrated by Kabita Studios

You can read my earlier reviews of Christopher Holley's Children's books by following the links below:

Chumbalina the Plump Princess.

A World Without Water.

 Disclaimer, I was sent free e-copies of these books to review. 

 As ever, coloured text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Chumbalina the Plump Princess by Christopher Holley




'Chumbalina was not like the other princesses. 

She did not care for looking beautiful. Nor did she want to fall in love with a handsome prince and live happily ever after.'

Chumbalina also loves to eat sweets and cakes and as a result she is plump. This is not considered a suitable trait in a princess so she is shunned by all the other princesses and her only friend is her plump grey cat.

When her father bans sweets from the kingdom in an attempt to try to make Chumbalina lose weight, she leaves home and runs away to the forest where sweeties grow on trees.

Meanwhile an ogre attacks the kingdom and Chumbalina rushes back home to challenge the giant to an eating contest. Will she be able to defeat the enemy? Will she be able to win friends by her efforts? Will she learn to love vegetables?

This is a fun read, with lively illustrations full of details that add to the written narrative. It's a great book for showing children that everyone matters and that everyone has talents that make them special.


Chumbalina the Plump Princess by Christopher Holley, illustrated by Giedre Seniuniene

**

I recently reviewed Christopher Holley's book A World Without Water over on my Crafty Green Poet blog here.  

 Disclaimer, I was sent free e-copies of these books to review.

As ever, coloured text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Calton Hill

more photos on Crafty Green Poet

The Scottish National Monument was built in memory of the Scottish soldiers killed during the Napoleanic wars.

You can read more about the other monuments on Calton Hill here.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Riastrad by Kevin Hogan



In this collection, Hogan muses on topics including relationships, gay and bisexual identity, loneliness and ageing. It also includes a poem about shovelling snow and A Lovelier World in which a dog that

has never caught more
than tennis balls

dreams about 'furrier prey'.

Hogan offers occasional sharp insights as when he meditates on night terrors in Off My Chest

I would rather 
see the demons
than suddenly awaken 
one day blind

He has skill with rhymes  as here in Oh, Wicked One
 
On the day I should have drowned 
in the ocean's lost and found 

(though on some occasions it feels as though lines are distorted somewhat by the rhyme.

I particularly liked Hogan's ability to make interesting connections as in Fitting Room when confusion over the labelling of clothing sizes leads on to thinking about the labels he has endured as a bisexual man.  Even more unexpected a connection is made in Party Split Ends when shampoo and conditioner are compared to opposing political parties.

And the title? Riastrad is the Irish Gaelic term for battle frenzy. You can certainly sense rebellion coursing through much of this book, and well channelled into verse.

My Riastrad by Kevin Hogan, can be purchased here.






Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Girl, Lady, Woman

I'm a woman and resent being referred to as a girl.

In my mind a girl is a female under 18, a young girl is a girl under 12 and a little girl is a girl under 5 or a girl under 12 of particularly small stature.

Some people say calling women girls doesn't matter, but think about it, would you call a male work colleague a boy? If you would then maybe it's fair enough to call your female work colleagues girls, but I'm guessing that most people refer to their male work colleagues as men (or possibly guys) and so should refer to their female work colleagues as women. I've only ever met one man who has ever referred to his male colleages as boys.

There's a time and a place of course to use the word girls - 'Girl's night out' for example, but in that case it's a choice made by a group of women to refer to themselves as girls and is directly equivalent to the use of 'Boy's Night Out'.

Using the word girl to refer to grown up women is just another symptom of the increasing sexism of today's society and it tends to infantalise women. The word 'Girlpower' is an attempt to reclaim the word girl from it's infantalising useage.

Sometimes I think focussing on the use of words detracts from the issues. For example news articles are sometimes devoted to analysing a politician's use of one word or phrase on one occasion while the issue behind the words isn't touched. However, the use of 'girls' to refer to women is persistant and can only I feel undermine a lot of the work done by feminism to move towards the equality of women and men.