About Joan Poulson

Joan Poulson grew up in south Lancashire. She works as writer, poet and visiting writer in schools. Her poetry includes Celebration (1995, UNICEF), Pictures in My Mind (Hodder, 1999) and Onetree Singing (2001, Blackthorn). She is the editor of Sling a Jammy Doughnut (Hodder, 2001) and author of a novel Dear Ms (A and C Black, 2001). Joan's poetry has won prizes in national and international competitions, and her work has been published and broadcast in New Zealand, Pakistan, Canada, the United States, Norway and Australia. She has held a wide range of writing residencies, many of which involve working with artists from other disciplines: musicians, sculptors, dancers and painters. Joan has run writing workshops for children in diverse contexts, from inner city New Mexico and Merseyside to the Voice Box at the South Bank Centre and Schumacher College in Devon. She is especially fond of the natural world and celebrates its variety both in her poetry and collaborations with other practitioners.

Joan's contribution to poetry written for children has been to affirm the child's worldview in transparent language which romanticises neither childhood nor the world that children live in. She validates their voice and perspective, and refuses to mediate their stories with adult knowingness. As her poem 'Millions' puts it: 'Aren't we/impressive?' In poems that range in subject matter from an observation of a snoring grandparent ('Like Grandad'), to the adoption of a baby sister who 'looks just like me' ('Like Me'), to befriending a pet dog ('Tell Sam') Joan writes directly about what it means to be a child in the twenty-first century.

Not least among her concerns is the fate of the natural world. Her poems delight in tiny details, presenting 'every petal, every stamen' of it ('Touch the Sun') in fresh and vivid focus. She conjures 'all the world/...as it's meant to be' but remains aware of the damage being done to wildlife and to habitats. In 'Poem for the Whales', a poem of direct address, she says of humans that 'we behave as if/you don't exist'. Joan Poulson's poems honour what we call the environment with wide-eyed amazement, from back-yard 'jungles' ('Snail-storm') to memorable miniatures of microscopic beauty, where dragonflies become 'sparkling sapphire helicopters/purple aeroplanes/with eyes of bright topaz'. The effect of listening to her read these poems is to come face to face with the child's eye-view of that world, with all its unpredictability and amazement.

These poems were recorded on June 29th 2010 at the Audio Workshop, London and were produced by Anne Rosenfeld.

Joan Poulson's Favourite Poetry Sayings:

"Those who want to write good poems should be reading good poems" - Billy Collins

"Anything that's any good has to be discovered in the process of writing it " - Philip Pullman

Selected bibliography

onetree journal Flarestack, 2010

Sling a Jammy Doughnut (editor) Hodder, 2002

onetree singing Blackthorn Books, 2001

Dear Ms A & C Black, 2001

earth-being Flarestack reprint, 2000

Pictures in my Mind Macdonald, 1999

Ladywell Lives Hospital Arts/N.W. Arts, 1996

Girls are like Diamonds O.U.P., 1995

Window on Winwick Hospital Arts/N.W. Arts, 1994

Recordings

Joan Poulson

Joan Poulson Downloads

1Like Grandad

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2That's my dog

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3Tell Sam

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4Like me

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5Snail-storm

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6Luv

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7Double trouble

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8My gran

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9Christmas glow

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10Sun energy

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11Millions

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12Waiting for water

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13Yellow

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14Blue

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15Rainbow mad

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16Rugby club

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17Dragonships

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18Night

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19Our farm, January

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20My world

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21Green witch

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22Touch the sun

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23Dragonflies

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24Beeswax

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25Winter birthday

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26Poem for the whales

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27glad me: a prayer

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28poem for January

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29Bonfire night

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30Magnify

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31Diggery-daggery

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32Crick, crack, crocodile!

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33Three purple elephants

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34Clatter of town

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35Ladybird plant

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36Got the hump

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37Alone

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38school break

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39Pictures in my mind

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40This might not sound serious

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41A wave like a whale

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42Last dive of the day

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43My wings

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44Polly Pat's cat

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45King of all the dustbins

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46With a smile

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47Master of disguises

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48Not a snow cat

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49Secret life

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50How was I to know?

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51Mystery

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52so small?

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53Wilderness

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54Calendar of humans

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55Prehistoric ant

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56Graffiti

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57Unicorn

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58Song about a drummer

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Books by Joan Poulson