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Joan Poulson

Image by Eve Goldsmith

Joan Poulson


...part of an old-new tread, now shared by a number of poets, that runs counter to speed and flimsiness and gloss (Kevin Crossley- Holland)

How was I to know?

Joan Poulson


This might not sound serious

Joan Poulson


Pictures in My Mind

Joan Poulson


Crick, crack, crocodile!

Joan Poulson

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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/ 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


Joan Poulson

Joan Poulson Reading from her Poems

1Like Grandad

2That's my dog

3Tell Sam

4Like me



7Double trouble

8My gran

9Christmas glow

10Sun energy


12Waiting for water



15Rainbow mad

16Rugby club



19Our farm, January

20My world

21Green witch

22Touch the sun



25Winter birthday

26Poem for the whales

27glad me: a prayer

28poem for January

29Bonfire night



32Crick, crack, crocodile!

33Three purple elephants

34Clatter of town

35Ladybird plant

36Got the hump


38school break

39Pictures in my mind

40This might not sound serious

41A wave like a whale

42Last dive of the day

43My wings

44Polly Pat's cat

45King of all the dustbins

46With a smile

47Master of disguises

48Not a snow cat

49Secret life

50How was I to know?


52so small?


54Calendar of humans

55Prehistoric ant



58Song about a drummer

Books by Joan Poulson