About Robert Hull

Robert Hull has worked with poetry in schools for many years, and has published, amongst more than forty titles, five full-length collections of poetry. These include three collections of poetry for children, the most recent of which, High Tide, was published by Salt in 2010. Another collection, Stargrazer (1997), was shortlisted for the 1998 Signal Prize History titles, and he was shortlisted for the CLPE Award in 2003 for Everest and Chips (2002).

The poems collected in these three books represent a huge range of themes and forms, encompassing retellings and rewritings of Galileo’s story, of Creation myths of various cultures, and of the Romans, the latter appearing as a ghostly presence, leaping out of the past to rush past the narrator in a chariot! There are poems which look to space, to history, to world conflict, and then there are those which refocus, looking through the microscope of poetry to ‘peer in each pond, /scan each path’ for the frogs and hedgehogs in the poet’s garden, or the memories of the whales and witches drawn on the kitchen table, or the familiar sounds of the bath-taps in one’s own house. These are deftly mixed in with poems about playful inquiry: who exactly is ‘A. Non’? Why can’t we use the word ‘and’ a lot in our writing? These questions about The Rules of writing speak to those in his school workshops, inviting children to write, to experiment, to throw out the rulebook and start a poem.

Whilst appealing to children’s natural sense of rhythm through list poems and repetition, Robert Hull’s poetry does not talk down to his audience, nor pander to ‘traditional’ topics for children. His exploration of universal themes of loss and love appeal as much to adults as children, and even those more accessible to the youngest are multilayered and rich; ‘Arundel swimming pool’, with its noisy splashes and shouting and ‘good fun for everyone’, is going to be shut down ‘to make a lot of money / for someone’, speaking as much about local politics and a sense of community as ‘all the slosh / and swirl and splash / and shouting friendly din’. The community swimming pool in Robert’s poem is only one very recognisably British location evoked in these poems. These are the places we all remember, worlds occupying special places in the collective consciousness of the young: the beaches of a summer holiday; the hedgerow in a field ‘a small child’s zoo and bird-world’; the thrill of snow falling on your own street, the Christmas trombones of the brass band outside the department store.

His recording was made on March 21st at Pier Productions in Brighton, and was produced by Anne Rosenfeld.

Selected bibliography

Encouraging Shakespeare, Peterloo, 1993

On Portsmouth Station, Beafred, 2008

High Tide, Salt, 2010

Everest and Chips, Oxford University Press, 2002

Stargrazer, Hodder, 1997

Prizes

The Signal Prize 1998 for Stargrazer (Shortlisted) The Signal Prize shortlist 1998 for <i>Stargrazer</i>

CRPE Award 2002 for Everest and Chips (Shortlist) CRPE Award 2002 for <i>Everest and Chips</i> (Shortlist)

Recordings

Robert Hull

Robert Hull reading from his poems

1A. Non

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2Frost

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3Hunting in February

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4Hedgehog and Moonlight

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5Self-advert for mole programme

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6Frogs

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7An April Poem

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8'Gift Offer - Traditional Wishing Well - £47-50'

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9Leaving

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10Table

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11Sound Countdown

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12Houses

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13Steam

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14English Rules - Not OK

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15As, as, as...

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16Lambs in May

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17Arundel Swimming Pool

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18Roman Terror

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19The Tale of Sir Toby the Timid

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20Galileo's Story

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21Space

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22The Girl Who Made the Stars - A Bushman Story

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23The Maker Said

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24When the Creator made the birds

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25Things with feathers

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26Beginnings

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27'Please do not feed the animals...'

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28Shiny cheery poem

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29High Tide

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30Sea-side September

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31Useful phrases for when you're on holiday

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32Hedge

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33Deer's Skull

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34Autumn Flood

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35Swallows in September

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36Starting School - Preston 1912

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37December

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38Snow

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39Robin at Christmas

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40It's Christmas So....

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41For Imogen - newly arrived

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42Peace Process

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43Recent History Lesson

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44Ping Feng

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45Humpty, the true story

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46Evening Song

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47Shadows

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48The Graveyard by Croston Church School

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Books by Robert Hull