Joseph Coelho

b. UNKNOWN


Young readers are already familiar with stars such as Mcgough, Rosen, Ahlberg and Magee. Let us hope they will become as familiar with Joseph Coelho’s work. Books For Keeps


About Joseph Coelho

Joseph Coelho has published three books of poetry, Werewolf Club Rules – which won the 2015 CLPE CLiPPA Poetry Award, Overheard in a Tower Block, which was short- and longlisted for several awards in 2018, including the Carnegie Medal and A Year Of Nature Poems illustrated by Kelly Louise Judd, published in 2019.  Joseph grew up in Roehampton, a place he has called “the last village in London”. The sights and sounds of Roehampton, the tower block Joseph lived in with his mum and younger sister, its surrounding mix of green spaces and concrete buildings, has had a huge influence on his writing, and the colours and characters of childhood are a driving force for Joseph’s musical poems. 

The poems Joseph has recorded for the Children’s Poetry Archive show off his energy, his talent for making memorable images and his love of mischief and play. Joseph’s poem ‘If All The World Were Paper’, his first to be published, is a mesmerising poem in which he wonders about a place where “kind deeds would be post-it notes/that stick to the doer in ever-growing trails”. Joseph’s reading of the poem and its refrain “If all the world were paper” makes it feel like a magic spell, one which allows us to share in his dreaming and encourages us to think about other sorts of worlds, and perhaps to try to come up with our own different versions, made from treasure, or music, or anything our imaginations can conjure. 

Like so many writers, Joseph had an inspiring teacher who helped him fall in love with storytelling. This globe-trotting teacher, Miss Flotsam, is the subject of her own poem, with her “Brown hair turned golden/under distant suns”. The poem’s chiming sounds, “cycled through cyclones”, “hearts heaved” are matched with a highly visual set of images which help us to understand Miss Flotsam’s protectiveness, especially when she glares at a bully “with an eye that could turn fists/into begging bowls”. 

‘The Watchers’ is a spooky story; its rhyming stanzas push us on to its terrifying conclusion and conjure up the scariest nursery rhymes we can remember. These statues, whose “legs were thin and sharp” stare out of Joseph’s memory, and are based on public artworks in Roehampton. As well as showing us how brilliantly sound patterns can work to move us through a poem, ‘The Watchers’ teaches us new words (do look up malefic in a dictionary) and sends us back to a poet from the past who inspired it, called Walter De La Mare. 

Joseph has said that one of his favourite things about being a writer is getting to play with words, and that’s perfectly illustrated by ‘The Duelling Duo’. This is a poem built on homophones – words which are spelled differently but sound the same, like “knight” and “night”. This poem builds a funny, surreal story from language’s possible misunderstanding, and it’s almost impossible to listen to Joseph’s gleeful wordplay without wanting to try to make a whole new story using other homophones. 

Joseph’s recording was made on the 10th October 2017 at the Soundhouse, London

Overheard In A Tower Block, Otter-Barry Books, 2017

Werewolf Club Rules, Frances Lincoln, 2014

Prizes

2015 CLPE CLiPPA Poetry Award Werewolf Club Rule

Longlisted 2018 Carnegie Medal Overheard In A Tower block

Shortlisted 2018 CLPE CLiPPA Poetry Award Overheard In A Tower block

Longlisted 2019 UKLA Book Award Overheard In A Tower block

Recordings

Joseph Coelho Downloads

1Argument

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2Binley House

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3Byron Hates Water

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4Child of Opposites

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5City Kids

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6Conquer

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7Cross-Country School Run

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8Dada's Stories

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9Eastbourne

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10Grandfather's Seal

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11Halloween's Crumble

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12Hamster Hamster

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13Hide and Seek in the Woods

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14If all the world were paper

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15Introduction

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16Just the messenger

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17Kiss petals onto my eyes

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18Learn the basics of electronics with the Electronic Project Lab for Kids, 50 different circuits that you can build at home

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19Light Bringer - Prometheus 1 of 3

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20M O R E R A P S

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21Man, I Had it Made

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22Miss Flotsam

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23On Exam Results Day

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24Plant your heart in me

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25Prometheus Bound - 2 of 3

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26Prometheus unbound 3 of 3

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27Recipe For This Boy

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28Red Ruby Rings

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29Seagulls to confetti

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30Secret Eating

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31Smashing Snails in the Rain

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32Tables Red, Green and Blue

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33Teetering Towers

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34The Duelling Duo

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35The Guy

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36The Mermaid Queen

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37The Satyr's Head

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38The Story Builders

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39The Watchers

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40Timmy Tell Tale

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41You Look Like a Rainbow

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