Poet Interviews

We have asked children's poets for their reflections on their own writing and for tips for teachers and children. This section of the website includes these interviews.


John Agard was born in Guyana and writes for children and adults. His latest collection of poetry The Rainmaker Danced was shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2018.
Allan Ahlberg is the author of over 150 books. His popular collections of poetry include Please Mrs Butler and Heard it in the Playground.
Ruth Awolola
Ruth Awolola is a student, youth worker and poet currently. She is one of the 5 poets included in Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry which was highly commended at the CLiPPA 2018

James Berry's poems celebrate the inner city life of Britain and the rural Caribbean. They draw on the language and speech rhythms of both cultures.

Valerie Bloom is a performance poet, originally from Jamaica, and many of her poems are in Jamaican Patois.

Steven Camden (also known as Polarbear) is a spoken-word artist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter.

James Carter
James Carter is a prize-winning poet, guitarist and educational writer. His collection of poems Zim Zam Zoom! was shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2017.
Joseph Coelho
Joseph Coelho is a writer and performer. Winner of the CLiPPA Poetry Award in 2015 and his collection Overheard in a Tower Block was shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2018.
Sarah Crossan is an author and poet. Her verse novel One won the CLiPPA Poetry Award 2016 and Moonrise was shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2018.

Julia Donaldson MBE is a writer, playwright and performer and the 2011–2013 Children's Laureate.

Allie Esiri is a former actress, now a writer. She is the editor A Poem for Every Night of the Year and A Poem for Every Day of the Year and was a judge for the CLiPPA in 2015.

Philip Gross has published twenty poetry collections, including four for children, and won many of the major awards in British poetry, from the National Poetry Competition to the TS Eliot Prize.

Sue Hardy-Dawson
Sue Hardy-Dawson is a Yorkshire born poet, artist, and illustrator.Where Zebras Go is her debut solo collection and shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2018.
A F Harrold is a poet, performer and children's author. His work for children includes Things You Find In A Poet's Beard. He is chair of the judges for CLiPPA 2019.
John Hegley has produced ten books of verse and prose pieces, two CDs and one mug. He was the Chair of the judging panel for CLiPPA 2016.

Kathy Henderson is a writer, poet and illustrator with many published titles for children. She has won many awards for her titles including The Kurt Maschler Prize.

Jackie Kay is an author and poet . She was awarded an MBE in 2006 for her services to poetry and in 2016 announced as the Scots Makar (national poet of Scotland)

John Lyons, winner of the WindRush Arts Achiever Award and Peterloo Poetry Prize, was born in Trinidad and educated as an artist and art educator in the UK.

Aoife Mannix was born in Sweden of Irish parents. She grew up in Dublin, Ottawa and New York before moving to the UK.  She is the author of several poetry collections.

Roger's collection Poetry Pie was shortlisted for the 2016 CLiPPA award. He was the chair of judges for CLiPPA 2014 and 2015 and is a patron of CLPE.

Tony Mitton wrote his first book Plum in 1998 and he has since had 14 more publications and won numerous awards for his work.

Michaela Morgan
Michaela has had over 140 titles published and she edited and contributed to Wonderland: Alice in Poetry which was shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2017.

Grace Nichols draws on the language patterns, rhythms and themes of her Guyana homeland as well as those of contemporary Britain. Listen to the music of these lines as she reads aloud her poems.

Karl Nova is a Hip Hop artist, author and poet. He is the winner of CLiPPA 2018 for this debut collection Rhythm and Poetry.
Hilda Offen is an author and illustrator. Her poetry collection Blue Balloons and Rabbit Ears was shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2015.
Rachel Piercey is the editor at Emma Press. She co-edited and is featured in Falling Out of the Sky. Poems about Myths and Monsters which was shortlisted for the 2016 CLiPPA Award.
Rachel's work has been published in numerous anthologies. Her collection The Language of Cat won the 2011 CLPE Poetry Award and she was Chair of judges for CLiPPA 2017.
Michael Rosen
Michael Rosen, former Children's Laureate (2007-2009) is a renowned poet, performer, broadcaster and scriptwriter. Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots was shortlisted for the CLiPPA in 2017.

George Szirtes was born in Budapest and came to England as a refugee in 1956. His poetry has been widely published in magazines and books.

Kate Wakeling is a poet and ethnomusicologist. Kate is the winner of the CLiPPA 2017 for Moon Juice, her first poetry collection for children.

Several of Jennifer Watson’s poems feature in the CLiPPA 2015 shortlisted book Let in the Stars: New Poetry for Children.