It’s an exciting day for poetry today! Not only is it National Poetry Day, but it’s also the day we find out who is on the shortlist for CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award)! And I’m really happy to be sharing the shortlist on the blog this morning, announced by none other than Michael Rosen on behalf of CLPE! (view here).
The Award is run by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). Established in 2003, the CLiPPA is the UK’s only award for published poetry for children. As well as celebrating outstanding poetry, the CLiPPA encourages schools to explore the shortlist with their pupils through its Shadowing Scheme, each year prompting poetry performances in many hundreds of classrooms across the UK.
The 2020 shortlist reflects the extraordinary vitality of the UK’s poetry publishing for children. Birmingham based independent The Emma Press has two books on the five-strong shortlist, including a collection by the Spanish poet Karmelo C. Iribarren newly translated into English by Lawrence Schimel, and an illustrated collection of LGBT themed poetry based on retellings of Scottish folk tales. Tiny independent Troika Books are also represented with Cherry Moon, a collection of nature poems by Zaro Weil, illustrated by newcomer Junli Song. The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog published by Walker Books is an anthology of ‘how to’ poems collected by poet Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Richard Jones that features an eclectic mix of topics. In Midnight Feasts, published by Bloomsbury, A. F. Harrold collects together poems ancient and very modern all on the theme of food, pairing for example Ian McMillan’s Praise Poem for Yorkshire Puddings with Indian Cooking by Moniza Alvi.
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said “In this challenging year, we are particularly delighted to be announcing the shortlist for the CLiPPA and to be doing it on National Poetry Day, when everyone is invited to celebrate and share poetry. Our judges have selected five poetry collections that, though very different, will each inspire and enthral young readers. We are excited to make the announcement and look forward to sharing the shortlist through our shadowing scheme.”
Midnight Feasts. Tasty Poems chosen by A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Katy Riddell, Bloomsbury. The judges said: a delicious and quirky collection of poems old and new, skilfully curated and perfectly paced.
Poems the Wind Blew In, Karmelo C. Iribarren, illustrated by Riya Chowdhury, translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel, The Emma Press. The judges said: a book to carry around with you, proof that poetry is ideas, thoughts and emotions captured in words.
The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems, compiled by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Richard Jones, Walker Books. The judges said: a wonderfully varied collection of poems that will speak directly to young children.
Wain: LGBT Reimaginings of Scottish Folklore, Rachel Plummer, illustrated by Helene Boppert, The Emma Press. The judges said: a fresh voice and take on something that could have felt archaic but is made to feel new.
Cherry Moon, Zaro Weil, illustrated by Junli Song, ZaZaKids Books/ Troika Books. The judges said: meditative and nicely paced; Weil presents beautiful snapshots of the natural world and has thought carefully about the form for each.
Steven Camden, poet, winner of the 2019 CLiPPA commented: “I was pretty nervous going into the judging meeting because I felt really strongly about my choices. My favourites on the list really affected me and I was apprehensive about fighting their corner with people I didn’t really know. Within five minutes it was clear that those books that touched me had touched the other judges just as strongly and what followed was a gorgeous celebratory conversation of some truly stunning creations. What a treat and privilege.”
This year the judges are poets Valerie Bloom and Steven Camden, winner of the CLiPPA 2019, alongside Tracey Guiry, director of the Poetry Archive and Charlotte Hacking, Central Learning Programmes Leader at CLPE.
In a first for the CLiPPA, thanks to a new partnership with The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, the winner of the 2020 Award will be revealed at the culmination of the CLF schools’ programme, on Friday 9October, in a Poetry Show introduced by CLiPPA judges, poets Valerie Bloom and Steven Camden, and featuring performances by the shortlisted poets as well as live drawing by former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. Schools across the UK and beyond will be able to watch the show for free on The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival platform and access poetry CPD sessions created by CLPE. The free Shadowing Scheme to involve schools in CLiPPA 2020 will launch alongside the announcement of the winner.
The CLiPPA is delivered in partnership with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and supported by Arts Council England.