A Slice of Butterworth-Toast: Writing Poems for Children

A Slice of Butterworth-Toast: Writing Poems for Children

Write new poems for children, inspired by Charles Causley.

The children’s poems of Charles Causley are joyful – mischievous and magical, gentle and anarchic. They have playground chants, nursery rhymes, and folk traditions running through their veins. And they sound wonderful: Causley uses rhythm and rhyme with effervescent delight, and loves the song-like resonance of repetitions and refrains. From the poignant ‘Timothy Winters’ to the deliciously obtuse ‘Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast’, Causley’s poems run the gamut of human behaviour and take in the same complex emotions and existential questions as ‘adult’ poems. He also writes very beautifully about the natural world.  

So, using Causley’s poems as our starting point, we will read and write a wide range of poems for children aged 5-11, exploring different styles, subjects, and forms, and considering how to pitch these for a young audience. We’ll look at the work of other children’s poets writing on similar themes and discuss how to write with performance in mind – because one of the great joys of writing for children is performing with them! Come down Zig Zag with me and let’s see what we find… 

An ‘Interactive Course’ with 5 sessions over 10 weeks, starting 10 May 2022. Feedback on Interactive Courses is delivered via Instant Messenger ‘Live Chats’, running 7–9 pm (GMT) on fortnightly Tuesdays for this course; first Live Chat: 24 May.

To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected] Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected] For more information visit our Online Courses page. 

Image credit: Jonathan Borba 

About Rachel Piercey View Profile

Rachel Piercey is a poet, editor and tutor for adults and children. She has co-edited three children’s poetry anthologies with the Emma Press and regularly performs her work and runs poetry workshops in primary schools. She recently launched an online journal of new poems for children, Tyger Tyger Magazine, which will publish its first issue in January 2022. Her children’s poems are featured in comprehension textbooks from Schofield & Sims and Bloomsbury, as well as various anthologies, and in 2021 she published her first poetry picture book, If You Go Down the Woods Today (Magic Cat, illustrated by Freya Hartas). Rachel has taught on various themes for The Poetry School, including previous courses on writing poems for children, and is a regular contributor to the Children’s Poetry Summit blog. She has also published three pamphlets of poems for adults. www.rachelpierceypoet.com 

Rachel was a wonderful tutor and clearly determined to ensure every one of us got as much as possible from the course and went away enriched each week. Her course materials were exceptional not only in helping with each assignment but with fully and very broadly exploring our theme of poetry and walking. I found my time on this course hugely productive and I will be watching out for Rachel's name on your list of future course tutors. We were all clamouring for more!

Related Courses