Friday, 5 February 2016

The Talented Mister Spider

I am one of the lucky ones.

I am married to my soul mate. We have this fabulous life full of adventure living our dream  in the UK. We've lived in three different countries. We get to do cool and interesting things.

The Amazing Spiderman is just that--amazing. He is clever and funny, kind and compassionate,  talented and poetical.


Yup. Because you see, he was recently  a finalist in a national poetry competition! I know! It was all very exciting! The competition was sponsored by Bloomsbury Publishing and the National Literacy Trust. The goal was to write a poem about reading and he was one of ten finalists. There were around 400 entries and he was one of the top ten. 

Pretty exciting stuff, eh?

So last week we took the train to London for the prize-giving. We weren't sure what to expect, all we knew was we had to be at the Bloomsbury Publishing offices for 6:30.  He was allowed two guests so we invited our children's literature expert and close personal friend Karen who was lecturing and researching in nearby Reading to come along as well.

We arrived in the afternoon and had a delicious bite to eat at Leon and then toddled along to the Bloomsbury offices. it was a mix of swanky and casual--there was free wine and nibbles and the room was decorated with fairy lights. (this was the swanky bit)

All the poems in the shortlist were beautifully framed and were propped up against the window. It was our first time to see everyone else's poems and so we nibbled and drank and wandered up and down reading.

There were:
Many poems that rhymed
Two poems that didn't
A poem in the form of a limerick
 Poems that were meant to be read aloud in a dramatic way
A poem written in a long column
A tongue-twister-y poem
Two poems that mentioned a spider
One poem that mentioned the yellow brick road
One poem with a refrain that you could join in with and say together
A poem that played with language
Poems with lots of allusions to great books

There was a whole variety of poems. After a while, each poet was called up to stand in front of the drinks table (this was the casual bit) and read or recite their poem. Then we had more wine and  nibbles and they announced the winner.

Alas! it was not the Amazing Spiderman.  The poem they chose will go on posters that will be sent to all the schools in the country. It was a good winner--it rhymes and has a nice bouncy rhythm when you read it so it will be perfect for kids to read and recite.

If you want to read the winning poem you can go here:
Here is a photo with all the finalists. Can you pick out the Amazing Spiderman?
second from the right

But what was his poem you ask? A masterpiece, I reply. I am not being biased just because we are married--I genuinely think it was an excellent poem. it references so many great works of literature, but it also makes references that could be any book of that genre (even if he had a specific book in mind when he wrote it).

So without further ado, I give you The Great Poem.

Why are you sitting there doing nothing they ask
I look up from my book

I am running away with rabbits looking for new warrens
I am escaping from prisons with mice
I am weaving words in a web and studying spells in school
I am chasing shadows around the room
I am devising deals with dragons and catching children's dreams
I am asking wishes from strange creatures
I am lying and waiting to hear the hall clock strike thirteen

Why are you standing there doing nothing I ask
I return to my book
and read

I was so proud of him I could burst. Even though he didn't win we got a big swag bag with free books. Who doesn't like free books? The bag also featured the cover of the new heavily illustrated Harry Potter book.

We  bid adieu to the lovely Karen and wandered back to our hotel with some crisps and hummus (and some vegan chocolate pudding) and had more nibbles and watched crap telly. Actually, it wasn't crap telly at all--it was a show about the life of Beatrix Potter hosted by Patricia Routledge (you might know her as Hyacinth Bucket). The crap telly came afterwards.

Then the next day we had an adventure in the British Library! Stay tuned for our journey over the rainbow!


  1. I can't say enough wonderful things about this whole post----yes your husband is amazing; yes you are indeed soulmates; yes he's talented and has the best karma at winning contests, and yes the poem itself is very worthy. Kudos and Smooches to you two!

  2. Delightful! The poem: every syllable! The blog: every word picture - I could almost smell the nibbles! Thanks, once again, for sharing your life in another land, for those of us who can only dream of such (for now, says the potential expat! ;-D).

  3. Please pass along my congratulations to the Amazing Spiderman! I love his poem, and even though it's been years since I have seen him, I had no trouble finding him in your photo. I enjoy your blog so much! :)

  4. I love the poem! Wonderful!!!

  5. Congratulations! I loved his poem xx