About Mandy Coe

Mandy’s poems are filled with joy and delight and often explore and mirror the movements you might make as you run and play.  The children in her poems have special powers, or at least powerful imaginations, and they take us into real and make-believe places. Our imaginations are the key to keeping those powers strong as we grow up and we draw a burst of energy and possibility from every line.

Mandy’s poems talk about transformations and seeing the world through different people’s eyes, as well as the way we use all five of our senses to better understand the world and the creatures in it.

You can feel a strong rhythm in Mandy’s poems even when they don’t rhyme. She mixes up long lines with shorter lines to show how pace and speed change the meaning of words.  They’re full of colour too and the change of pitch in Mandy’s voice, along with her use of rhyme and rhythm as she reads them, helps them come to life like a firework display of language.

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Mandy thinks poetry is the language of children. Many poems feature children and poetry is a place for them to explore more grown-up ideas, such as the animals who’ve been lost from the world in the last 100 years in ‘Extinct’.

There is a rich curiosity in Mandy’s poems and several ask direct questions, but the answers are not always what you, or the narrator, expect.

Her imagery is precise and satisfying because of the accuracy with which she describes things.  There is warmth in her work and a great skill for making us feel connected to the people, animals and places she writes about.

Mandy uses compound words quite regularly which have a special rhythm in the way they are constructed. Repetition helps to make Mandy’s poems memorable, acting like a chorus so we can join in when we hear her read.

Mandy lives in Liverpool.  She writes for adults and children. Her work has been included in lots of anthologies as well as her own books.  She often works in schools as a visiting author, and has written a book with another poet, Jean Sprackland, which is a guide for writers working in schools.  Mandy has had lots of residencies, when you spend some time in a particular place to see what poems might emerge.

Mandy was inspired to write by her mum and a teacher, Mr Bailey, but she didn’t really start writing until she was in her twenties.

She thinks the planet is a wonderful thing and wants to celebrate it through writing.

When Mandy is not writing she plays the guitar, watches films, looks after an allotment and a pond and likes walking.


Mandy Coe's recording was made at The Audio Workshop, London on 26 April 2010. The producer was Anne Rosenfeld.

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Selected Bibliography

Let in the Stars: New Poetry for Children, Publisher: Manchester Metropolitan University, 2015

If You Could See Laughter, Salt Publishing, 2010

Clay, Shoestring Press, 2009

Our Thoughts Are Bees: Working with Writers and Schools, Wordplay Press, 2005

The Weight of Cows, Shoestring Press, 2004

Pinning the Tail on the Donkey, Spike Press, 2000

Red Shoes: A Novel in Pictures About Discrimination, Good Stuff Press, 1997


2007 Hawthornden Fellow

2009 Manchester Poetry Prize

2012 Manchester Metropolitan Visiting Fellow