Hull never patronises children by pretending to be one himself - he's too mindful of their uniqueness to behave so improperly. - New Statesman
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About Robert Hull
Robert’s poems represent a wide range of themes and forms, including re-telling stories from his family history and even going back to the Romans.
There are poems which look to space and those which ask us to look again at things we know, to ‘scan each path’ for frogs and peer at whales and witches drawn on a table, or hear the familiar sounds of bath-taps. These are mixed in with poems which question readers playfully, asking who is ‘A. Non’? or why can’t we use the word ‘and’ a lot.
Robert’s poems move away from traditional topics for children’s poetry but his careful reading always brings the reader in. The poems younger children might enjoy have layers of meaning. ‘Arundel swimming pool’, its noisy splashes really coming through thanks to Robert’s reading of all its alliteration and assonance, may be ‘good fun for everyone’ but, we’re told, it’s going to be shut down ‘to make a lot of money / for someone’, telling us about the way politicians make decisions in the community.
Robert uses both free verse and rhyme but is always a storyteller at heart, his delivery just right for making us feel we’re at his kitchen table or watching his mum on her first day at school.
Robert writes short and long poems and poems which rhyme and don’t rhyme: listen to ‘Please do not feed the animals…’ and Starting School – Preston 1912’ to understand how different his poems can be, from sing-song lists to moving family stories.
He uses lots of alliteration and assonance , ‘gutters run small glinting spates of water’ in ‘Snow’.
Robert reads in a voice to suit the poem. ‘Please do not feed the animals’ has a lively, snappy rhythm but ‘Deer’s Skull’ is read more quietly and slowly to suit the seriousness of the subject.
Even funny poems carry a deeper message. In ‘Do not feed the animals the end lines are ‘Most importantly – do not feed the cheetah / your teacher’. In ‘Table’ all attempts to clean the table fail because it holds the history of the family who has used it.
His poetry helps us understand important things happening around us. In ‘Arundel Swimming Pool’ the Swimming Pool ends up being sold to make more money. In ‘Starting School – Preston 1912’ the poem explores the ambitions of a teenage girl which society won’t allow.
Robert has written three full collections of poetry among over 40 books he has published. He regularly runs writing workshops in schools, and provides articles on all sorts of topics for education magazines.
His book Stargrazer was shortlisted for a prize and his work in education has also been listed for awards.
Robert's recording was made on March 21st at Pier Productions in Brighton, and was produced by Anne Rosenfeld.
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Encouraging Shakespeare, Peterloo, 1993
Stargrazer, Hodder, 1997
Everest and Chips, Oxford University Press, 2002
On Portsmouth Station, Beafred, 2008
High Tide, Salt Publishing, 2010
1998 The Signal Prize for Stargazers
2002 CRPE Award for Everest and Chips (Shortlist)
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