Happy World Poetry Day 2016!

For great cartoons of all the poets who performed at this York Literature Festival poetry feast, go to Sam Zuppardi’s blog: https://brushingup.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/york-literature-festival-programme-launch/ (Scroll right down to the bottom for his cartoon of me performing this very poem!)

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life


Spring at Ackton Pastures

Spring is here! And Years 5 and 6 at Ackton Pastures Primary School in Castleford have been out taking photos to prove it.

I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days with them this week, teaching them my Top Secret photography technique. Which they put into practice with great gusto!

As you can see, they were taking photos high:

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

and low:

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

and came up with some fabulous pictures:

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Most of these children had never picked up a camera before. I was very impressed by how quickly they learned, how well they worked together as teams outdoors and, of course, by the photos they took.

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

Taking photos of the Spring at Ackton Pastures Primary School

Miss Coggill, their Head Teacher, wanted them to come up with photos for a display in school. I think it’s going to be a wonderful display!

Congratulations to all the children who took part in the workshops. I hope they will enjoy putting their new-found skills into practice more and more.

Thank you to the staff at Ackton Pastures who welcomed me so warmly and were so helpful during my time with them. (See staff feedback here.) Thank you too to the good folk at Fulford Framing in York for the viewfinders they generously provided for the children. The biggest thanks of all goes to the sun, for deciding to come out *just* when we needed it – two days running!

If you’d like your pupils to learn my Top Secret photography technique, then please get in touch.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to a return visit to Ackton Pastures next year!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life


Feed them bees!

Although it’s now the beginning of November, on sunny days you may well still see some Queen bumblebees out in your garden, feeding away. They are certainly out and about here in York:

Queen Buff-tailed bumblebee feeding on Mahonia here in York, 29 October 2013

Queen Buff-tailed bumblebee feeding on Mahonia here in York, 29 October 2013. Photo by Anneliese Emmans Dean

These Queen bumblebees need to build up energy stores to see them through their upcoming hibernation. And in many areas it’s up to us to provide them with flowers to do this! In fact, it’s up to us all to provide as many bumblebee-friendly flowers in our gardens as we can all year round. Why? Well, check out this video:

So, have you got flowers blooming in your garden now? Have you got bumblebee-friendly flowers in bloom right through the bumblebee year? How bee-friendly is your garden? To find out, try out the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s simple online Bee Kind tool.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust's Bee Kind toolIt will help you create a fabulous bee-friendly garden all year round.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust's online Bee Kind tool

What do we want?
Lots more flowers!
When do we want them?

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Composters’ Question Time

Everything you always wanted to know about compost, but were afraid to ask!

Written by me. Performed by local composting champions York Rotters.

Click here to view the video

Anneliese Emmans Dean
www.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing Poetry to Life

Ledbury Poetry Festival: Schools

Ledbury is a beautiful historic town in Herefordshire that plays host to a fabulous poetry festival each year (where I myself have performed).

Across the rooftops of historic Ledbury

Across the rooftops of historic Ledbury

But the Ledbury Poetry Festival is far from being a once-a-year flash in the pan.  It works throughout the year to promote poetry amongst  people across the age range. And as part of this work, I had the great good fortune to be invited back to Ledbury last week to work in a couple of local schools.

I very much enjoyed my visits to Cradley Primary School and Bromesberrow Primary School, where I was welcomed warmly by the staff and pupils.

Bromesberrow Primary School in Herefordshire

Bromesberrow Primary School in Herefordshire

What did I get up to in these schools? Well, I’ll let the Cradley News tell you:

‘Poet and photographer Anneliese Emmans Dean entertained us all with her brilliant ‘Buzzing!’ show – a selection of her wonderful poems and stunning photographs with musical interludes. We also learned quite a lot of science along the way! Anneliese worked with all the children throughout the day: Years 3 and 4 wrote beetle haiku poems; Years 5 and 6 wrote minibeast poems and Key Stage 1 became a giant millipede!’

There are some very talented budding poets down Cradley and Bromesberrow way, and I very much enjoyed working with them and watching them perform their poems at the end of the day.  I was also thrilled to read some of the poems that KS1 pupils had written in class after our Millipedes Galore workshop. Take a look at this wonderfully imaginative piece from Owen, for example:

Owen's poem

Owen's poem

There are also some talented naturalists. When I got to the ladybird section of my Buzzing! show, for instance, the pupils at Bromesberrow told me they had a whole crowd of ladybirds in the very room I was performing in.  So, I went to have a look, and lo and behold it was  a cluster of Harlequin ladybirds.

Harlequin ladybirds in Herefordshire

Harlequin ladybirds in Herefordshire

I had heard of Harlequin ladybirds massing like this, but I’d never actually seen them doing so. They provided a very useful springboard into our beetle poetry writing. But I’m not sure I’d like a whole host of them in my house!

I’m letting the Harlequin Ladybird Survey know about this sighting. If you see Harlequins where you are, do tell the survey.

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in my Herefordshire adventure, including the wonderful Fran Godfrey, who ferried me through beautiful countryside to the right schools at the right time, Victoria Patch and Chloe Garner of Ledbury Poetry Festival, and Alan who allowed us to stay in his beautiful house.

And if you’d like to be edu-tained with my ‘brilliant’ Buzzing! show at your school, just get in touch: info@theBigBuzz.biz

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing Poetry to Life

After-dinner entertainment is Buzzing!

Thank you to the ladies of Adel Ladies Luncheon Club in Leeds for making me so welcome last week. I greatly enjoyed meeting them, sampling their delicious food, and then entertaining them with a ‘Garden Heroes and Villains’ Buzzing! show.

I have had some lovely feedback from the ladies about the show, including from Margaret who wrote that it was:
‘Fantastic. The best talk ever!’

Speaker secretary Maureen wrote that it was:
‘Excellent. Bright and colourful and lively and very interesting.’

Meanwhile, it was also very enjoyable to meet the Senior Tours Canada party who were visiting my home town of York last month. I entertained them after their evening meal at the Dean Court Hotel with a ‘Bugs of York’ Buzzing! show. I introduced them to, at one end of the spectrum, our beautiful Tansy beetles (only found in York) and, at the other end, the Death watch beetles that are trying to eat their way through some of our historic buildings. And there were plenty of butterflies and bees inbetween.

Tansy beetles, unique to York. Photo copyright Anneliese Emmans Dean

Tansy beetles, unique to York. Photo copyright Anneliese Emmans Dean

The Senior Tours Canada Tour Leader, Jane McKay, wrote afterwards that the show was:
‘Really fun and interesting!’

It was very interesting for me too to hear from members of the party about the wildlife they have in their gardens in Canada, including Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds …

If you’d like your after-dinner entertainment to be Buzzing!, then contact me to discuss your requirements.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing Poetry to Life

Moth Day magic

Well, our first ever Moth Day at St Nick’s went well. A packed venue and it even stopped raining long enough for us to be outdoors and go on a moth walk round the nature reserve!

Yorkshire Moth Man Dr Dave Chesmore’s morning session consisted of an introductory presentation about how to identify moths, followed by the opening up of the moth trap  set up the previous night at St Nick’s.

Dr Dave Chesmore opens the moth trap at the St Nick's Moth Day

Dr Dave Chesmore opens the moth trap at the St Nick’s Moth Day

Then we set about trying to identify these moths, using the skills Dave had taught us …

Identifying moths at St Nick's Moth Day

Identifying moths at St Nick’s Moth Day

After a moth walk round the nature reserve, the day ended with a Buzzing! Moth Show from me – with more moth photos and poems than ever before.  One lady who came along said it was ‘her special treat to herself’!

You can listen to the last poem in the show by clicking below:

Thank you to Ivana for all her organisational work setting the day up, to Dave Chesmore, and to everyone who came along.

Happy Moth Hunting!

To put on a Moth Day where you are, email me

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.theBigBuzz.biz