Poet of the Week: Emily Dodd

 Emily Dodd is the Author of Banana me beautiful (Chipmunka Publishing) 

She is currently living and working in Edinburgh (Scotland) storytelling, delivering Environmental Education, making podcasts and films and writing for BBC Scotland (CBeebies).
Emily has performed her stories to a variety or audiences including live to 1000 children on the Internet through Scottish National Schools intranet Glow (breaking a record) and even to Her Majesty the Queen during the presentation of the Queens Award to the Scottish Seabird Centre.

Emily volunteers as a multimedia journalist for award winning Hyper-local website Greener Leith and as an EdinbuzzSocial Media surgeon (helping community groups with things like facebook and twitter). She received an Inspiring Volunteer Award for her volunteering earlier this year.

Poet on Poetry's Questions for Emily Dodd

1.  What inspires you as a poet?
Thing that surprise me, things that make me smile. The world around me, nature and the outdoors, science. 

2 What advice do you have for other poets?
Write for the sheer pleasure of it. Enjoy it. Go to a writers group and share your work with others. Make space for writing, don't squash it in. Listen to other people, take feedback, seek feedback, thrive on feedback. Don't just write poems, write news articles, write for websites, write for children, write presents for people, keep challenging yourself. Enjoy life, do things that restore your soul, then it will be happy to create.

3.            What prompted you to start writing poetry?
I started as a child, it was just something I did because I enjoyed it. I liked music and reading, rhyme and rhythm and playing with language. I once spoke in rhyme for an entire week, I was 7 or 8. It must have been frustrating for my family. I remember my Dad saying "how many oranges will you eat this month?" (because nothing rhymes with month or orange) but I'd forgotten I was even speaking in rhyme so I just said I'm not sure and he asked me again (he was quite pleased with himself for having come up with a sentence I couldn't respond to in rhyme) so I said maybe two or three a week, why does it matter? It was a Sunday so I must have decided to stop rhyming because it was the end of the week. As far as they new I'd be speaking in rhyme for the rest of my life so they must have been relieved to find it was finally over!

4.            Where do you see yourself going in the future as a poet?
Good question, I've written a few picture books so I'd like to get some of them published. I want to keep writing poems. I'm just about to do a fringe show so I'm getting used to performing poems to adult audiences (I normally work with children). I've also really loved writing for Children's BBC (CBeebies), it's so much fun and I find scripting for that age something that comes naturally, I've been writing educational workshops and shows for 4 - 6 year olds for the last 6 years. I also really enjoy writing stories, songs and poems to teach science so I'd like to do more of that. Finally I'd like to run creative writing workshops with all ages, I've just started doing that. 

5.            What are your favorite poetry journals?
I tend to read poems after recommendations from friends. I have a great book - 'Poem for the day' which has a different poem for each day of the year, I've discovered poets I enjoy like Maya Angelou and Robert Frost. A scottish poet I really enjoy is Gerry Cambridge, he photographs nature and writes poems and adds facts too e.g. head of a common frog. I love the way he's inspired by nature and the science behind it. It's a perfect combination for me. I also really enjoy seeing performance poetry. Recently I've come across Pablo Neruda and his book of questions, brilliant! I still feel I have a lot to discover in terms of poetry so I'd be interested to hear your recommendations.

6. Can you tell us a little about the poems your chose to present today?  What inspired them maybe, or anything else you'd like to say about them.
I noticed you had a request for submissions of wilderness poetry so I submitted 'The Little Oak Tree', I wrote that in the wilderness, it's aimed at children but I think the message behind it is for everyone. And the Oak tree really does support 600 different species. 

Starling my darling is about something suprising me, something I thought was ordinary and was right under my nose but I'd never seen the beauty in it because I'd not stopped long enough to see it. 

Then 'Switch' is all about my change in thinking. 

Emily Dodd's Poetry 

Listen to Emily read her poem Starling, My Darling here

The Little Oak Tree

Once there was a little oak who looked up to the mountains  

Little Oak, who are you, to go and lift your head up to the sky?  
Little Oak, you’ll never make it  
Little Oak, don’t aim so high  
Little Oak, is it really worth it?  
Little Oak, why even try?  

Little Oak, there’s no room for oak trees here  
Little Oak, now please don’t cry  

And all around the oak tree  
Were plants that would stay small  
But little oak looked up and hoped  
That one day he’d be tall  

Little oak learned to sing,   
His song went like this  

Please, let me be, the oak tree, I was made to be  
Please, let me be, let me be myself,   
Please, let me be, the oak tree, I was made to be  
Oh please, encourage me  
Oh please, don’t discourage me  
Oh please, encourage me  

As the years passed   
The Oak Tree kept on singing  

In many years there was a tree   
That stood so strong and tall  
600 creatures lived in it,  
Its song sustained them all  

It went like this:  

Wonderful, beautiful  
There’s only one like you.  
And only one who was made to do 
The things that you can do  

Wonderful, beautiful  
There’s only one like you  
And only one who was made to do  
The things that you will do  

It was a mighty oak tree  
So mighty it could see  
That words of life   
Can change our course  
And alter history  

So listen to the oak tree   
And help others to see  
The wonderful creation  
That they were made to be  

Footnote: I was sat by a little oak on the side of a loch. The oak was surrounded 
by plants of similar height, the mountains were ahead on the other side of the 
loch and the little oak appeared to be looking at them. This was written during a 
solo wilderness period as part of the of the Sirius Wilderness Foundation 
Scholarship in October 2010. 


My energy saving light bulb,
You're my switch to make things right.
You're my graduated, understated, ice cream of de-light.


What you lack in elegance,
You redeem in radiance.
What I lack in eloquence,
You redeem in pounds and pence.


You're my personal sunrise surprise,
My shining light of bright demise.
My world is changed now through your eyes,
To summarise - I love you


Awaken curiosity,
Unveil the eyes of all to see,
The marvel of technology,
In your potential energy.

I crave your luminosity, 
But there are those who do not see...


They do not see your glory,
Blind to your wattage story.

My energy saving light bulb,
Oh why have they forsaken you?
Forgive them, forgive them.
For they know not watt they screw. 

Footnote: Switch won the Communicate Science poetry competition for World 
Book Night in March 2011.  
Switch was part of a Greenerleith special I wrote in January 2011 to try to 
encourage people to consider green new years resolutions, I jumped in the sea 
on new years day to further the cause.  
Finally, Switch featured on the Energy Saving Trust article ‘Lightbulbs, out with 
the old, in with the new’ in January 2011.  

You can follow emily on twitter (@auntyemily), find banana me beautiful on facebook here and read more from emily on her blog or on Greener Leith


Badger said...

I really enjoyed this article, you are a talented young lady with much to offer and such an inspiration to others.A

Badger said...

I really enjoyed this article, what a talented young lady you are and such an inspiration to others. A