Comments and Quotes
"Helên Thomas is magical! It was great to hear the spoken word, but so many luscious words sitting on the page great to read as well."(Norbert Hirschhorn www.bertzpoet.com )
"Helên Thomas is a proven performance poet with a broad and incisive repertoire and the happy knack of saying the right thing at the right time for the right audience – whether they know it or not." (Paul Neads, Editor of 'The Ugly Tree' Flapjack Press.)
"Loved, loved, loved your poems. Love your choice of words, your wit, and your often hilarious insights." (Mike Marble - facebook)
"Helên Thomas is one of the UK's very best performance poets - and a witty, crafty, formally inventive writer for the page, as well.”(Todd Swift. Editor of ‘Shortfuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry’ Rattapallax Press, 2002)
“Helên Thomas’ irreverent style and soft-sound intonations were spot on as she served up snack after snack of poetic fare.”(‘Literally Speaking’, Cheltenham Festival of Literature 2002)
“Look out for the poems on domestic items which are beautifully timed.” (The List, Edinburgh)
“A surreal burlesque with permission to rhyme… a lyrical super-hero!" (Chloe Poems)
“One of the Northwest’s funniest, LOUDEST and most original poets!" (Buxton Fringe Festival)
"As good as dancing round your handbag to the sparkle of a glitterball. Helên Thomas is as high octane as a girls’ night out with karaoke, sponsored by Stella. Helên successfully engages her audience with everyday musings on the world so that you're left thinking - I wish I'd said that. Read, listen, but most of all enjoy." (Rosemary Dun, poet and promoter of Big Mouth Cabaret, Bristol.)
“I think you are going to be the world’s greatest poem writer in the whole wild world.”
“I love your poems so much, I think you deserve a treat.”
(Pupils at Holy Spirit Primary School, Netherton.)
Comments re. the 'We Are Poets!' anthology of children's poetry:
"Helên sets about planting seeds with this super collection of contemporary poetry for children. She is well known for her entertaining and thought provoking poetry readings and school theatre and with this book sets about translating some of her energy, enthusiasm and playfulness to the page. Playing with structure and form she produces magical poetry which shows how relevant poetry can be. It's fun, it's amazing, it's Helên on top form. Some great illustrations by Paul Neads. This is a collection that should be in every school library" ( Jim Bennett, The Poetry Kit.)
"This book of young people’s verse will have your sprogs agog with humour, both cheeky and endearing. The right side of risky and just a little frisky, ‘We Are Poets!’ by Helên Thomas promises mirth and learning from the offset." (Gerry Potter, previously known as Chloe Poems, Gingham Diva.)
And a lovely email that arrived out of the blue...
My name is Stewart Stark. I am an English teacher at an international school in Spain. I was searching the internet for some inspiring performance poems for my Year 7 class here in Spain. I came across site after site and poem after poem that claimed to be performance, but they just didn't seem to have the fun aspect I wanted for our assembly.
As soon as I came across your poems. I knew they were what I was looking for. The class divided into groups and each group learnt to perform one your poems (Scabby Knees, When the World was Made of Sugar, Memory Beach, Everybody Everywhere Stomp your Feet and Rhyming Riddles on Pushes and Pulls).
The children, from British, Spanish and French backgrounds really enjoyed learning to perform them. Everybody Everywhere... was performed by four children, but they brought in the whole audience of children, teachers and parents aswell. And the Headteacher, who flapped her wings very enthusiastically at the right time. It was fantastic.
Memory Beach was a complete contrast. It was more calm. The children wore wellies, shorts, had towels and buckets and spades etc They had memorised their verses and performed them really really well. Many thanks again and I look forward to using more of your poetry."
Stewart Stark (BEd Hons - Chester College - 1993 to 1997)
Year 9 Review of Visit From Poet Helen Thomas.
Helen reassured us that we were allowed to laugh at her outrageous poetry as it was imaginative and unrealistic. One of our favourite poems was 'I would like to be an egg'. This five minute poem included Helen expressing why she would like to be re-incarnated into an egg. Helen then told us about her different styles of poetry and how she gets her ideas for example, she gave the whole class a task of writing a line after seeing a red dot, the first thing that reminded us of this red dot, we had to write down. The lines ranged from 'A devil’s eye' to a 'colourful frisbee'. When we put all 26 lines together, it made a spectacular and interesting instant poem. After we had learnt about instant poetry, Helen then moved on to talk to us about using our senses to write a poem. Each table was given a different sense and was set off to write a poem about our school, based on the sense. Finally, after all of the great advice Helen had given us, she set us free to write our own performance poem about anything at all. When we had written them, a few brave girls got up in front of the whole class and performed their crazy poems. One of our class favourites was by Natasha Dutton, she wrote an extraordinary poem, titled 'The one-eyed fish'. After having a great session with Helen, we learnt a lot of new skills to help us with writing our own performance poetry. All of year nine is very grateful to Helen Thomas for coming in especially to help us. We would like to thank the whole of the English department for arranging the session, it was a great day!
by Year 9 Pupils, Bury Girls Grammar School, March 2012.
BOOK REVIEW – HELÊN THOMAS – WE ARE POETS! 2008 Flapjack Press.
A lively, lovely and very funny collection of children’s verse in the spirit of Edward Lear and Roald Dahl, among others. Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories may well be an influence on Why Fruit Bats Must Always Eat Fruit. Modern rap influences Anytown School Superstars Rap. This one cleverly lets the kids insert the name of their own school without ruining the flow of the verse – song in the process. Helên, an established poet, visited several schools to read the poems out live – a real treat for the kids – I have seen the author in performance and to encourage the pupils to have a go at writing their own poetry. It was obviously a very successful project as teachers have told Helên that some of the children have never stopped writing poetry since. There are dream poems about looking forward to holidays and seeing the world (Let’s Globe Trot) and irreverent looks at the aspects of school life few of us ever enjoy (I hate tests). If I have a favourite poem here it’s My Baby Brother, in which the narrator wishes she had a pet dog instead.
Though there is just one author, the poems have two distinctive personalities – Penelope Page, who writes about nice pleasant things such as ice cream (Vanilla Villanelle) in a posh voice, and Gabby Mouth, who writes about being sick on public transport and leaving others to take the blame for it (Why you won’t See Me Travelling by Bus), how some kids can’t control their bodily functions (Burping Beryl) and the way some of us just can’t keep neat and tidy (Dirt Magnet). In school performances, teacher Kate McGann often assisted Helen.
There are limericks, and structured poems as well as verse that just play with the joys of rhyme and alliteration. The book comes with tremendous cartoon illustrations provided by Paul Neads.