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NaPoWriMo 2015

NaPoWriMo #12 – How To Fix A Telescope In Outer Space

So, I decided to attempt a poem for children today because I was watching Daredevil and playing an old Playstation One game and felt nostalgic. It was also inspired by a headline on the BBC

1) Make a packed lunch. Better yet,
ask someone else to do it – if it makes them happy
they can go by Ground Control.
They can help with what comes next.

2) Set off at night, that way you can aim for the moon.
Plus, it’s cooler and stars are so pretty.

3) Take a friend. Someone that you trust
to keep you entertained. A pet will do
but don’t take a bird – they can’t swallow in space
and, as creatures with wings, are less likely to enjoy the view.

4) Wrap up warm ’cause space is cold. Like, really cold.
You know those days where you pretend to be a dragon,
shooting ice or steam at passersby, well it’s so much worse than that.
Take more socks than you think you need.
There’s no such thing as too many socks.

5) Kick off from the earth.
You may need some help with this.
Ask your dad if you can borrow his old and worn out brown work boots.
The thicker sole means one less inch to jump
and the leather makes an impressive crackling sound
whenever you leap up.

6) Hold hands (or paws) with your best friend,
no sense you spending half your time in space
trying to fight against a vacuum just to keep them close.

7) Once you’re high above the earth,
sneak a look back to the place you’ve left
but try, try, try to focus on the task at hand.
I know the lights are pretty and,
you can see which cities are asleep and those
who have no current need for electricity,
but you’re up here for a reason.

8) Keep looking until you see it
and swim towards the broken telescope
so you’re close enough to get to work.

9) Try not to drop your tools.
Imagine the mess it will make back home.
It’ll be a lot worse than your bedroom
and mum forced you to clean that up
so hold on with a tight grip.

10) Once it’s fixed, make sure that it’s working
by looking back at home. You will see proud faces smiling up
and if the vision starts to get a little blurry,
make sure to dry your eyes.

By Cameron Holleran - Poet, Facilitator and Performer

I only started to get into poetry in Sixth Form where I had some wonderful teachers who put me onto Tony Harrison and John Agard – they were two poets that just stuck in my head as people using the language that they spoke to create poetry. With Harrison, we'd looked at V and it wasn't the swearing that resonated with me, it was the fact he'd used the word 'mam'.

Between that a lifelong love of music, I just really loved using words in different ways and having fun with language. I felt brave enough after a few months of writing to try giving performing ago, so started doing open mics around Manchester (I'm from Salford) in 2009 and won some local slams.

When I moved to London in 2011, my mental health took a bit of a dive and I couldn't deal with performing again. In 2014, I'd got talking to a friend on my degree course (who was and remains an amazing and accomplished poet) and showed her some of my writing – she encouraged me to apply for the Barbican Young Poets and I got on and was part of the programme from 2014 to 2016. BYP was an incredible experience and remains one of the happiest periods of my life and I made lots of new friends and came on a lot as a poet, thanks to the support and mentoring of Jacob Sam-La Rose, Kayo Chinonyi, Jasmine Cooray, and Rachel Long

In that time, I performed at a lot of venues in addition to the Barbican Centre, including the Southbank Centre, People's Palace, Rich Mix and Tate Modern, as well as a number of festivals such as Curious Festival (where I wrote a poem in Anglo-Saxon which was backed by a jazz quartet), the Barbican Weekender, Walthamstow Garden Party. I was part of the team responsible for curating National Poetry Day 2014 at the Southbank Centre, performed at Inua Ellams RAP Party, and worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on a commission which formed part of the the BBC's Centenary commemorations.

I've been published in a few places such as the Barbican anthologies, Watermarks anthology and Marble Poetry, longlisted for the erbacce prize, and nominated for the first Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.

I am the current poet-in-residence for the Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL. My work here is used to highlight and complement the research that is being done by the institute, providing a different way for people to interact with their work.

Other things that are important to know about me are that I'm non-binary (they/them/their pronouns), I love cats and Pepsi, and I like to box.

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