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Poetry Friday -Everything All At Once

I am currently involved in an engrossing writing project- my first verse novel. I am enjoying the challenge immensely. Because it set in Victorian England and Australia, the project has involved me in a significant amount of research regarding the lives of children at that time, as well as the language of the day. Because the story is partly fact based, it has lived within me for many years it has been percolating, you might say. It is now ready to emerge. My time in lockdown has helped to focus my writing efforts enormously. 


We must also read what we are trying to write, in order to develop an understanding of the genre. For this reason I have for some years been building a collection of verse novels. The work of writers I admire is hopefully informing my own writing.  This is a further example of research for my own project. 

I recently purchased 'Every thing All At Once,  written by Steve Camden. The author, Steve Camden is one of the most respected spoken word artists in the United Kingdom.


Steve has been performing since 2007, and has graced stages from Kuala Lumpur to California via Glastonbury and The Royal Shakespeare Company. 

He has written three Young Adult novels for HarperCollins: Tape, It's About Love, and Nobody Real. 

'Everything All At Once' focuses on a student's first year in Secondary school. It deals with the challenges of fitting in, finding friends, worrying and worshipping from afar. The book documents the rich tapestry of moments that descend upon new arrivals as they discover Secondary school life is both a haven and a jungle at various times. The poetry thread concerns itself with this topsy turvy world with interrelated pieces, but the poems have the ability to stand alone. 

 Here are two examples from the book:

Look at it 
So beautiful
So perfect
So pristine
A hundred fields of perfect snow
So crisp and oh so clean

So straight along its edges
So smooth on front and back
So many possibilities
Somebody hold me back

The smell is so 
The colour blemish free
I want to stroke it like a cat
And make it purr for me

I'll build a world
I'll pen a song
I'll fill it with my mind
I'll pour out so much magic stuff
I'll make the pages shine

You either get it
Or you don't 
So don't bother trying to moan
This brand new empty English book
Is mine
So get your own

Lunch Line
I'm standing in Line
behind people I don't know
queing for food I don't like

Can somebody tell me
where do I go
to get a refund on my life?

Steve Camden
From: Everything All At Once


  1. Well this was a nice little surprise - to come over here and see On Track in such an illustrious stack. Thanks, Al. And best wishes with the verse novel. I too have a project on the go that is linked to the UK - just waiting for some finance and some freedom to further my research over there. It's currently on hold - and I'm busy working on picture books, instead! By the way - you may be interested in my Poetry Pep Up I will be running 1-5 June. That said, I fully understand if you don't want to be pulled out of your current project! I know what that feels like. :)

    1. So pleased you liked the scene that greeted your eyes Kat. Thank you also for your kind wishes regarding my current writing project. I am nearing completion of the manuscript. I will check out your Poetry Pep Up too.

  2. How nice to have a positive focus during these odd days! Good luck with your project!

    1. Thanks Molly. We must preserve positivity when challenging days arrive. We must raise hope above a whisper...

  3. What an amazing stack of mentor texts!

    1. It is a stack that pleases me, inspires me, and informs me Mary Lee. Glad you like it. It continues to be a work in progress.

  4. Writing a verse novel is something I've wanted to do for some time now, but haven't yet drummed up the commitment that such an endeavor would require. Best wishes with yours! I definitely detect the "spoken word feel" in Steve Camden's poetry. I'll have to check out more of his work.

    1. Thank you Michelle. I am nearing the end of the process. The hard slog has begun. Important to push through now. Glad you liked Steve Camden's poetry.


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