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How to write a Superpoem

if:book is working with the Poetry Society to develop, a site which provides both a toolkit and a platform for young writers and readers of poetry as they develop their interest at a time when all sorts of digital possibilities exist for poets to amplify their work for free.

Over the next few months if:book will be setting challenges to encourage community members to write collaboratively, script work for new media and use web tools to reach out beyond the usual circle of poetry people.

Last week Chris Meade and Kati Rynne of if:book have worked with poet Inua Ellams – and a crowd of school students and Twitter followers – on a SUPERPOEM which all wrote in response to instructions issued by Inua via Twitter. Visit here to follow the instructions yourself.

Inua writes:

The best thing about Social Networking websites like Facebook, Bebo or Twitter isn’t that all your mates are on there. It isn’t that you can contact them easily – mobile phones provide the same thing. It isn’t even really that you can share videos, pictures and photos – that is a great factor, but not the best. The best, is that you can speak to a lot of people at the SAME time. In an instant. It is CHEAP, and they can reply instantly too. In Kenya in Africa, a website ( not dissimilar to twitter was created to keep track of violent rioters and based on the text messages sent from people on the scenes, the government could decide where to send peace-keeping forces.

Poetry is not a violent activity (in most cases), but the incident in Kenya got me wondering about how to use Twitter in my practice. From this, the Poetry Twitter Workshops was born. It is a way to suggest opening lines and turning points to writers across the world, who would respond, but create vastly different and individualistic work. As a young writer, I’d champion you to think about how to use your profiles on those websites to your advantage, how to make them work for you. Online, time is infinite and the possibilities are endless!

Our theme for the twitter workshop was ‘Superheroes – not being heroic’, poems about the in-between times: Superman making a cup of tea, Iron Man brushing his teeth. We had fantastic responses from a beer-swigging Wonder Woman, to a sofa ridden Spiderman. Here are a few and the rest will be published online soon on the if:book website.


Unable to change,

ribs cracked

as if birds from

his stomach

had finally flown free-

handles his key

unlocking the door

dizzy with adrenaline,

falls to the bar

attempts to numb the pain,

quiet his anger.

The leather grips his legs,

clinging to sweat

staining his skin.

Blood running black

on the verge of collapse

he attempts to un-peel

the layers of his disguise

his bruises-

their black-blue shine

against his pale skin,

indents of bats.

Tips the gin

into a bandage,

begins to clean

the cuts on his legs,

arms, lips and neck.

As he winces

notices the bruise

that bat-winged

stamp of failure-

holds his head

in his hands,

curses the heavens

blames God.

Awakes in the

darkest hour of night,

to another screaming boy

face, aghast- pale as the

ghost from his past-

Fox news reporting

an armed robbery-

boy nine, father and

mother shot dead.

Looks down at his bruise

flashing like the signal-

raised by the police

across Gotham City.

Rises to replace

his grey body armour,

his nocturnal peace broken,

fire in his eyes- bullet torn pain

reaches for the door

swearing to avenge the boy,

restore his own honour.

– Katie Beviss


I slip in through the cat-flap,

no one home, the clock ticks,

the boiler moans to itself.

Unwrapped myself

a shine of gold and red

a hole in my boot

the superglue spits

I make the air turn blue.

Fug of steam, switching

off, my hands chop carrots,

super-speed, saucepan

splutters, I’m shifting

my feet –  too old

to get away.

Tories in power

What do you expect?

Let them march –

my invisible airplane

can’t be found. Not now.

12 and a half minutes left.

Not tonight.

I’m saving my cherry pie

and stroking the cat.

– saba z


Walking towards me, head hanging low,

His steps have no purpose and he walks so slow,

His face is pale and it’s impossible to know

Where he’s been or where he’s going to go.

He opens the door and listens to it creak,

We both sit down but neither of us speak.

He throws off his coat and looks up at me,

Looks down at this wrist but won’t let me see.

Back to normal, he gets up and turns on the TV,

But we both know he’s not what he used to be.

He sits back down and seems to drift away,

What should I do and what should I say?

The TV flashes and someone’s almost dead,

His eyes go wide and his hands are on his head.

The victims laying there, the villain simply fled.

What will he do? Go or will he stay instead?

He sits there infront of me and closes his eyes,

His body breaks down and he simply sits and cries.

Sophie McCullagh

Royal Latin School

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