It’s National Poetry Month, but you probably already know that. Your English teacher has probably made you study some long dead poet’s use of foreshadowing or alliteration or whatever. You know good ol’ Billy Shakespeare with his doths and thys, maybe you’ve studied John Donne with his old timey spelling or Sylvia Plath’s intense and harrowing poems, or drawn a beard on Carol Ann Duffy in your GCSE anthology and called her ‘Carol Ann Fluffy’ (just us?).

But news: poetry doesn’t have to be all rhyming couplets and iambic pentameters. It can be fun and free flowing. It can be political or metaphorical or just for kicks. And you don’t always have to study it. Sometimes, amazingly, you can just enjoy it.

So here are six of our fave modern poets who are breaking down stereotypes. And not a single dead white guy in sight.

Hollie McNish

Since Hollie won the UK Slam Poetry Competition in 2009, she’s had YouTube videos of her spoken word poems go viral. Like, millions of views in a few days sort of viral. She’s also the first ever poet to record an album at Abbey Road Studios. Hollie tends to write about everyday occurrences that bother or frustrate her, in a beautiful and lyrical way. Basically, she’s amazing. Buy her book, Papers, here.

Happy National Poetry Day. Here's a poem about how brilliant my shoulders are. Left one in particular xxx

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Warsan Shire

The name might sound familiar to you, since one of her poems was recently performed by this up and coming indy musician… I don’t know, maybe you’ve heard of her? Beyoncé. That’s right. Bey-freaking-oncé. Author of the gorgeous poems sampled throughout Lemonade, Somali-British poet Warsan Shire comes with Queen Bey’s stamp of approval – so you know she’s good. Buy her book, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, here.

#warsanshire #wordstoliveby 📝 #forwomen 🙌🏾 for the #goddess and #sparkle and #firewithin 🙏🏽✨🔥

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Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest is one of the most acclaimed poets in the country today, often mixing poetry, music and rap to make political statements. Her performances have taken her on tours to Australia and all over Europe, and she’s been on the bill at festivals like Latitude and Glastonbury. Plus in 2013 she was the youngest ever recipient of the Ted Hughes Award. So there’s that… Buy her book, Let Them Eat Chaos, here.

Lang Leav

Lang Leav writes poems and short stories and they’re all so elegant and beautiful and timeless – essentially the Chanel of poetry. She is HUGE on Tumblr (a great place to find poets) and has published two beautiful books. Buy her book, The Universe of Us, here.

Laura Dockrill

Laura Dockrill may be best known for being BFFs with Adele and Kate Nash, but she’s wildly talented in her own right. Along with writing poems and short stories she is also an illustrator and has illustrated all of her own books too, NBD. Buy her book, Mistakes in the Background, here.

Bridget Minamore

One of our lovely betty writers (read her articles here), Bridget also just happens to be an incredible poet. She writes beautifully about race and class and what it means to be a woman today and her spoken word stuff is SO. FREAKING. GOOD. Buy her book, Titanic, here.   

@LilyPesch

Image: Getty / Katie Edmunds

Today marks the 65th year that the Queen has been the Queen. And to think, we thought committing to all six seasons of Game of Thrones was a big ask.

Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch, and therefore the first ever to reach her Sapphire Jubilee (apparently sapphires beat diamonds in this equation, which is confusing but we’ll go with it). And for all the pearls and the tiaras and the castles and the being-90, the Queen seems like someone we wouldn’t mind being mates with.

So in honour of this day, we thought we’d take a moment out of our day to reflect on some of the moments Her Majesty was not just the Queen, but a total queeeeeen.

The time she got excited… by cows

The time she was a badass in white gloves

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The time she served up pure old Hollywood

The time she met the Spice Girls and loved it

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 01: The Queen At The Royal Command Performance At The Victoria Palace Theatre On 1st December 1997 Shaking Hands With Pop Star Geri Halliwell (ginger Spice) From The Pop Band The Spice Girls (Photo by Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)

The time she was everyone’s strict Granny

The time she casually changed a tyre on an ambulance in WW2

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The time she trolled the Obamas

One of the many times her outfit was #goals

Literally everything about this photo

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When she was graceful as a real life Mary Poppins

Queen In Turkey

And let’s never forget, the time she was the ultimate Bond girl

Yaaas, Queen.

It’s Friday, which means that school is almost done for another week and a weekend full of hot chocolates, duvet hibernation and watching cute cat videos on YouTube awaits.

But to keep you going in the meantime, here’s our weekly round-up of everything we’ve been reading, watching and loving this week.

Give these women a medal! Oh, they did.

President Obama awarded 21 Medals of Freedom this week. The medals are a BIG DEAL, basically the American equivalent of being knighted. One of the people to receive a medal was Margaret Hamilton, the lead software developer for the 1969 NASA Apollo lunar modules and command modules. You’re looking at the lady who put astronauts on the moon, at a time when most women were still expected to be housewives.

Margaret, we salute you and your kick ass-ery.

Another very special lady received a Medal of Freedom this week: the hilarious all-dancing LGBT ambassador Ellen Degeneres. As the President noted, because of Ellen’s extraordinary success it’s easy to forget the enormous risks she’s taken – coming out as a lesbian in 1997, her career suffered and the show she was starring in was cancelled. But thanks to role models like her, LGBT rights have come on a long way in the last 20 years and nothing will warm your heart like watching a tearful Obama embrace a tearful Ellen. You guys.

Read, steady, SHOP!

It’s Black Friday, which means that there are sale everywhere. Topshop, Boots, New Look and ASOS are among the brands that will be taking part. The Guardian has rounded up of the best sales going, in case you want to get a jump start on your Christmas shopping…. or your ‘I really deserve a new jumper’ shopping.

Wake up and smell the coffee, Gilmore Girls is BACK! 

After month of waiting, it’s finally here! The Gilmore Girls reunion is on Netflix now. Today. It’s right there waiting for you, shiny and new as Emily’s soup tureen.

And if you haven’t managed to watch all seven seasons, don’t worry, we’ve put together a cheat sheet with all the key characters and plot points. What are you waiting for? Altogether now! “If you’re out on the roooad… feeling lonesome and so cooold…”.

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Big news: you could win VIP Little Mix tix

We’re giving away two VIP tickets (plus one for a cool parent) to see Little Mix at the O2 in London. All you have to do to enter is post a video or photo on Instagram, telling us what you’re wishing for – or you can just leave a comment underneath our Instagram post. Remember you have to follow and tag @bettycollective to be eligible. Hurry, the competition closes December 2nd!

We met Jennifer Niven

This week we met Jennifer Niven, New York Times Bestselling author of All The Bright Places – which bagged a spot in Zoella’s bookclub and is now being made into a movie starring Elle Fanning as the main character, Violet. She’s now back with a new book called, Holding Up The Universe, which she told us all about when she came to visit our new betty studio. And she was delightful. We heart you, Jennifer.

Keep your eyes peeled for the interview!

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Have a fab weekend, see you Monday! x

Comic books featuring all of our favourite superheroes have been around for a long time. Since your parents were kids. Since your grandparents were kids, even!Although that doesn’t mean many of the stories, the characters, the superpowers and the badass things they do aren’t still great today.

Batman, for example, first cropped up in a comic book waaay back in 1939. Nineteen-thirty-goddam-nine. Since then, there have been a lot of comic books, movies, TV shows and other cool stuff made about him, starring him and celebrating him. But you may have noticed there are often far too many superhero dudes on our TVs and in our cinemas and jumping through our comic books. Which begs the question: Where are all the badass female superheroes?

Well, there are actually lots out there if you look carefully. And the good news is, more and more are appearing each day. They’re also representing more and more actual girls and women too, which is always a really good thing.

So if you’re already into comic books, can’t get enough of the new Supergirl show or need a helping of badass female superpowers in your life and don’t know where to start, then check out our list of favourite female superheroes who are totally #goals…

(And if you like superhero stories and comic books, there are so so so many more characters and stories for you to explore. This list is just the beginning.)

1. Rogue

If you’ve watched any of the X Men movies or TV shows, chances are you’ve come across Rogue before. She’s really different in some of the older comic books, but in the modern day films she’s a teen just like you, trying to get her head around regular teen stuff – like growing up and crushes. The problem is, when she touches people she sucks all of their energy out of them. Eek! Not great for a first kiss.

Rogue soon learns how to harness her powers and use them for good – she just needs to wear gloves at first a lot to stop her hurting anyone. We like her so much because we get to see how she learns to better use and understand her powers over time; a classic rise of a superhero story. BOOM!

Superpower: She can absorb powers, energy, memories and sometimes even skills via touch.

 

2. Gamora

Gamora is another classic comic book superhero who has recently appeared in a big movie. She was played by Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy and her back story is she’s the green-skinned, adopted alien daughter of Thanos, a huge supervillain who is a massive deal in the world of The Avengers.

She naturally has some awesome superpowers, like enhanced strength, speed and durability. But she’s also trained in all of the martial arts you could imagine across all kinds of worlds. Why do we love her so much? Well, due to all her training she became known as “the deadliest woman in the whole galaxy”. What. A. Title.

Superpower: Super human strength, speed, agility and durability.

 

3. Storm

Like Rogue, Storm is part of the X Men, which means fans of the films will be all too familiar with her awesome white hair and eye-changing abilities. Take a look at her back story and you’ll see she’s the daughter of a tribal princess from Kenya, but moved around a lot when she was growing up, finally settling with the X Men team.

We’re such huge Storm fans because she can control the ACTUAL weather. You may think that’s not that cool. Making it rain? Yeah, we get that everyday. But when you’re fighting big baddies being able to whip up a hurricane or throw a bolt of lightning is nothing short of amazing.

Superpower: She can control the weather. And also, just a small thing, she can fly.

 

4. Jessica Jones

Thanks to a recent Netflix adaptation, this little known superhero is one of our favourites. We love Jessica Jones so much because in many ways she’s a bit of an anti-superhero. She doesn’t really want to be out fighting crime or helping people that much – she’s a private investigator, and helping people just kind of… happens. Sometimes.

She also doesn’t have to wear silly (or cool, depending on your preference) costumes to fight crime either. She wears normal clothes and messes up a lot. Maybe she doesn’t sound like the best role model in the world, but we can relate to her very real, human story.

Superpower: Super human strength and endurance.

 

5. Supergirl

You’ve probably heard of Superman before, obvs. But, thanks to a new TV show all about Supergirl, she’s set to become even more popular than her big cousin.

Supergirl’s official name is Kara Zor-El and the back story is that she was sent to Earth from the doomed planet Krypton. Sound familiar? That’s because this is Superman’s back story too. The thing is, his little space pod thing got to Earth but Kara’s didn’t. Well, not until years later. Hence the reason he’s zooming around being all super for ages before she doesn’t turned up.

But we love her now she’s here, not least because her show is so refreshing when we’re all used to seeing Superman with the big ‘S’ on his chest. She has it too!

Superpower: All the super stuff, basically. We’re talking super strength, heat vision, speed, mostly invulnerable, x-ray vision, microscopic vision and more.

@BeccaCaddy

When Michaela DePrince’s mum got an email from Beyoncé, she forwarded it on to her daughter, but Michaela assumed it was a joke. After all, how many 21-year-olds are getting personal emails from Queen Bey herself?

Well, Michaela DePrince isn’t most 21-year-olds.

On top of starring in ‘Lemonade’, Michaela also appeared in the  2011 ballet documentary ‘First Position.‘ Oh, and now? Well, she’s just released her own memoir, ‘Taking Flight.’

Any way you look at it, Michaela DePrince is kicking some serious ass right now.

beyoncemichalea

But her success hasn’t come easy.

Michaela was born in Sierra Leone in 1995 during the brutal civil war. When she was three, both of her parents passed away, so she spent a year living in an orphanage before she was adopted by an American couple, where she became part of an enormous and encouraging family (she has ten siblings, eight of whom are also adopted. Michaela’s parents make the Jolie-Pitts look like a small family).

When she was in the orphanage, she remembers finding a magazine with a picture of a ballerina on the front. She didn’t yet know what a ballerina was, but he tucked the page under her shirt as something to cling onto; maybe one day she could be as happy as the woman in the magazine.

This image inspired her to take up dance, which led her to the American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and then on to the Dutch National Ballet, where she is the only ballerina of African descent.

In a video she starred in for The Avant/Garde Diaries, Michaela explains:

When I was young, it was hard for me to express myself with language, so I expressed myself with dancing…dancing is what really helped me overcome the nightmares of the past.

Michaela has experienced racial discrimination throughout her career, from teachers telling her they don’t invest time in black dancers because of their body shapes (WHAT?!) to being told, when she was eight, she couldn’t play Marie in the Nutcracker, because “people weren’t ready for a black Marie.” Even the traditional pink and white tutu that is designed to blend into pale skin is a sticking point for Michaela, who has to dye her point shoes so they actually match her skin tone.

This would have been enough to put most people off dancing altogether, but DePrince isn’t the type of person to turn her back on her dreams.

Talking to Teen Vogue she said:

My life is proof that no matter what situation you’re in, as long as you have a supportive family, you can achieve anything.

And she’s right. Michaela is living proof that if you want it bad enough and work hard enough, anyone can dance with Beyoncé.

Michaela DePrince, you’re our Shero.

Image: Getty

Never has anything or anyone been as universally loved as Michelle Obama.

The Lion King Musical? Ha. Dream on Simba.

Bras without underwire? Close, but no.

Barack Obama? I mean, sure we love you and stuff… just, er, not as much as we love your wife.

As the Obama’s stint in the White House comes to an end we thought it would be a good time to focus on the Wonderwoman of the White House: Michelle Obama.

The First Lady has come out with some fairly amazing quotes about friendship, relationships and ambition in her time. Here are our faves:

You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have. Because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 20: First Lady Michelle Obama waves to the crowd as she speaks at an Arizona Democratic Party Early Vote rally in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine on October 20, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

 

You’re not supposed to do this perfectly. You don’t do life perfectly. No one does.

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 Choose people who lift you up.

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Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.

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There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.

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“He’s always asking: ‘Is that new? I haven’t seen that before.’ It’s like, Why don’t you mind your own business? Solve world hunger. Get out of my closet.”

michelle5

 

Failing is a crucial part of success. Every time you fail and get back up, you practice perseverance, which is the key to life. Your strength comes in your ability to recover.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama(L) rests her elbow on the head of Olympian Simone Biles (2nd L) as President Barack Obama (R) speaks during an East Room event at the White House September 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama and the first lady welcome the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and success in the Rio Olympic Games this year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

 

When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back.

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Good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt.

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The question of what you want to be when you grow up is one that you will eternally be answering.

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You have a bad day, you go to bed, you wake up and you work a little harder.

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And, of course, our favourite:

 Michelle, can you run for President? Please?

Last week, seven-year-old Lilly captured the internet’s heart when her mum, Jennifer, posted an emotionally charged and inspirational letter Hillary Clinton sent to her daughter on her blog.

Earlier in the year, Jennifer Rosen-Heinz sent a note to Hillary Clinton about how Lilly wanted to change her name to Lillary (which as a Lily, I totally appreciate):

lillary

Jennifer didn’t really expect anyone to take the time to respond to her note. She thought they might one of those vague, stock letters that politicians and famous people often send out.

Which is why she was so surprised when this letter landed in her letterbox:

hillarylillary

I literally tear up every single time I read the last line, “I may become the first woman President, but you Lilly, could be the next.”

Lillary’s parents decided to share the letter with everyone so that others could share in the Hill-spiration – and ohh, we’re glad they did.

So what have we learned, weepy gals? Whatever you want to be, don’t quit. Because Hillary sure as hell hasn’t.

Image: Getty & Jennifer Rosen-Heinz

For many of us, the place where we grew up is awesome. That’s where our friends are. That’s where our family probably is, too. We all tend to know everything about the best places to go. The best things to see. Oh and let’s not forget, the best places to eat.

There are all the memories too, like that tree that you fell into when you first rode your bike, or that bit of park where you took your pet dog. Or that piece of road where you chased your best friend for hours each day during tig or tag or blocky or whichever other silly game got you giggling for hours.

But you know what else is also really cool to check out? The rest of the goddamn planet.

Sure you might have been on a few holidays, and heading off on a six month round-the-world trip might not exactly be an option right now. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream about magical destinations, far off beaches or huge adventures right now. This instant.

And what can really help us with our travelling daydreams is putting on a film that’s about travel or adventure or exploring faraway destinations – or maybe even fantastical ones. So pack an imaginary bag, bring your imaginary passport and don’t forget to pack your imaginary swim stuff. We’re going on a journey!

1. Brooklyn

The story of a girl who moves from a small town in Ireland to the bright lights of New York, New York in the 1950s, Brooklyn is a rather epic (and also extremely emotional, you have been warned) film all about travel. But it’s less desert island, wall-to-wall sunshine and lazing around on a beach and more about exploring a different city and finding out who you are and what you want in the process.

Does her heart belong in the big city or back home in Ireland? You’ll have to watch it to find out.

2. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

Any keen readers amongst you might know that this film is based on the book by Ann Brashares. It’s the story of four of the bestest best friends who have to spend the whole summer apart. In order to stay close and feel connected, they share the same pair of pants (which magically fit them all perfectly, because fiction).

One character heads to Greece, one stays at home, one goes to Mexico and the other heads off to the other side of the US, meaning there’s something for every level of adventure you’re craving.

3. Stand By Me

This classic film (and probably a firm favourite among a lot of your older relatives) is less about travel, but all about adventure. Four 12-year-old boys hear that a boy from their town is missing, so they trek off into the forest to find him. Sure, it sounds like a really simple plot, but it’s a classic growing up story with lots of wilderness and heartwarming tales of friendship thrown in for good measure.

4. Madagascar

Madagascar is about four best friends, who just happen to be a lion, a zebra, a griaffe and a hippo that live in New York Central Zoo, and unexpectedly find themselves on a boat to Africa. Eek! When their boat is hijacked, the animals have to quickly learn what it’s like to live in the wild.

It’s a great story about adventure, discovering new places – even when you don’t want to – and learning to adapt when stuff gets a bit too much too quickly. Or you find yourself on a boat unexpectedly, which might always come in handy too.

5. Up

The main character in Up is Carl, who has always always always wanted to go to South America, but never made it. The film is all about how Carl, now in his 60s, heads off on an adventure of a lifetime helped by a load of balloons and a little boy, teaching us all that it’s never too late for a big adventure.

(Just don’t use it for transport tips.)

6. Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound has a tragic beginning – especially if you’re a fan of your pets – when two dogs and a cat are left behind by their owners. Ahh we know, we know. It’s somehow sadder than actual humans left on their own, isn’t it? Sorry, Kevin from Home Alone.

The trio of pets don’t know what to do, so they decide to embark on a huge adventure across the country in order to find their owners. But there are all kinds of obstacles along the way, like rivers and, of course, lousy humans.

7. Life of Pi

Also based on a really popular book, Life of Pi is the story of one boy’s journey across the sea. At first he starts off with his family and their huge hoard of zoo animals in cages, but he finds the tables turn quite spectacularly after a big storm pulls their boat apart.

It’s one of those positively fantastical movies that moves between real and emotional and beautiful and magical. If you’re anything like us, you’ll feel like you’re watching a dream the whole time.

8. Letters to Juliet

This is the story of an American girl with big dreams of becoming a writer, who heads off on her travels to Verona in Italy, which is where Romeo and Juliet was set. While she’s there, she finds lots of letters people have written to the fictional character of Juliet. There are lots of people who sit there and reply and this our lovely main character becomes one. It’s a story about romance, writing and discovering a new place, all wrapped up in the legend of the Shakespearean classic.

9. Back to the Future

We couldn’t write a movie list about travel and not include time travel, now could we?

The main character, Marty McFly, is accidentally sent back in time by the quirky scientist Doc Brown. It’s a classic. And although it won’t make you want to travel the world, it teaches us a lesson in seeing things differently. Oh and it’s really fun. Did we mention the fun? So much fun.

10. Spirited Away

This is a truly fantastical, spectacular movie about what it feels like to move from one place to another. But there’s a twist. And that twist is in the form of spirits! Witches! Gods! Goblins! Spider people! Oh, and fairies! Featuring some truly brilliant illustration, it’s the perfect daydream film to get lost in.

@BeccaCaddy