Within two days of the Australian Children’s Poetry site going up, there were well over 2,000 hits, a fair indication of the interest nationally and internationally in Australian children’s poets and their poetry.
Thanks so much to all of you who have left congratulatory comments and offers of future support. There’s more to come, so remember to keep popping over, and do spread the word, please. (Don’t forget to contribute poems, articles, links, reviews and interviews, as well.)
The inspiration for creating the blog came about seven years ago when I was compiling Australian children’s poems for an anthology. While trying to track down poets’ contact details (to ask for permission and to offer payment), I soon found that most Australian children’s poets do not have an online presence. Why isn’t there a dedicated site, I asked myself when organisations such as the National Library of Australia were unable to locate one.
Believing that it if it’s got to be, it’s up to me, I began exploring the options for a website. I stopped short at a quote of $25,000 to build one. Then I found Helen Ross, a children’s author, who agreed to create a blog for far less money. Thank you, Helen! (When my funding application is approved, I will let the world know which organisation has given its much welcomed support.)
Meanwhile, the anthology I’d compiled was (finally) contracted, and Our Home is Dirt by Sea will be published by Walker Books Australia in 2015. Thank you, Sarah Foster, one of the few Australian publishers who give ongoing support to publishing children’s poetry.
I asked all contributing poets if they would like to leave their contact details with their biographies so that anthologists, festival, conference organisers and schools could apply to use their poems and/or to invite the poets to speak publicly, and to present poetry readings. I also asked them to provide up to three poems each to give a sample of their talents.
Poetry is a big deal in the UK where it is common for children’s poets to strut their stuff in schools, etc. And, too, although I don’t have statistics to support my claim, I believe there are more poetry collections and anthologies published there each year than here in Australia.
My aim is to put Australian children’s poetry on every map there is. Please help spread the word. And in the meantime, enjoy what’s on offer here and leave your comments. Thanks!
Dianne (Di) Bates