Weekly update


Please note that the information in this post (posted on 31 May) has been amended. ALL poetry information is now found on the main ‘Competitions’ page here.

Direct link at: https://australianchildrenspoetry.com.au/competitions/


Here are this week’s updates.



The 2014 Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Competition has opened for entries.

Click here for more information:


Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards

A reminder about the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards – The oldest and largest poetry competition for school aged children in Australia.

Click here for more information.


Poems about Myths and Legends

Click here for more information regarding an anthology of poems for children about myths and legends.



All competition details (in chronological order for deadline listings) are listed on the main ‘Competition’ page at: https://australianchildrenspoetry.com.au/competitions/



There is a great article on poetry for children in the May 2014 Books for Keeps.

For more information, click here:



An article on Henry Lawson (contributed by Robyn Youl) has been added to our growing list of talented Australian poets.

Link at:




All listed poets can be viewed here or via the drop down menu (Poets A-Z).

Link at:



That’s it for this week.


Di Bates

Poem of the Day


Today’s Poem of the Day was composed by a group of elderly people in a Victorian nursing home under the leadership of Robyn Youll who presents poetry readings and workshops to them weekly. The poem was inspired by ‘Leaves’, a recent Poem of the Day.




In Autumn

English Invaders


Crackling – underfoot,

Gutter – clogging,

Wind – dancing,



Australian Eucalypts


cling to

hard leaves

shiny leaves

fire-loving leaves

harsh climate leaves.


Evergreen Eucalypts


bark instead


English Leaves








English Leaves








Eucalyptus Leaves

Bushfire scarlet.


Providence U3A: 26th May: Prudence Marsh. (Prudence Marsh in the nom-de-plume for Group Poetry)

Prompt: Di Bates Poem: Leaves.

Present: Ted, Verna, Lucy, Margaret W.,M.[briefly] Joyce,Dorothy, Sirkka, Pat, Betty R.,F., Melvie.



Poem of the Day

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This year’s theme for Reconciliation Week is “Walk the Talk”.


Reconciliation Rap

Hey, hey,

It’s time to say,

Gotta walk the talk,

It’s the only way!

Gotta do it right,

Whether black or white,

No room for hate –



Hey, ho,

It’s the way to go,

Gotta keep it real,

From head to toe.

Gotta stay on track,

Whether white or black,

No room for hate –



Hey, hey,

Let me hear you say,

Gonna walk the talk,

Every night and day!

Gonna say it loud,

Gonna say it proud,

Make our country great –



© Jill McDougall

Check out other poems by Jill on her website, www.jillmcdougall.com.au


Poem of the Day




Leaves have thousands of brothers and sisters

Leaves jostle and elbow one another

Leaves wave at the sky when it’s breezy

Leaves batter window panes on windy nights

Leaves have veins but never get varicose veins

Leaves never have to go on diets

Leaves abandon trees in winter and gather in piles in autumn

Leaves sizzle like steaks on a barbie when there are bushfires

Leaves make friends with fruit

Leaves are McDonald’s for hungry koalas

Leaves hate kerosene and matches.


© Dianne Bates


Note: I wrote this poem as an example to my child writing students to show them how they can think laterally about commonplace objects. The idea came from Steven Herrick’s wonderful poem, Walls, which I also display to students. Di

Poem of the Day




With the eye in the back of his head

he sees them coming —


eight-year-old breakers,

baby-hard, baby-soft.


Their space-machine, so elegant

could swallow him,


drown him once and for all

in a dish of air.


No use trying to rewrite the law:

they are the masters —


skills bred in the bone.

He freezes —


they expect it,

though a voice inside him squeaks


I … Words cut his tongue,

weigh in his mind like a bruise.

© Katherine Gallagher

(Published in Them and Us (The Bodley Head, 1993) and Ramshackle Rainbow (Macmillan Children’s books, 2001)

Katherine Gallagher is a widely-published Australian poet resident in London. She writes for children and adults and has poems in many children’s anthologies. About Bullies, she says, ‘I wrote this poem in response to bullying that I witnessed in a local primary school. Bullying is tragic and a big social problem; children become increasingly insecure and afraid. Sadly, they often don’t tell anyone, even parents and teachers, and this misery can affect them for the rest of their lives’. 

Weekly updates

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Here is the latest update.



This section keeps up-to-date with information about what’s happening in schools, poets with new collections being released, etc. 

Recent news:

Short-listed Australian Children’s Poet



That’s it for this week.


Di Bates

Children Compile Their Own Poetry Anthologies

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‘Anthologise’ was the title of a UK competition for school students aged 11-18 – another brilliant educational initiative of the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. The competition was administered by the Poetry Book Society and was launched by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall in September 2011.

See more at: http://www.picador.com/blog/july-2011/anthologise#sthash.WhGjGwuB.dpuf

It invited students to compile their own anthologies of poetry. The competition was judged by a panel which included laureate Carol Ann Duffy; National Poet for Wales, Gillian Clarke; Scots Makar, Liz Lochhead; poet John Agard; poet Grace Nichols; and Cambridge Professor of Children’s Poetry, Morag Styles. The winning anthology was published by Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, in 2013.

The original website www.anthologise.co.uk is no longer available but there is still some very interesting and useful information available on the Picador website www.picador.com Click on ‘blog’ and type ‘anthologise’ in the search bar.


Here you will find amongst other things:

A Message from Carol Ann Duffy

Advice from Poets and Anthologists

Points for Students to Consider

Information on the winning anthology

— all worth saving while they are there!

The winning collection, published by Picador in 2013, was Monkton Combe School’s anthology, The Poetry of Earth is Never Dead   (Contents below)

A few minutes of googling various press releases etc about this competition will supply some heartening evidence of poetry’s continuing power to excite and inspire children. You will also find discussions of how the project supported the school curriculum and prompted students to pursue different issues through poetry of all ages and places.

I also came across another poet’s intention to expand this project. (Oxford World Book Capital Bid 2014)


Oxford’s City Poet, Kate Clanchy, will expand a national initiative started by the UK’s Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, called Anthologise. This project invites children to read as much poetry as possible in order to put together their own anthologies, the best of which receive prizes.

For more information please visit: www.picador.com/poetry/prize/anthologise

Wouldn’t it be great if an Australian Publisher took up the idea?


Contents of Anthologise 2012 winning anthology:

Appreciation of Nature

On the Grasshopper and Cricket,   John Keats

Through That Door,     John Cotton

My Idle Dreams Roam Far,    Li Yu (Chinese)

The Praise of Spring,  Gonzalo de Berceo

Earth Songs,      John Clarke

The Earth and The People,    Traditional (Inuit)

Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now,    A.E. Housman

Sonnet,      John Clare

The Negro Speaks of Rivers,    Langston Hughes

Earth Cries,      Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze

Moss-Gathering,     Theodore Roethke


Cycle of Nature

An Alphabet for the Planet,    Riad Nourallah

Death of a Naturalist,    Seamus Heaney

Place,       W.S. Merwin

The River in March,     Ted Hughes

A Beetle Called Derek,    Benjamin Zephaniah

Nature,      Loriah Leah


Human Ecology

Cultivators,      Susan Taylor

The Shepherd,     William Blake

The Case,      Kathleen Jamie

The Magnificent Bull,     Dinka Tribe

Close to Nature,     Nnamdi Ben Nneji

Inside my Zulu Hut,     Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali

I Tell the Bees,      Jo Shapcott

Gathering the Honey,    Virgil



Nothing Gold Can Stay,    Robert Frost

Report to Wordsworth,    Boey Kim Cheng

Lily of the Valley,     Alice Oswald

Trailing Arbutus,     Gloria Sarasin

Endangered Species,    David Constantine

The Flower-Fed Buffaloes,    Vachel Lindsay

Pheasant,      Sylvia Plath

Almanac,      Primo Levi

Estuary,      Ian Hamilton Finlay

Harvest Hymn,     John Betjeman

The Recital of Lost Cities,    Lavinia Greenlaw

The Woman in the Moon,    Carol Ann Duffy



The Trees,      Philip Larkin

The Eclipse,      Richard Eberhart

The Cloud,      Percy Bysshe Shelley

Si Dieu N’existait Pas,     John Burnside

Heavenly Grass,     Tennessee Williams

I’m Alive, I Believe in Everything,   Lesley Choyce

Tomorrow’s Child,      Glenn Thomas

A Light Exists in Spring,    Emily Dickinson


This article was kindly provided by Australian children’s poet,  Kate O’Neil


Poetry in the Classroom


Today’s blog is aimed at teachers of primary and secondary students; it offers ways in which you might like to use this blog site or otherwise employ poetry in your classroom.

  • Research and find poems from poets listed in the A to Z of Australian children’s poetry and then give a class presentation
  • Check out at least one of the poetry website links on the blog site and tell the class what they found
  • Enter poems they have written into children’s competitions listed on the site
  • Write an email – or a letter – to one of the poets listed on the blog site
  • Write a poem and submit it to the site as the Poem of the Day
  • Invite a poet – or a community leader – to visit your school to read and/or recite poems at your school assembly.
  • Ask every child in your class to find a poem they love and create a class poetry anthology
  • Organise a poetry read based on poems collected for the anthology
  • Write a class acrostic poem using the teacher’s surname
  • Talk about free verse and read a verse novel to your class
  • Make a collection of poems displayed on the site (from the A to Z of poets) and from the Poem of the Day
  • Display a Poem of the Day written by a student on the class noticeboard
  • Find and share silly, short poems written by Anonymous
  • For a class assembly item, have the class present poetry connected by a theme (for example: family, food, games)
  • For a fun activity in class, have students talk to one another in rhyming couplets for a limited period
  • Raid home, public and school libraries for poetry collections and anthologies; when it’s time for DEAR, have students read from one of the books
  • After DEAR, each child share a poem they really liked
  • Memorise and recite poems found on the Australian children’s poetry blog site
  • Have class work together to write an article about poetry in their class and submit it to the blog site
  • Have students find children’s poetry websites and blogs not listed on the blog site and submit them as links



Feel free to send in information about how you employ poetry in your classroom if you’re a teacher. Or if you are a student, send in your thoughts, too! Send to dibates@outlook.com



Poem of the Day


Hot Summer Day


The seashells I’ve collected stink,

not one of them is pretty.

My cordial’s too warm to drink,

my sandwiches are gritty.


I’d build a fortress on the shore

but no one here will help.

I won’t go swimming any more

with jelly fish and kelp.


My face is hot, it’s getting pink.

I’ll turn into a peach.

I hate to grizzle, but I think

it’s time to leave the beach!


© Jenny Erlanger

Although I have many positive memories of the many Christmases I spent as a child on the Mornington Peninsula, eating sandwiches on the beach in the middle of summer, with no shade in sight, was not one of them. This poem comes from my volume of children’s poetry, Giggles and Niggles (Haddington Press, 2007)