Bits and Pieces from the poetry world

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Winning poem

  • Bill Condon’s children poem, ‘The Scary Boy’ has won the Adults Writing for Children section of the annual Toolongi Poetry Festival Competition. The announcement was made by Stephen Whiteside, President of the C J Dennis Society, at a ceremony at The Singing Gardens, north-east of Melbourne where CJ Dennis used to live.

Poetry blog

Writing Prompt: A Poem and Push Ups

Many writers have a physically active lifestyle, and many of these writers believe that this physical activity aids them in their creative endeavors. I recently started doing this unusual writing prompt and have found it to be a lot of fun. It has equaled some interesting results.

The first thing I do is write down a title and then the number of lines I plan to write. On the side of the page I write down the number for every line. I usually do no more than 12 lines. I often use a piece of paper and not a computer for this prompt because I tend to sweat. Once I write down the line numbers I decide what exercise I am going to do. I usually do something like jumping jacks or squats that are easy to count. I don’t like to do more than one form of exercise because the main point is the writing.

Before I write the first line I have to do 20 jumping jacks, or 30 squats, or 5 pushups, etc, and then I write a line of poetry. For each line of poetry that I write I do the same amount of physical exercise.

It is really strange to go between one activity and the other, but I have found that I am more likely to write poems with a lot of energy and strangeness in them, while doing this prompt. Happy Writing!

© Emily Harstone

 

 

 

 

Poem of the Day

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The Cleaner

 

Our past washed away,

Our history is being dismissed

My background is being wiped off

Their life, gone.

 

The past is bleeding across,

A clean and white new slate.

The strands that drip down

Show those who still remember.

 

They remember our history with pride not displeasure,

They remember even after it being wiped clean

They remember everything,

Their life without dictation.

 

© Jemma Gray

Note: This poem won the junior secondary division prize of the 2014 Dorothea McKellar national poetry award

Poem of the Day

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A Letter to the bombers

By Frog Printz

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Laughter that trembles your ears

A blast we’re having, hoorah! Hoorah!

and fly for seventy years

 

Higher and higher we don’t know where

or when or if we’ll ever get there

a grand festival awaits our arrive

greater than any we’d known when alive

 

Music and dancing and clouds in the air

friends and girls with colourful hair

Our Father will greet us with a heavenly grin

proud that we served our life for Him

 

But then we land with an almighty thud

our bones aching and covered in mud

a familiar sound we raise our eyes up

a laughing Satan is clutching his gut

 

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Travelled so far but here you are

What joy, such fun, a grand parade!

Happy this devilish heart you’ve made

 

Tricked you were with great success

to do as I had fared

I tempted you in my prettiest dress

and brought you to my lair

 

None are the clouds, the dances and song

none are the friends and girls

now we see we’ve been fools all along

and sadness we’ve left in the world.

 

© Lloyd Riman

Poem of the Day

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Old Mates

I have a rambunctious cairn terrier,

Who is an obsessive bone-burier,

He buried the cat,

But she boomeranged back,

He’s never seen anything scarier.

 

Big Baz has a bossy blue heeler,

Who trained Baz to fetch and to feed her,

He thinks it so beaut,

In the back of her ute,

He even rolls over to please her.

 

Wayne has a pernickety poodle,

Pink bows tied atop her pert noodle,

On four legs she prances,

On two legs she dances,

For dinner she eats apple strudel.

 

Trev has a gold Labrador-oh,

So fat yet he always wants more-oh,

He chewed up Trev’s couch,

Down to splinters – ouch! OUCH!

Then flopped himself right through the floor-oh.

 

Old Pat has a spotty Dalmatian,

Who, wanting to change his location,

Squeezed through the gate,

Found a cute little mate,

And had a most pleasant vacation.

 

Young Ron has a daft border collie,

Who thinks herding sheep most unjolly,

He acts like a clown,

Juggles balls up and down,

While rolling along on a trolley.

 

Wayne’s shed’s where we all meet on Fridays,

A beer and a barbie there always,

Makes the tails wag,

As we gobble a snag,

And yarn about life in the old days.

 

Glenys Eskdale

http://glenyseskdale.wordpress.com/

 

New Children’s Poetry Anthology

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Let in the Stars  Let in the Stars, a Poetry Anthology for Children.

This anthology is an exciting and beautifully illustrated selection from the poems submitted to the inaugural 2014 Manchester Writing for Children Prize. This competition was          set  up as part of the Manchester Children’s Book Festival, established by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and run by her team in the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. The project supports Carol Ann Duffy’s claim that “poetry written for children must be taken seriously, must be cherished and must be made available”.

The book sold out at the Festival but is now available to buy online from both the Manchester Children’s Book Festival bookshop: http://www.mcbf.org.uk/books and from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Let-Stars-New-Poetry-Children/dp/1910029009/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top.

There is also a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/letinthestars/ to help promote interest in the project.

 

Dianne Cook (pen-name Kate O’Neil)

Poem of the Day

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Waiting for a Feast

 

The seal is ready

To plunge and grip its prey;

Waits for a penguin to emerge,

But it dives deep

And escapes in the surge.

 

The spider squats

In a web – sticky and strong;

Waits patiently for a bee,

But it darts aside,

Zooms, and is free.

 

The python is poised,

Ready to loop its coils;

Waits for a grazing deer,

But it leaps away

In a dash of fear.

 

By Edel Wignell

© The Australian Society of Authors

Poem of the Day

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Don’t Be Silly

 

Freddy told Matthew and Matthew told Pete.

“Did you know that cockroaches hear through their feet?”

Don’t be silly Matthew. You say such silly things.

Everybody knows that roaches hear through their wings.

 

Andrew told Percy and Percy told Mick.

“Beetles sell medicine to people who are sick.”

“Don’t be silly Andrew. How goofy can you be.

Everybody knows you can’t afford a beetle’s fee.”

 

Molly told Sally and Sally told Mabel.

“Old men sometimes leave their teeth on the table.”

Don’t be silly Molly. It really isn’t true.

Everybody knows they hold their teeth in with glue.

 

Stephen told Richard and Richard told Frank

“The teacher’s got a great white shark in a tank.”

Don’t be silly Stephen you really are a fool.

Everybody knows he keeps the shark in his pool.

 

Fred told Billy and Billy told Dan.

“My next door neighbour is really superman.”

Don’t be silly Freddy. You must have had a dream.

Everybody knows your next door neighbour’s Wolverine.

 

Mary told Margaret and Margaret told Flo.

“These words will make me famous I want you all to know.”

Don’t be silly Mary. Did you leave your brain at home?

Everybody knows that this is just a silly poem.

 

© Warren Cox   2013

 

 

UK’s Top Children’s Poems

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The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear is the nation’s most popular childhood poem, says a new poll in a report in The Guardian newspaper.

A poll of UK’s most beloved children’s poems reveals that the three most popular verses are each over 100 years old. The Owl and the Pussycat was voted number one, with Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star coming second and Humpty Dumpty third.

Edward Lear’s poem narrating the love story of The Owl and the Pussycat was written in 1871 and is held to be the most popular by both the youngest and oldest age categories in the poll, highlighting how classic British poems continue to be passed down and cherished among successive generations.

The survey is released for National Poetry Day, as part of a campaign to inspire people of all ages to enjoy poetry in their daily lives.

In May, a UK chain-store Waitrose unleashed what was seen as an unlikely weapon in the supermarkets’ cut-throat battle for business when it announced plans to display poetry throughout its stores as part of a year-long campaign aimed at reducing the drudgery of the regular shop.

To encourage customers to try writing a poem for themselves, it has been holding a national poetry competition. Judged by poet and broadcaster Roger McGough, it attracted over 7,000 entries from across the country with participants ranging from three years old to 92.

The entries were whittled down to 24 shortlisted poems that each have the chance to make the final top three.

Roger McGough said: “My earliest memories of poetry are of listening to nursery rhymes like Who Killed Cock Robin? and speaking them aloud with my mother. This interesting poll confirms the importance of learning and reciting verse at an early age. But we need a new generation of young poets to write the poems that will inspire future generations.

“I hope that the people who’ve entered this competition will carry on writing, not necessarily to win competitions or for fame and fortune, but to express themselves. If they’ve been given the gift of being able to put words together and make people smile then keep on doing it.”

The 2,000 participants surveyed in the poll, commissioned by OnePoll, also listed children’s favourite Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. Popular nursery rhymes such as The Grand Old Duke of York, Jack and Jill and Hickory Dickory Dock also made the top 10 listing.

Waitrose is also backing National Poetry Day’s #thinkofapoem challenge, inviting everyone to join the UK nation’s biggest celebration of poetry by tweeting a poem they love and want to pass on. The overall winner was 65-year old Sue Fletcher of Brighton, who scooped first place with her poem Face on a Plate, in which she draws comparisons between fresh produce and facial features.

Susannah Herbert, director of the Forward Arts Foundation, which runs National Poetry Day, said: “Poetry learnt in childhood clearly enters the bloodstream and stays with you forever. It comes alive when shared and passed on, from generation to generation and between friends. By encouraging shoppers to think of a poem as they pick up a cucumber or a cake, Waitrose feeds the nation’s appetite for poetry with wit and humour.”

 

The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear is the nation’s most popular childhood poem, says a new pol in the UK. A poll of most beloved children’s poems reveals that the three most popular verses are each over 100 years old. The Owl and the Pussycat was voted number one, with Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star coming second and Humpty Dumpty third.

Edward Lear’s poem narrating the love story of The Owl and the Pussycat was written in 1871 and is held to be the most popular by both the youngest and oldest age categories in the poll, highlighting how classic British poems continue to be passed down and cherished among successive generations.

The survey is released for National Poetry Day, as part of a campaign to inspire people of all ages to enjoy poetry in their daily lives.

In May, a UK chain-store Waitrose unleashed what was seen as an unlikely weapon in the supermarkets’ cut-throat battle for business when it announced plans to display poetry throughout its stores as part of a year-long campaign aimed at reducing the drudgery of the regular shop.

To encourage customers to try writing a poem for themselves, it has been holding a national poetry competition. Judged by poet and broadcaster Roger McGough, it attracted over 7,000 entries from across the country with participants ranging from three years old to 92.

The entries were whittled down to 24 shortlisted poems that each have the chance to make the final top three.

Roger McGough said: “My earliest memories of poetry are of listening to nursery rhymes like Who Killed Cock Robin? and speaking them aloud with my mother. This interesting poll confirms the importance of learning and reciting verse at an early age. But we need a new generation of young poets to write the poems that will inspire future generations.

“I hope that the people who’ve entered this competition will carry on writing, not necessarily to win competitions or for fame and fortune, but to express themselves. If they’ve been given the gift of being able to put words together and make people smile then keep on doing it.”

The 2,000 participants surveyed in the poll, commissioned by OnePoll, also listed children’s favourite Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. Popular nursery rhymes such as The Grand Old Duke of York, Jack and Jill and Hickory Dickory Dock also made the top 10 listing.

Waitrose is also backing National Poetry Day’s #thinkofapoem challenge, inviting everyone to join the UK nation’s biggest celebration of poetry by tweeting a poem they love and want to pass on. The overall winner was 65-year old Sue Fletcher of Brighton, who scooped first place with her poem Face on a Plate, in which she draws comparisons between fresh produce and facial features.

Susannah Herbert, director of the Forward Arts Foundation, which runs National Poetry Day, said: “Poetry learnt in childhood clearly enters the bloodstream and stays with you forever. It comes alive when shared and passed on, from generation to generation and between friends. By encouraging shoppers to think of a poem as they pick up a cucumber or a cake, Waitrose feeds the nation’s appetite for poetry with wit and humour.”

 

To Verse, Or Not To Verse?

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 © Emma Cameron

I am often asked why I chose to write Cinnamon Rain (Walker Books Australia) in verse. My answer may seem odd, as I did not make a conscious decision to write it in verse from the outset. Nor did I begin in prose and switch to verse. From the start the first character to present himself, Luke, spoke this way. His voice came across in a performance style monologue and I allowed his story to unfold.

I was never certain it would continue to emerge in that style the whole way through. But it did. Once I had Luke’s story complete, I consulted Peter Bishop of Varuna, The Writers’ House, with my major concern being that I was unsure if my verse writing was any good. He assured me it was and I continued. I set off again, first through Casey and then David, all the while uncertain if I could sustain the verse form for a complete novel.

Thankfully, I was able to immerse myself into their characters well enough to reach the end of the entire tale. Each time I had completed the next character’s portion of the story I presented it to Peter. Each time he reassured me that it was meant to be told in verse. Once I had all three parts complete I reached a point of confidence with the style, where I finally believed him and believed in myself. I felt I would be capable of working thorough the editing process successfully while sticking to the verse form.

Verse is an interesting form of writing as it plays with so many elements of word choice and use. While prose must also be tightly written and succinct, verse can be pared down to the barest number of words. What I found interesting with verse writing for a novel was that, unlike writing a verse as a stand-alone piece, I always had to be mindful of its place in the whole work. As well as maintaining each character’s voice, every verse had to keep the whole story flowing.

Verse narrative is a style that has evolved in such a way that following many of the ‘rules’ and patterns that existed previously is not essential. What is still a must, though, is maintaining an economy of words while exercising the utmost care in word choice to maximise the impact the writing has on the reader. I aim to quickly draw readers into the space the character is in, immersing them into their head, heart and mood, without having to wade through vast amounts of detail. The detail comes with careful word choice and placement, and I use line breaks to maintain the voice and pace out how readers absorb the information. Conscious, careful attention to these gives verses rhythmic, regular patterns, creating a melody that alters as the scene unfolds while adding to the feel of what plays out within it that scene.

Reading my work out aloud through the writing process is imperative. It is also important that others are able to read it aloud without faltering. If they stumble, it’s likely that the piece needs reworking. I feel my verses are working when I can hear them as performance. Not necessarily performance that is dramatic or extreme in any way. Simply one that would draw listeners into the tale, just as reading it would.

I doubt whether writing verse for a full novel is something I could chose to do unless I heard my character speak to me in this way before I began. It is not enough to think that I can write it, simply because I like the form and playing with words. There is so much to be considered that I would, again, be uncertain about whether the verse form is right for a particular work until I have completed a sound first draft, with feedback from other writers.

Cinnamon Rain, Emma Cameron’s first novel, was published by Walker Books Australia and listed as a Notable Book in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards before being published in the USA by Candlewick Press under the title Out of This Place. www.emmacameron.com.au

 

 

Poem of the Day

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My Nana’s Bag

 

My Nana’s arrival is an exciting sight

As she carries a bag packed extremely tight.

 

She carries her coat and umbrella furled

And the most exciting bag in the world.

 

She stands us in line for our hugs and kisses

And tells us how much she enjoys her visits.

 

After that she opens her bulging bag wide,

And out comes what she has packed inside.

 

First a chocolate cake for afternoon tea,

Liquorice and jelly beans for baby and me.

 

Then two jumpers, one blue and one pink,

One to wash and one to wear she says with a wink.

 

Out come some beads, a ball and two bats,

A doll and a pram and two calico cats.

 

Six pairs of crawlers made from old bedspreads,

And knitted striped beanies for everyone’s heads.

 

There’s a hammer and nails to mend the side fence,

Dad says that’s a gift with plenty of sense.

 

Out comes a scooter and a skippy rope too,

And a most beautiful set of drums, brand new.

 

A bright crocheted rug to go on the bed,

Be lovely and warm, my mother said.

 

After the crayons, paints and a big picture book,

Nanna stopped delving so I had a good look.

 

Five peppermints and a half knitted sock remained

Nanna’s wonderful bag was empty and drained.

 

Nanna stood us in line for more hugs and kisses

And we all said how much we loved her visits.

 

My Nanna took her coat and her umbrella furled,

And left with the emptiest bag in the world.

 

My Nanna’s departure was a very sad sight,

But she’ll be back to baby-sit us Saturday night.

 

 

© Margaret Pearce

P.O. Box 253,

Belgrave, 3160

Victoria

Email: mpearceau@gmail.com

 

Note: Feel free to send your poem for children to dibates@outlook.com  

Alternatively, you are welcome to send an article related to children’s poem and/or any news about children’s poetry, including links to websites. Di Bates