Weekly Update

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Helpful advice for aspiring poets

So You Wanna Be a Children’s Poet…

In this informative article, freelance writer Linda Phillips looks at techniques, terminology and genres and offers some sound advice for anyone keen to write poetry for young people.

“The point is to read widely, acquire new skills and techniques, and get busy writing. You’ll never be a ‘wanna-be’ children’s poet again.”



How to Write Poetry for Magazines

Suzanne E. Henshon encourages aspiring poets to write for magazines as a first step on their path to publication.

“Writing poetry for children is exciting and exhilarating. You’ll discover that the gift of words is challenging to develop but wonderful to share. As a poet, you can give young readers lasting memories: poems that will stay in their hearts forever.”


Poetry books for young people

Elizabeth Kennedy recommends several books for poetry readers in the 12+ age group on this site.


I particularly liked the sound of these…

Dark Emperor of the Night, a 2011 John Newbury honour book by Joyce Sidman. Kennedy describes it as “a striking mixture of poetry, science and art”.

Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilts features 20 poems about nature by Anna Grossnickle Hines, all illustrated by a miniature quilt created by the poet.

 Poems wanted

Do you have a poem for young people to share as our Poem of the Day? I’d love to hear from you. Email me on traffa-m@bigpond.net.au


Time is running out if you want to enter this.

The Caterpillar Poetry PrizeClosing date 31 March 2015

More information at: https://australianchildrenspoetry.com.au/2014/08/25/poetry-competition/

Happy writing!

Poem of the Day


Mystery Man

by Jane Williams


I met a man I didn’t know

But he knew me from go to woe

Your name I think is Paris Post

He said deadpan as eggs on toast


You enjoy Pine and Mountain Breeze

A little wine and too much cheese

Your tan is Airbrush Number One

The colour of your hair is Plum


Who are you I asked by and by

Soothsayer? Psychic? Private eye?

No said the man, nothing so odd

Though mine is an interesting job


I move at dawn from house to house

Not quite as quiet as a mouse

And at each one I find a clue

To him and her and you and you


Strong and quick and light on my feet

I seize the secrets of the streets

I am without apologist …

Your neighbourhood garbologist!


Poem of the Day

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An Alphabet of Magic

by S D Bellhouse


A is for Alchemy

B is for Blizzard

C is for Charms and Chants, but not for wizard

D is for Devices used to bedazzle

E is for Enchanters out on the razzle!

F is for Fairies, fleet of foot and Foretelling

G is for Gnomes, grumpy and cave dwelling

H is for Hemlock, beloved of most wizards

I is for Innards, (entrails and gizzards)

J is for Jealousy, Jinxes and Journeys

K is for Kelp, Kapow and Kahoots

L is for Lessons and Seven League Boots

M is for Magic, Mystery and Mayhem

N is for Nocturnal Necromancer, all must obey him

O is for Owl, far seeing and wise

P is for Physic and Potions to vanish before your eyes

Q is for Quest and Questioning too

R is for Readings of books old and new

S is for Spells, to stun or stupefy

T is for Toadstools, give them a try.

U is for the Unknown, better unseen

V is for Vixen, an evil queen

W is Witches, Warlocks and Wizards

X is for Xenthora, a tree seldom seen

Y is for Yearning to know where you’ve been

Z is for Zephyrs, magical winds

An alphabet of magic is where your journey begins…


Poem of the Day

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by Irene Buckler

My home is not so much a place

Places are for others and not for me

Home is the love on my mother’s face,

A look of love that sets me free


My home is not the sum of stuff

My stuff adds up to nothing much

Home is a bond when times are tough,

My hand in my father’s hand, a touch


My home is not where I sleep at night

I rest in darkness, sleeping anywhere

Home is trust and sharing the light

And staying warm with those who care


My home is a memory, fading fast

Faraway whispers, remind me of when

I lived in a home, a time long past

With friends I will never meet again


My home is in transit; we travel alone

Towards a new life, a new land, a new start

Through spaces and places with faces unknown

My home is within me, deep in my heart.


Poem of the Day

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The Forest


Silent as a mosquito whine just beyond hearing.

A lizard lies languid, tastes the air with its thick blue tongue.

A goanna runs up a gum tree, claws digging into bark.


A scrub turkey dashes across the path.

I sit on the timber seat halfway up the mountain,

careful of the red-back’s nest underneath.


Leaves dance with the first drops of rain. Birds call out.

A tree dribbles sap, sticky as honey. The downpour starts-

I am drenched in the forest’s earthy scent.

Anna Jacobson

Poem of the Day

The Big Black Cat


The big black cat crept across the road,

and finished up under a semi’s load.

It was feeling stiff and sore,

but that’s what cat’s nine lives are for.

So even though it took a whack,

the cat bounced back.


The big black cat crept across the street

and finished up under a giant’s feet.

There were guts and there was gore,

but that’s what cat’s nine lives are for.

So even though it took a smack,

the cat bounced back.


The big black cat should have never played

With an Army tank parade.


Dianne Bates


Poem of the Day


Out of sight


You’re clearly still dizzy

from spinning around,

from constantly stumbling

and hitting the ground.

You’ve slipped on the carpet,

bumped into the chairs

collided with pillars

and tripped down the stairs.

You’ve toppled the urn

that was next to the door.

There are slivers of china

all over the floor.

You’ve booted the table,

knocked books off the shelf.

Consider the trouble

you’re causing yourself.

This game’s a disaster,

so may I advise

you take off the blindfold…

and open your eyes!

Jenny Erlanger


An interview with Janeen Brian


IMG_2488 - Version 2


“Poetry is on an exciting tipping edge at the moment. It’s ripe for picking and we want to keep on applauding those teachers and parents who lay poetry before children as often as possible. And also applaud the School Magazine and other children’s magazines that wholeheartedly support and show the value of poets and poetry in our lives.”

-Janeen Brian

When did your interest in poetry begin and what were the circumstances?

It’s hard to recall an actual moment but I always loved the rhythm of words, the puns, the skipping rhymes and special words that jumped from a page of writing. I didn’t put any special feelings to this; it just was what it was. Poetry at home? Dad had funny sayings and skitty little rhymes, so I suppose I absorbed the language of those. Poetry at school? Only those poems found in the general classroom readers and one especially which was taught to us in Year 7 called Silver, by Walter de la Mare. I loved the sounds and the tranquility of the poem, beginning with: Slowly, silently, now the moon/walks the night in her silver shoon./This way and that she peers and sees/silver fruit upon silver trees.

Did you write poetry as a child?

I don’t remember doing very much writing of any sort as a child. I may have, but sadly, it’s a vanished memory.

When was your first poem published?

Two poems came out at the same time, but in different magazine age levels in the School Magazine, in 1983. One was called A Circle of Song and the other, Jigsaw Bits. I still like them.

Who are some poets whose writing you love?

Lorraine Marwood, Stephen Herrick, Sharon Creech, Michelle A. Taylor, John Malone, Rachel Rooney, Claire Saxby, Max Fatchen, Michael Rosen, Jack Prelutsky, Louise Greig, Rosemary Dobson, and many other early Australian poets, plus Basho, the Japanese poet who writes haiku.

Have you had any poetry writing mentors?

I once did an online course with Lorraine Marwood. Great!

What inspires you to write poetry?

It’s the brevity of the writing. It’s ‘handleable’, manageable and so self-contained. I can take a moment and transform it. I can play with words and hold my breath at unexpected outcomes. It’s tight and charged with a fuse that can light up emotions.

When you are writing a poem, what comes first – a subject, a line, a word?

More often than not it’s a word or a phrase that I’ve either thought of or, hopefully, written down. It’s usually weighted with some experience or emotion from the time – but that may change according to the poem and how the words are released.

Do you workshop you poems with anyone?

Sometimes with Lorraine, but no-one else, really.

How do you know when a poem is finished?

When it’s said all it, or I, have to say. When it’s as clear, simple and as rich as I can make it at the time. When I’ve checked that I’ve come up with appropriate words, or metaphors, or sensory images. However, if I leave the poem for a while, there’s often another tweak done here and there!

How do you know if a poem is good?

I think one of my poems is good, when it fulfils all those comments mentioned above and when I can read it with satisfaction and still experience the same, positive feeling each time.


From the School Magazine.


Poem of the Day


Kevin Smith’s Dragon


You wouldn’t think, to look at him,

that Kevin Smith has a dragon for a pet –

he says he has –

keeps it in the garden shed

and feeds it chillies and onions and very hot curry –

he says he does –

Kevin is teaching the dragon tricks,

it will sit up and beg for Brussels sprouts –

he says it does.

Pets aren’t allowed at school,

but still, he’s going to bring it in one day –

he says he will –

but he’s waiting till it’s really tame,

and he has trained it to stop ripping with its dreadful claws,

and lashing people with its scaly tail,

and burning curtains with its fiery breath –

then he’s going to bring it in –

he says he is.

Anne Bell

First published in Celebrate (Triple D Books)

Poem of the Day



I wonder if a spider looks

upon his own leg hair

And wonders what he’d look like if

he shaved his eight legs bare

Would he walk upon a cat walk…

Hmm – a spider on a cat?

I’m not sure that the fashion world

is quite ready for that


I wonder if a platypus

would contemplate his tail

How when he swims, behind him there’s

a paddle that will trail

Would he swap it for a tail that is

more pleasing to the eye?

Or opt to go without one – ‘Frogs

don’t have one, why should I?’


I wonder if an elephant

Regrets his long grey nose

At least when it is itchy he

can scratch it with his toes

Perhaps it gives him character

And makes him feel quite bold

It must be pretty messy though

when he contracts a cold


I wonder if a porcupine

would sharpen up his quills

They must be pretty handy when

comes time for filing bills

Just pay them at the counter and

then stick them on a spike

In alphabetic order, or

date order if you like


Do you think that dolphins ever

look at us and cry

Always stuck in water while we

have both land and sky

I think that they could play guitar

or even play the drums

If they were born with hands and fingers

with opposing thumbs


I wonder if most people would

Prefer a different life

Choose to live more wild and free

less worry and less strife

As busy as a beaver or

as happy as a clam

For me I’m quite content to be

the poet that I am

Allan Cropper