Meet the poet: Kristin Martin


Kristin lives in Adelaide in a house sort-of-near the sea with her husband, two sons, three turtles, four goldfish, five spiny leaf insects and a canary named Stephen Fly. Her poems have appeared in Tadpoles in the Torrens (Wakefield Press, 2013), and in the magazines Blast Off and Orbit. Kristin’s adult poetry collection, Paint the Sky, will be published by Ginninderra Press later this year.

Today Kristin tells us about her love of poetry and shares a little about her writing process…

I love writing poems; that’s what makes me a poet. I wouldn’t write poems if I didn’t love doing it. If you love writing poems then you are a poet too.

Many of my poems come from things I see or hear that make me laugh, or make me stop and say, “Wow! Isn’t that amazing! I want to tell people about that!” But, just because I think something is funny or amazing, it doesn’t mean other people will too. So I have to show how amazing or funny it is. One way to do this is to make up a story, with interesting characters and a setting and a beginning, middle and an end. I insert the amazing thing I saw into the story, and I write the story as a poem.

A few years ago, when I was travelling around northern Australia with my family, I was amazed by all the places where we saw frogs. We saw a tiny frog on the mirror in the girls’ toilets at a caravan park. We saw an even tinier frog siting behind the cold-water tap on the sink. And we saw a huge frog hiding under the toilet seat. I wanted to tell people about all these amazing places you could find frogs, so I decided to write a frog poem. To make my poem more interesting I developed a story about a child who has lots of frogs in her (or his) house. I pretended I was the child, and I was up at night, creeping around my house with a torch looking for the frogs. Here is the poem I wrote.


A Night of Frogs

A frog lives in our garden
in a pond beneath the tree.
I hear it croak at bedtime
as it says ‘goodnight’ to me.

A frog lives by our back door
on a post below the light.
I sneak outside to say ‘hello’
because it’s only there at night.

A frog lives in our laundry
in the corner of the wall.
I check when I come back inside
to make sure it didn’t fall.

A frog lives in our kitchen
in the space behind the sink.
It freezes in the torchlight
when I get myself a drink.

A frog lives in our bathroom
and I don’t know what to do
because it isn’t where it should be.
Yuk! It’s swimming in the loo!

My mum comes in the bathroom,
plants a kiss upon my head.
‘The frogs are fine just where they are
but you should be in bed!’

I also like to play with rhymes. On the same trip to northern Australia I was sitting on the edge of a beautiful, warm spring, dangling my feet in the water and watching my children swim, when a woman walked up with a black, stocky dog. I wanted to jump up and ran away because the dog looked so scary. But I made myself stay, because the water was lovely and warm, and told myself to be wary of the dog, but not scared. Immediately I realised I had a rhyme: “Some dogs are scary, you have to be wary.” I loved that rhyme! Over the next few weeks I thought of other rhymes for dogs; tiny dogs and jumpy dogs and busy dogs. I wrote them all in my notebook, then chose my favourite rhymes and arranged them in the order that sounded best. But the poem wasn’t finished until I came up with the ending. A good ending is one of the most important things in a poem.


 Some dogs are scary.
You have to be wary.

Some dogs are fat.
They could squash you flat.

Some dogs are tiny
and yappy and whiny.

Some dogs are old
and can’t do what they’re told.

Some dogs are jumpy.
They make me feel grumpy.

Some dogs are fast.
I just watch them run past.

Some dogs are busy
and rush round till they’re dizzy.

But my dog is great.
She’s my very best mate.



3 thoughts on “Meet the poet: Kristin Martin

  1. I came upon this facebook in 2017 & it so blessed me: my niece the poet, such a delight to meet…thank you for sharing! Love you dear heart!

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