Meet Pat Simmons

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Pat is a writer of poems, short stories, flash fiction and children’s picture books.

Her work has been published in anthologies and children’s magazines (including NSW School Magazine, Alphabet Soup and Looking Glass Magazine) and she has won writer competitions in Australia and the UK.

Her picture book manuscript, Ziggy’s Zoo has been accepted for publication by Little Pink Dog Books in 2017 and she has independently published a collection of flash fiction stories for adults called 52 Twisted Tales.

She lives at Scarborough on the south coast of NSW with her four cats, three dogs and assorted mini beasts.

Visit Pat’s website: www.patsimmonswriter.com.au

pat-simmons

“Write about what you love, what you know, what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Read lots of children’s poetry to get a feel for what style suits you.”_Pat Simmons

 

When did your interest in poetry begin?

When I was a child, I think. I’ve always loved rhyme and nonsense poetry.

Did you write poetry as a child?

I don’t remember writing poetry until I was about twelve years old when a school friend and I co-wrote a poem about our pet guinea pigs which was published in the school magazine. (Fortunately I don’t still have a copy.)

What was the first poem you had published?

Well, moving on about 50 years, my poem, Mr Pickle’s Pet Shop won a UK poetry competition and was published in 2010.

Who are some poets whose writing you love?

Ah, there are many, from the wonderful nonsense poetry of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll to Thomas Hardy, Philip Larkin, John Betjeman, Bob Dylan and many more.

Have you had any poetry writing mentors?

No mentors as such, but the members of the writers’ group I belong to continue to encourage and inspire me.

What inspires you to write poetry?

Competitions and sites like ACP motivate me to write. I love writing but I don’t like writing lots of words! Poetry challenges me to write ‘tight’.

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

Prompt words work really well for me as they give me a starting point. I’m also inspired by various subject matter. With my children’s poetry I love writing about animals and particularly animals who existed in history.

Do you workshop your poems with anyone?

Only with my writers’ group buddies.

How do you know when a poem is finished?

Oh, good question and I’m not sure how to answer it. I think I just know when I’ve said enough!

How do you know if a poem is good?

I don’t really ever know but, just sometimes, I’ll finish a poem and say to myself, ‘that’s good!’ I try not to overthink them.

What is your top tip for aspiring children’s poets?

Write about what you love, what you know, what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Read lots of children’s poetry to get a feel for what style suits you.

 

Trim

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

I was born on the Reliance in 1799.

Of all my mother’s kittens

I was the one most fine.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

I have four snow-white paws

And a white star on my chest.

Of all the cats on board this ship

The sailors like me best.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

When it’s time for dinner

I don’t eat with other cats.

I sit at table with the men.

I don’t care for rats.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

I have a trusty friend

And Matthew Flinders is his name.

He has called me Trim.

I think together we’ll find fame.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

Matthew is a clever man

He’s sailed all round this land.

He’s given it a name

And that’s Australia – how grand.

Perhaps you have a cat at home

Is it as fine as me?

Would it like to come aboard

And sail upon the sea?

With a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

Pat Simmons

 

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