Harry Laing

Harry Laing PicI’m a poet, comic performer and creative writing teacher. I love reading/performing poems for children and encouraging them to write poems themselves. I feel they should be exposed to exciting, dynamic and poetic language and nudged off the ‘template’ into using their imaginations as much as possible.

I’ve recently completed a collection of poems for 8-12 yr olds Shark Salad. (And am looking for a publisher!) My aim has been to provide a big variety of poetry that’s challenging and fun. I’ve included shape poems, a verb poem, ballads and chants. The emphasis is on sparkling and inventive language that children hopefully won’t be able to resist. And I hope it will make a useful resource for teachers too. So far I’ve had very favourable responses from students and teachers and one of the poems is shortly to be published in The School Magazine.

I’ve been writing poetry for 25 years. I’ve two collections of (adult) poetry published, the second of which Backbone came out in 2010. As well as teaching adult writing workshops I do a lot of work in schools teaching creative writing and poetry is one of my passions. I also teach Professional Learning workshops for English teachers on creative writing. I was the judge for the schools’ section of the Feast of Poetry Competition (Cooma) in 2012 and 2013. Recently I wrote an article Atmosphere of possibility: Teaching creative writing for Literacies Learning: The Middle Years, ALEA’s magazine (featured here).

I live on 115 acres near Braidwood on the Southern Tablelands.

e:   harrylaing@bigpond.com

ph: 0248461075

w:   http://harrylaing.com.au/

Some poems:


You feel it on your skin

something coming

heavy and warm

like the breath of a huge animal

its thunder-breath

rumbling overhead


now you’re being pawed by the wind

attacked by the first fat drops of rain

but this beast with the yellow eyes

is in no mood to play

and spits lightning

wants to snatch your house

crack the windows

smack the roof

give you the shock of your life


so get inside now

or be swallowed


© Harry Laing


If I Was An Emu

If I was an emu

I’d have a tiny brain

and run at forty k’s an hour

over the plain


if I was an emu

I’d sit on blue eggs

if I was an emu

I’d have the best legs.


(If I was an emu

I’d have tiny wings

OK so they don’t work

but wings are stupid things.)

©  Harry Laing



 I cracked open my egg

and got a surprise


it was packed full of people

and I’m telling no lies


they were all wearing yellow

and their faces were white


so I’m telling you Mum

my egg isn’t right


I like my egg runny

but this is a joke


the white bits are waving

and so is the yolk


please boil my egg longer

please make sure it’s cooked


and then tell the farmer

to check out his chooks

© Harry Laing















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