I have loved poetry for as long as I can remember. I have early memories of my mum sharing poetry with me, from books like When We Were Very Young, by AA Milne and A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as rhyming stories like those by Dr Seuss – by absolute favourite was Horton Hatches an Egg. At school I always loved poetry, shared by teachers, performed for concerts and assemblies and read in offerings including the school magazines. I also loved to write my own poetry. Writing time was my favourite thing at school, and often when given free choice, I would choose to write poetry.
As I got older I remember being delighted to discover that poetry didn’t have to rhyme, and a favourite poem was William Carlos Williams ‘This is Just to Say’. I still loved rhyme, but a whole new world was opened up by realising poetry could take so many different forms.
My childhood poems appeared in school papers, and won local competitions. Our local newspaper ran local contests, and one Mother’s Day I won a prize for a poem about my mum.
These days I write both poetry and prose. I’ve had poems published in the NSW School Magazines, Alphabet Soup and Little Ears, among others. New Frontier published my rhyming picture book, Pemberthy Bear, and I wrote a collection of performance poetry for the classroom (Assembly, published by Ready Ed).
My first verse novel, Pearl Verses the World (Walker Books), won the Indie Children’s Book Award (2009), was an Honour Book in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards, and won the Speech Pathology Book of the Year 2010 and the Victorian Family Therapist’s Award 2010. My second verse novel, Toppling (Walker Books) won the children’s book category of both the Queensland Premier’s and the Western Australian Premier’s Literary Awards. Both of these verse novels were also published in the USA by Candlewick Press and the UK by Walker UK. My third verse novel Roses are Blue will be published by Walker Books Australia later in 2014.
I love poetry so much that not only do I write it, but I am also studying it, as a Doctoral candidate. My PhD topic is the importance of children’s poetry.
I love to share my work with audiences of all ages, and can run poetry workshops, too. My website is http://sallymurphy.com.au/ and I can be contacted through this site.
Most cats are black, or white,
maybe tortoiseshell or tabby,
but my friend Sarah
has a cat
that’s a marvellous purply-blue.
She says it’s from Russia
but I think
it’s straight from heaven.
© Sally Murphy
Pink ones, white ones,
yellow ones too
dancing in morning light
caressed by bees
buzzily collecting pollen.
Yesterday I picked a bunch
took them inside
and gave them to Mum.
Now, in their vase,
they are starting to wilt
while here outside
their sisters are still
I almost wish
I’d left them here,
though Mum’s smile
when she saw what I had for her
was almost as beautiful
as these millions of dancing daisies.
© Sally Murphy
The presents are under the tree,
Mistletoe hanging above.
Mum warns ‘Be good or else’
While she cooks up the trifle we love.
There’s fake snow in every shop
Though the temperature’s rising each day.
Excitement is starting to build
‘Cos soon it will be Christmas Day!
© Sally Murphy