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Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

Celebrating Australia: A Year in Poetry by Lorraine Marwood, Walker Books Australia, ISBN 9781925081022

celebrating australia: a year in poetry (cover)

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Joseph reviewed his own copy of this book.

I like poetry collections where the poems are connected by a theme — in this book the poems are all about key events in the year. I didn’t know of a few events before I read the poems (like Diwali — Festival of Light). Australia has lots of people from different countries and I like to learn about the different celebrations and important events. Chinese New Year, Australia Day, Christmas, Pancake Day (the start of Lent), Ramadan and heaps more.

My favourite poems in this collection:

‘A Recipe for Harmony Day’

At our school we always do a lot of activities for Harmony Day. At the school in the poem they do different activities with food so the kids in the class can try out foods from different countries. I like the way the poem sounds, and I like the humour in it (like the toasted marshmallows).

‘Graduation’

I’m thinking about graduation this year because I’m in year 6 and graduation is coming up for me at the end of the year. I really like the last three lines in this poem. And I like that the whole poem is like a little list.

‘Swimming Carnival’

I like the rhythm of it, and the repetition of the last line in each stanza makes me imagine I’m there with everyone being excited and preparing for the day. (The swimming carnival is a big deal).

There is a mix of simple drawings and photographs with the poems, they’re all black and white. Celebrating Australia: A Year in Poetry is fun to read aloud to other people and a good summary of a year. In your class you could probably read a poem aloud when an event comes up.

I would recommend this book to children aged 8 to 12.

© February 2015 “Review of Celebrating Australia: A Year in Poetry” by Joseph.
(http://soupblog.wordpress.com)

Alphabet Soup talked to Lorraine Marwood recently about writing Celebrating Australia: a Year in Poetry. You can read the interview here.

Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of The Billy That Died With Its Boots On. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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Month of Poetry is run by children’s writer Kathryn Apel and is open to anyone — children and adults — anywhere in the world. Aim to write one poem per day during January and at the end of the month you’ll have a drawer full of new poems.

If you register at the Month of Poetry site (it’s free to register), Kathryn will send you a password. The poem pages are not open to the public, so only participants with the password will be able to see poems, post their own poems, and add comments. Once a week there will be a specific poetry challenge (e.g. a theme or an image) posted to the site. If you have registered, you can use the password to post your poem for that day onto the locked pages, and you can read other participant’s poems … and comment on them if you like.

Of course, you don’t need to sign up to the website to write a poem a day … you can just quietly (or loudly) write a poem every day in January anyway. But if you’d like a bit of encouragement, then the Month of Poetry site is a great way to get your writing kickstarted for 2015.

To find out more about the Month of Poetry, (or to sign up) head over to the Month of Poetry website!

But BEWARE: THE LAST DAY YOU CAN REGISTER is Tuesday 30th December 2014. That’s TODAY! (Children who want to take part will need an adult to register them. Happy writing!)

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The Electric Fence

by Veronica Hester

 

Imagine the tragedy that
Had befallen me
The boomerang flung through the air
No, it didn’t hit me
I walked through the long grass
No, a snake didn’t bite me
The sunset was blooming
The boys were on their gleaming motorbikes
No, they didn’t run me over
But the noise should’ve killed me.

I took it all in
Smiling, breathing
And leaned on the fence
Right in front of me
I, of course, had forgotten
That I was on a farm
And when fences are silver
You don’t lean on them.

And that’s why I don’t lean on fences.
Ever.

This poem was the winner of our 2014 poetry competition. For more writing competitions for kids, check out our Comps for Kids page.

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Thank you to all the young poets who entered our 2014 Poetry Competition. We were blown away by the quality of your poems and our judge (Rebecca Newman) had a very hard time choosing one winner. Rebecca did have a fabulous time reading all your poems!

The winners:

1st place — $30 book voucher

‘The Electric Fence’ by Veronica Hester, 11, NSW

Judge’s comments: This free-verse poem crafted a clear scene for the audience. Effective use of repetition builds anticipation and the voice of the storyteller is engaging. What is not said (but left to our imagination) adds an amusing layer to the poem.

2nd place

‘Sounds of the Night’ by Jamie D’Mello, 7, WA

Highly Commended

‘The Dark Clown’ by Meg Edelman, 12, WA

Certificates (and first prize) will be posted out to these poets at the end of the week. Don’t go away! We’ll post Veronica’s winning poem here on the blog later today …

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Dianne (Di) Bates has published 120+ books mostly for young readers. Some of her books have won children’s choice book awards. Di is a former teacher, schools’ performer and newspaper editor, and has worked as an editor on three children’s magazines. In 2008, Di was awarded The Lady Cutler Award for distinguished services to children’s Literature. Di lives near Wollongong, NSW, Australia, with her prize-winning YA author husband, Bill Condon.

Di Bates and Bill Condon

Di Bates and Bill Condon

Di is visiting Alphabet Soup today to tell us about a new anthology of children’s poetry coming out in 2016!

You are the commissioning editor for a poetry anthology for children coming out with Walker Books. What was your role in the book?
I spent many hours finding poems which were written by Australians and which would suit the themes I’d decided on for the anthology (such as sport, families, being a kid). I had to record the source of each poem (if it was in a single poet collection, an anthology, a magazine or if it was unpublished). I also tracked down contact addresses of the poets, gave the anthology a title (Our Home is Dirt by Sea) and then had to find a publisher for the whole anthology. This all sounds easy, but it took me several years.

Note: A poetry collection is written by a single poet; an anthology contains poems by numerous poets.

There are a lot of poems in an anthology. Do all the poets get paid if they have a poem published in an anthology?
Yes, poets are paid. As the editor, I get paid, as well. Unfortunately the publisher couldn’t include all the poems I wanted, because of financial limitations.

Does an editor ever change the words in a poem once it’s accepted for an anthology? Does the poet have a say in any changes?
I would never change the words — or the punctuation — in a poem without approval from the poet. I didn’t change any of the poems in my anthology.

Can you tell us a bit about the upcoming anthology?
Titled Our Home is Dirt by Sea, the anthology consists of 60 poems in the following categories: Australia, Mostly Me, Families, People, Animals, Sport, School, and Special Times. A few of the poems are lyrical, some make children think and some are humorous, but all are child-friendly and relatively short. The style of poems ranges from rhyming verse to free verse. I aimed for poems which make the reader feel some emotion when reading them, and for children to ‘see’ themselves or the world around them. Some of the poets are well-known such as Steven Herrick, Elizabeth Honey, Doug McLeod and Max Fatchen, but others are lesser known (to children) such as Robert Adamson, Kyle Seeburg, Andrew Leggett and Rodney Hall.

I have also compiled two other children’s poetry anthologies, but they are so far unpublished. And I’ve published a book of mad verse for children titled Erky Perky Silly Stuff (Five Senses Education).

erky perky silly stuff

Do you write poetry yourself? (Does that help when you are selecting poems for an anthology?)
Yes, I do write poems, but I don’t consider myself a very good poet. There are none of my poems in Our Home is Dirt by Sea, though there are a few by my husband, Bill Condon (who has published three collections). I know a lot about poetry from having a life-long love of poetry, teaching verse speaking, performing poetry and reading extensively. I’ve also run children’s poetry competitions and have a blog, Australian Children’s Poetry which showcases Australian children’s poets.

Keep an eye out for Our Home is Dirt by Sea in 2016! And you can find out more about Di Bates on her website: www.enterprisingwords.com.au.

Interview with Di Bates © November 2014 Di Bates & Rebecca Newman

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The Way Through the Woods

by Rudyard Kipling

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.

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We’re very pleased to have Lorraine Marwood visiting us at Alphabet Soup today. Lorraine writes verse novels and poetry collections for children and she has a new poetry collection coming out in 2015. Here’s the cover in all its glory!

Celebrating Australia

Your earlier poetry collections have themes (‘notes’ and ‘animals’). Does your upcoming collection have a theme?

Yes my new book does have a theme — ‘Celebrations!’ And the title reflects this. Celebrating Australia: a year in poetry.

When you were writing poems for this collection , did you set out to write to a particular theme? Or did a theme emerge?

Yes the theme began the collection and I began to research those celebrations that I had little first hand knowledge about — the journey was fascinating.

How long did it take you to finish this book?

About 18 months, some poems had to be re-written completely to suit the overall nature of the collection.

How do you choose which poems to include (and which poems to leave out) for a collection?

Ah, a good question. I wrote in batches — for example I researched ideas and words for the Valentine’s day poem and after the initial draft my editor suggested it needed to be more grounded in what kids might do — this is where a refrain came in to make the poem flow:  ‘cutie pie, cutie pie, my high five, be mine forever.’ It was hard trying to make something like Bastille day or United Nations day poetic. My editor suggested significant milestone celebrations in the Australian calendar and I chose some myself like ‘International dot day’ and ‘Talk like a pirate day.’

I tried to make a variety of formats for the poems, including some with refrains, even one that rhymes, some humourous, some grounded in image and emotion.

Do you have a tip for young writers who want to try writing in free verse?

I think a good way to begin is to think of using images. Here’s an example. Let’s liken the sky to:

a crinkle of aluminum foil or a smudge of vanilla yoghurt.

It can be set out like this:

Today
the sky is like a crinkle of aluminum foil

Have a go! Look at the sky right now and think of an object or a colour in your fridge or kitchen and liken the sky to that — it will make the sky more visual, more sensory, more striking for the reader and that’s what we want, to be different and move away from cliché. Sometimes rhyming leads us into cliché.

Lorraine Marwood

Lorraine Marwood, reading Guinea Pig Town to some of her grandchildren.

Is there anything else you can tell us about Celebrating Australia: a year in poetry?

I loved the hard work put into my collection by my editor and the final finishing touches by graphic designer Amy Daoud. For me each poem was a mini story in itself — with its own research, own format, own rhythm and own beginning and end. I learnt so much about other culture’s celebrations and embraced the whole multi-cultural feel of Australia right now.

I am planning for a launch with the Bendigo, Goldfields library in February, can’t wait!

To find out more about Lorraine Marwood and her poetry and books, visit her website. And check out our other interviews with Lorraine here and here.

Interview with Lorraine Marwood © November 2014 Lorraine Marwood & Rebecca Newman

 

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