poetry, Soup Blog Poetry Festival

Visiting poet – Marianne Musgrove

Marianne Musgrove

Today we welcome Marianne Musgrove to the Soup Blog Poetry Festival. Marianne is an award-winning children’s author and poet, not to mention a descendant of King Henry VIII’s librarian — you could say books are in her blood! A former social worker and one time tomato picker, Marianne finally found her calling as a writer with her first book, The Worry Tree. Her most recent novel, The Beginner’s Guide to Revenge, was short-listed for the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Children’s Fiction. (You can read one of her poems in the interview below. Excellent!)

When did you first start writing poetry?

When I was nine, I wrote a poem called ‘Parents — boo!’. It was read out at assembly in front of the whole school as well as some invited parents (including my own!).

What sort of poetry do you like writing best of all?

Poems that make you feel something. I was once writing a poem about sadness so I listed off all the empty things I could think of. For example, shoes without feet, hats without heads, churches on weekdays and hollowed out logs. I never used the word ‘sadness’ in the poem but the poem felt sad because of the images…


What sort of poetry do you like to read?

Poems that sound good when you read them out loud; ones where you can roll the words around in your mouth like a lolly.


Where can we read your poetry?

[Here is one of Marianne’s poems!]

Animal Dreams by Marianne Musgrove

Gulls have sea-salty-fish-and-chip dreams
Pigs have trough-snouting-mud-grunting dreams
Worms have dark-digging-composty dreams
Seals have slip-slidey-fish-gulping dreams
Dogs have tongue-and-tail-lick-slurping-thud-thumping-
leg-twitching-paw-padded-stick-catching dreams.

And what about you?
You’re an animal too!

First published in Countdown: The School Magazine, July 2008, No. 6.

And more poetry here:

  • Tadpoles in the Torrens (Wakefield Press), a collection of poetry by South Australian children’s poets (to be released August 2013)
  • Celebrating: The End-of-the-Year Reciter, Triple D Books
  • Alphabet Soup magazine, (issues 12 and 13)

How often do you write?

I tend to write a lot in a big chunk then nothing at all for days. Like bread dough, my ideas take time to rise. So when it looks as if I’m doing nothing, I’m really just waiting for the yeast — the inspiration — to take effect (at least that’s what I tell my family when they catch me drinking hot chocolate and eating muffins in the middle of the afternoon!).

Do you prefer to write with a pen and paper or straight onto the computer?

Pen and paper for poetry, computer for stories. I have quite a collection of notebooks with cool designs as I find it more inspirational when creating ideas.

What’s your number one tip for budding poets?

It’s good to be original so here’s an exercise you might like to try:

Write down a list of colours. Next to each one, note down words you’d typically use to describe that colour. For example, rose red, grass green, sky blue. Now cross out rose, grass and sky etc, and think of all the unusual things you can use to describe that colour. For example, tumeric orange, honeydew melon green, toothpaste white, piano keys cream. Using your new list, try and describe a sunset or your backyard or, even better, something of your own choosing.

Marianne’s Poetry Prescription


The Secret Place by Canadian poet, Dennis Lee.
The Beginner's Guide to Revenge The Worry Tree
Do you want to learn more about Marianne Musgrove and her books and poetry? Visit her website!
Interview with Marianne Musgrove © 2013 Marianne Musgrove and Rebecca Newman https://soupblog.wordpress.com

5 thoughts on “Visiting poet – Marianne Musgrove”

  1. Hi BookChook and Tricia

    Glad you enjoyed my poem and exercise. And yes, Dennis Lee is a great poet!

    Thanks for having me on your blog, Rebecca. It’s been a pleasure 🙂


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