poetry, Soup Blog Poetry Festival

Visiting poet – Janeen Brian

Janeen Brian

Today we have Janeen Brian visiting Soup Blog to talk about her poetry and poetry-writing. (Janeen also writes picture books, short stories, nonfiction and novels. She’s a busy writer!)

When did you first start writing poetry?

I can’t remember writing anything much at all as a child, so I’d guess I began writing poetry in my late twenties or early thirties.

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

Both rhyming and free verse. I tend to use rhyme for more of my humorous pieces, but not exclusively. I love the word-manipulation, the struggle and the joy of creating rhyme. Free verse excites me too, but for a different reason. There, I aim to convey something to the reader by way of a new point-of view, a twist at the end, a particular rhythmic pattern, or a feeling. I love selecting the right word. It can take hours, or longer. But when it does — oh, what a feeling!

What sort of poetry do you like reading?

I love reading ballads, humorous, quirky, clever verses, verse novels, free verse and rhyming verse. I prefer reading children’s poetry because that’s the main area in which I write, but I also read adult poetry and have also written in that field.

Where can we find your poetry?

My poetry has been included in the following anthologies:

  • 100 Australian Poems for Children
  • There was a big fish (limericks)
  • Christmas Crackers
  • Fractured Fairytales and Ruptured Rhymes
  • Four and Twenty Lamingtons
  • Petrifying Poems
  • Stay Loose Mother Goose
  • Off the Planet
  • Vile Verse
  • Putrid Poems
  • Side by Side
  • Machino Supremo

(Tadpoles in the Torrens due for release September, 2013. Our Home is Dirt by Sea due for release 2014)

By jingo!Books of my own poetry:

  • By Jingo!
  • Silly Galah!
  • Nature’s Way A-Z of biodiversity.

(Our Village in the Sky due for release 2014)

Rhyming picture books:

  • I’m a dirty dinosaur
  • Meet Ned Kelly
  • I Spy Mum!
  • I Spy Dad!
  • The super parp-buster!
  • Shirl and the Wollomby Show
  • Columbia Sneezes.

Over 150 poems have been published nationally and internationally in the following magazines:

  • The School Magazine
  • the Victorian Education Magazines
  • Spider
  • Ladybird
  • Ladybug
  • Contagious.

Comma Dog © Janeen Brian

There’s a comma
of a dog
lying on the mat.
Dozing belly and
curl of tail
ears no longer
playtime exclamation marks
eyes closed as hyphens
and soft brackets of sighs
snuffling from
that comma of a dog
in a circle
of sun.

Published in The School Magazine: Orbit. May 2012

How often do you write?

I write every day. It might be my diary, my ideas book, some research notes, a page of practice writing, a draft of a poem or story or rewriting earlier drafts of work.

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

Note-taking, ideas gathering, early paragraphs or lines of poetry are mostly done by hand with pen and paper (an exercise book), but I gradually take the work onto the computer and work from there on.

What’s your number one tip for budding poets?

Choose a book of poetry. Write out several poems that you like and then work out how the poet has written them. Think and discover. And practise.

Janeen’s Poetry Prescription corner

IF YOU’RE HAVING A SHAMBLY DAY — read the following poem:

‘Cat Burial’ (from Note on the Door by Lorraine Marwood).

Some books by Janeen Brian

For even more about Janeen Brian and her books and poetry — visit her website!

Interview with Janeen Brian © 2013 Janeen Brian and Rebecca Newman https://soupblog.wordpress.com

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