poetry, Soup Blog Poetry Festival

Visiting poet: Sally Murphy

Sally murphy

Do Not Forget Australia coverToday have a talented visitor — Sally Murphy, writer of children’s books and poetry. You might have read some of her poems in Alphabet Soup magazine and she also has two verse novels published. Her latest books include Meet Mary MacKillop and Do Not Forget Australia (these aren’t poetry books but they are good reads!). Sally is visiting today as part of our Poetry Festival.

When did you first start writing poetry?

I don’t remember  —  it feels like I always wrote poetry. I loved playing with words and making up stories from when I was really little, and as soon as I learnt to write I wrote them down. In primary school I wrote poetry  in class, and also entered writing competitions and wrote poems for my family. My first published poetry was in school magazines and I remember also being published in the local paper as part of writing competitions.

What sort of poetry do you like writing?

Most of my poetry is what you would call free verse — unrhymed, almost narrative poems. But I also love playing with rhyme.

What sort of poetry do you like reading?

Good poetry. I don’t  care what the structure is, I just like to read a poem that makes me go “ooooooh”.  Usually it does that by saying something almost perfectly in a way that makes me think.

Where can we find your poetry?

In books — I’ve had two verse novels published by Walker Books (Pearl Verses the World and Toppling), a rhyming picture book (Pemberthy Bear) and a collection of performance poetry (Assembly).  I’ve also been published in magazines including The School Magazine and the wonderful Alphabet Soup.

"Pearl Verses the World"

toppling (cover)

Here is a poem I wrote about writing a poem:


Kids crying

kids sighing

kids chewing pens

or writing.


and wriggling

and impatiently jiggling.

Passing notes

scrumpling and crumpling pieces of paper

as the clock tick tock ticks

and Miss Imms paces the room

waiting for our poems to appear.

See how I wrote the poem (and maybe write one of your own) here.

How often do you write?

I try to write every day, though I will confess it doesn’t always happen. But I carry a notebook wherever I go, and try to snatch even just five minutes to write whenever I can.

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

Pen and paper, when writing poetry. I think it helps to connect with my creative side, and allows me freedom to just write it all down without worrying about spelling or anything. Then I can cross out and rearrange and experiment. I also have sets of magnetic words which I like to play with to create poems.

Your number one tip for budding poets?

Write a lot. Don’t worry if it isn’t all perfect — have fun messing about with words. The more you write the better your writing will get. Oh, and I know you only asked for one tip, but it goes hand in hand: read a lot. If you want to write poetry, read a lot of poetry.

Sally’s Poetry Prescription

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

I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

The language is a little old fashioned (it was written in the nineteenth century!) but the image of thousands of daffodils always makes me smile.

You can learn more about Sally Murphy, her books and poetry by visiting her website and by checking out this earlier post on Soup Blog.  

Interview with Sally Murphy © 2013 Sally Murphy and Rebecca Newman https://soupblog.wordpress.com
poetry, Soup Blog Poetry Festival

Visiting poet: Jackie Hosking

Jackie HoskingToday we welcome Jackie Hosking who is visiting as part of the Soup Blog Poetry Festival. We’re big fans of Jackie’s poetry and you might remember reading some of her poems in Alphabet Soup magazine — like ‘Paperwork’, ‘The Moon’, ‘Butterfly Kisses’, and ‘I Wish I Were a Dragon’.

I wrote my first poem when I was 17 years old. It was called ‘Consequence’, a rhyming nonsense poem that made the use of opposites. It began …

A Christmas tree stood on the beach

Within my grasp but out of reach

What sort of poetry do you like writing?

Best of all I like writing rhyming and rhythmical poetry. I’ve tried to write free verse poems and I’ve enjoyed the process but rhyme and meter suit me best of all.

What sort of poetry do you like reading?

I like to ready any poems that make me go aaaahhhhh …

Where could a reader find your poetry?

My poetry has been published in magazines, anthologies, websites, on a train, educational texts and next year in a picture book titled The Croc and the Platypus.

You can read some more of my poems on my blog.

How often do you write?

Not as often as I should probably — but when I do I’m so absorbed that many hours can pass without me realising it. It’s really exciting when this happens.

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

Straight onto the computer, though I will record ideas if I’m out on a walk with no computer in site. Love my phone for this!

Your number one tip for budding poets?

Write about what moves YOU. There is nothing more compelling than reading a piece that was written with passion.

Jackie’s Poetry Prescription:

IF YOU’RE HAVING A GRUMPY DAY — read the following poem! (I wrote ‘The Quarrel’ as it’s perfect for stamping your grumpies out.)


The giants are moaning

And mumbling and groaning

They’re grumbling with all of their might

They’re stamping and stomping

And ranting and romping

They’re all in the mood for a fight

The giants are raving

And whining and waving

They’re snatching the clouds; every one

They’re howling and wailing

And flapping and flailing

And heaving the clouds at the sun

The giants are lurching

And stumbling and searching

For weapons to settle the score

They’re ploughing and plunging

And digging and lunging

For dinosaur bones from before

They’re kicking and thrashing

And slicing and slashing

Electrical tension is frightening

They’re whacking and whizzing

And static is fizzing

Exploding the sky with its lightening

The giants are jumping

While jeering and thumping

The dinosaur bones as they plunder

And the flash in the night

Well might give you a fright

But just wait for the crack of the thunder

© Jackie Hosking

Thank you, Jackie! If you’d like to learn more about Jackie Hosking and her poetry, check out her website and this earlier post on Soup Blog.