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
poetry, Soup Blog Poetry Festival

Soup Blog Poetry Festival

festival streamers and party blowersHave you already been enjoying your winter school holidays? Here in WA we are JUST STARTING our school holidays this afternoon. It’s great holiday weather in Perth. As I look out my window I can see blue, blue skies.

In addition to being in a holidayish mood, I am very excited to announce that we are holding a poetry festival right here on Soup Blog. For the rest of July and all of August we will be celebrating poetry and poets. Bring all your friends! Bring your teachers! Bring your grandparents! Bring your dog!

What will be happening during our poetry festival?

I’m so glad you asked. We’ll have tips for reading poetry, we’ll be sharing some poems we love (oldies but goodies), talking to a number of Australian children’s poets about their writing, and every Tuesday we’ll offer you a tiny poem challenge. We’ll also feature Poetry Prescriptions from our visiting children’s poets — poetry is good for the soul!

When does this festival start?

On Monday 8 July 2013! Be sure to check back then. We’ll be launching the Soup Blog Poetry Festival with the very first poem we published in Alphabet Soup magazine. (I wonder if any of you can remember what it was?) On Tuesday we’ll have our first tiny poem challenge for you. And on Thursday we’ll have a first of our Australian poets visiting — Jackie Hosking.

See you then!

~ Rebecca (Soup Blog’s editor)