Preparing for Presenting at Sandcliffe

Magic Fish Dreaming

Last year when I was running my kickstarter campaign I came across the Sandcliffe festival online, and it looked kind of cool because it was concerned with diversity and was in Brisbane.

I emailed them to let them know I thought their festival looked great and to say I had a book coming out,  Magic Fish Dreaming, would they be interested in my participation.

I promptly forgot all about it, and then early this year an email from the lovely Adele Moy arrived, with a phone number and asking me to ring her about the Festival, she apologised for taking so long to get back to me.

I phoned Adele as she requested and had the most beautiful conversation about diversity, life, writing, family and my book which went much longer than I think we both expected, and next thing I know I am on a panel to tell…

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Lest We Forget – The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

Pearlz Dreaming

My mother tells me my grandfather was one of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

That’s all I know of the story so far, apart from what is in the Australian War Memorial Records, and written by the army or historians.

There is so much history that could have been written but might forever be lost.

So we search for fragements in the often faded memories of those relatives who spoke to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

Must we then imagine their stories from these public records, and photographs, where so many faces seem to be from the village of my grandfather.

Will some historians who want written records, and identify verification from the photographs, discount our hand-me-down fragments and pieced together tales?

I am touched when a friend of mine says her grandfather was an Australian on that trails.

Maybe our grandfathers met each other.

We will never now.

Malolo was a…

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Ten Things About Poetry and Me: J.R.Poulter/J.R.McRae

1.What is  your earliest memory of poetry?

I’m told, I knew all my nursery rhymes by heart before I went to Kindergarten. So someone, possibly my mother or maternal grandmother, taught me. My love of verse came from listening, firstly, to my father recite comic verses by Lewis Carroll and melodramatic poetry by Mrs Felicia Hemans [Casablanca, in particular, which he recited with flair] and, secondly, to my maternal grandfather recite The Man from Snowy River, and reading The Hunting of the Snark, by Lewis Carroll.

2.When and why did you begin to write poetry for children?

I started writing poetry and illustrating my verse whilst in primary. Many of the poems were either narrative or humorous or both, which I read or wrote to my maternal grandmother, who is responsible for having encouraged this behaviour in her granddaughter..

3.Do you think writing for children is the same or different as writing for adults (explain)

That it is written for children should not in any way diminish the pleasure it can give adults. The drama of the ballad, from medieval Barbara Allen to Gothic Edgar Allan Poe and Walter de la Mare and the rollicking humour of poets like Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll and Ogden Nash are as entertaining for adults as they are for children. Verse is everywhere – it surrounds us – advertising jungles, verse on birthday cards, songs are poems set to music, movie and TV theme songs, national anthems, rally cries, and football team songs.

However, there are categories of poems that are more for the adult reader, rather than the child. The child grows into these latter verse forms – love poems, protest poems and the more convoluted literary forms. The more exposure to verse in its playful and dramatic aspects, the more the child is likely to explore the poetic medium for themselves as they mature.

 

4.If you could be any poet in history who would you choose to be and why?

Shakespeare! In my maternal grandparents’ home, Shakespeare and the Bible were quoted with equal regularity. They introduced me to the stories of the Shakespearean plays whilst I was in primary. The eloquence, drama and beautiful flow of Shakespearean language is something to aspire to, a ‘gold standard.’

5. What are five words that describe your poetry?

Broadly speaking – Dramatic, rhythmic, storyful, humorous, imaginative

 

6.Share a few lines from one of the poems you have written that you are most proud of.

From Babi Yar, published in Quadrant, December 2011

Verse 4 and last line –

Deep inside collective mind

The forest grows upon mankind.

It hides the children clinging to

The bones of mothers, fathers, kin

Silent as the night within

At Babi Yar.

 

 7. What is your favourite form of poetry?

All forms!:)

 

8. Have any of your poems been illustrated? If so what did you think of the illustration? And or Tell me about how you like to perform your poems?

Yes. Over 100 of my poems have been illustrated by wonderful artist/illustrator collaborators in our Poster Poem Project. I have illustrated a number of my own poems as well.

I love the added visual dimension that illustration gives the written word.

Doing dramatic readings is a passion!

Speech and Drama lessons in high school taught me how to better bring to vivid life a dramatic or humorous reading. It introduced me to the flow of language in a new way and gave me a deeper appreciation of the ‘sounds’ words make, how often words echo their own sense [onomatopoeia].

It is also a great advantage in ‘proofing’ my own book texts, whether  rhyming or in prose.  Flow is important in telling story – pause and emphasis give heightened dramatic effect; a good rhythm carries the story along, especially in verse.

 

 

9.Where is your best spot for writing poetry and why?

Anywhere and any time the inspiration hits!

 

10. What advice do you have for other poets wanting to write for children?

Hopefully, they will have never lost their ‘inner child,’ the ability to see the world with eyes open wide and wondering.

Revisit the poets you loved as a child, back as far as favourite nursery rhymes. Think about why you loved them and how they got their message /story across to you. Start by challenging yourself with a limerick version of a nursery rhyme or a ballad form retelling of a fairytale or fable. Read what you write out loud to test the flow. Further test what you have written on children.  If they respond enthusiastically, [and not because they are your kids and know they better!] you have nailed it.

 

J.R.Poulter is a Multi-awarded writer /poet with 30+ traditionally published children’s and education books in Australia, UK, USA and Europe, a former senior educator, librarian, book reviewer, she once worked in a circus. Awards include Children’s Choice, New Zealand, Top Ten Children’s & YA Books, NZ, Premier’s Recommended Reading List, Australia, Simone Wood Award, USA. J.R. teaches poetry & prose and heads Word Wings collaborative, 50+ creatives from 20+ countries. As J.R.McRae, she is an awarded, internationally published poet, fiction / YA writer and artist. Works include novels Free Passage and Cats’ Eyes, Picturebook/YA crossovers Dream of the Fox Women, Tatter Wings and The Dolls’ House in the Forest. International anthologies containing her poetry, stories, art include – Colours of Refuge, Mytho, Musings, A Mosaic, Best of Vines Leaves, Trust and Treachery, 100 Stories for Queensland, Basics of Life, Quadrant Book of Poetry, 2000-2010, The Spirit of Poe, Poe-It and Guide to Sydney Rivers.

 

You can find out more about her works here:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/wordwings

www.wordwings.wix.com/publishing

https://www.facebook.com/WordWingsPublishing/

 

(Interview part of a series of blogs, Ten things about Poetry and Me, by June Perkins)

 

 

Poetry Prompt #16

Definitely will write something for this prompt!

Australian Children's Poetry

Welcome to the workaday week. Mondays come round quickly don’t they? After putting you in the mood for sunshine last week, moonlight seemed the most logical follow up. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you come up with…I’m sure there will be some wonderful submissions.

Thanks to everyone who has so enthusiastically embraced these weekly prompts. Your contributions to this site are much appreciated, so please keep them coming. Remember, if you’ve missed a prompt you can catch up later. And if you have other poems for children, feel free to submit them. They can be previously published as long as you retain the rights. Send submissions via email to teenawriter@gmail.com as a Word or Text document attachment and add a line or two about your writing process.

Happy writing!

Teena

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Poetry Prompt #15

Hmm I picked this prompt to work on this week. Something magical and fun happened.

Australian Children's Poetry

Hi everyone, what sort of images does the word Sunshine conjure up for you? Think yourself back to childhood and let your imagination roam freely. I’m really looking forward to seeing what wonderful poems you come up with … it’s always exciting to check my in box and read the latest submissions. A big thank you to everyone who’s been submitting regularly. Your support for this site is much appreciated.  Please keep your contributions coming in. Send poems to me at teenawriter@gmail.com as a Word or Text file attachment and add a few lines about your writing process.

Happy writing!

Teena

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10 Things About Poetry and Me: Andrea Gallagher

1.        What is your earliest memory of poetry?

My earliest memory of poetry was having a teacher introduce my class to Spike Milligan’s work in children’s books. He seemed incredibly fun.

 2.       When and why did you begin to write poetry for children?

I have worked as a professional writer for more than 15 years in the corporate  world and while this is a great career, I wasn’t finding it massively inspiring. I loved writing poetry and creative writing in all forms when I was young, but I went over to the very serious side of writing to make my living after school and that took a lot of fun out of it for quite a while.

So in 2013, I just started writing rhymes as a hobby to get my creative juices flowing after my very serious work days, and then the ideas for my two children’s books, Superstar Grandmas, and, Mega-rad Grandads, just took over.

3.       Do you think writing for children is the same or different as writing for adults (explain)?

I think it is absolutely different. I think that writing for every new audience is different if you are doing it with care. If you want to write for the enjoyment, understanding, or action of any audience you need to step into their shoes and write for them, with them specifically in mind – and I believe this is especially important when your audience are children. I like to get down low and think about the world as if I were still 7 years old. I’ll sometimes go back to places I lived back then to try to recapture those feelings and thoughts and then try to write for the little book-loving girl I once was (who still lives inside of the adult me).

4.       If you could be any poet in history who would you choose to be and why?

T.S Elliot, not because I hope to emulate the style, but simply because I read this poetry when I was a teenager and the thought of this work makes me feel connected to that time in my life.

5.       What are five words that describe your poetry?

 Vibrant, punchy, symmetrical, rhyming, childish.

6.       Share a few lines from one of the poems you have written that you are most proud of?

I wrote my first published poem when I was 11 and, although it’s simple and childish, it helped me tell the world what my very unusual experience of life was like (I was going through a battle with cancer and writing was a great outlet for a lot of confusion and grief). It makes me cringe a little but I’m still proud that I found any sort of positive way to express what was going on for me at such a dramatic time:

 

Wish so hard upon a star,

wish that you weren’t who you are.

Cry all night without a tear

to know the end may soon be near.

Hurt so bad it doesn’t show,

dream, but never let them grow.

Write, but never touch the paper,

not quite now but maybe later.

Think of days that may not come,

the coldest feelings leave me numb.

Carry on and value life,

but sickness cuts deep like a knife.

7.       What is your favourite form of poetry?

I like to write simple and very structured pieces that use rhyme, however I love to read long, meandering prose that uses strong visual elements to tell heartfelt stories. I hope to write like that when I grow up.   

8.       Have any of your poems been illustrated? If so what did you think of the illustration?

Yes – I love the bright and vibrant illustration of Superstar Grandmas and Mega-rad Grandads (created by artist, David Clare) because I think it matches the energy of the characters created with the four-line rhyme I used throughout.

 9.        Where is your best spot for writing poetry and why?

On planes – no real idea why that is but I do a lot of creative writing when I’m on planes. It may be about the movement between my regular life and going somewhere else.  I also wake up with poetic ideas some mornings – words coming out of dreams and sleep!

10.   What advice do you have for other poets wanting to write for children?

Be childish – remember what it is to feel like a child.

Want to know more about Andrea, head to these links.

www.andreagallagher.com.au

www.facebook.com/superstargrandmas

www.facebook.com/megaradgrandads

Read a Kids Book review of her latest book HERE

LAUNCHING MEGA RAD GRANDADS

After a bit of a wait, the Mega-rad Grandads book is almost here and (following the fun of the Superstar Grandmas book launch in December).

Mega-rad Grandads Community Book Launch

Sunday, 2-4pm, 23 April 2017

Grange Bowls Club

79 Sellheim St

Grange QLD 4051

Dave Clare’s art will be on display, and there will be games outside that everyone in the family can enjoy together.

RSVP to andrea@penelopeandpeter.com

Interviewed by June Perkins (part of an ongoing series on children’s poets)

River Song – Maipa Village Language

So special to have this poem read in my mother’s language.

Magic Fish Dreaming

Art work (c) Helene Magisson,

Cornelia reading ‘River Song’ in Maipa Village Language, Papua New Guinea

Be still little guardians
can you let me pass?
Let me swim in your river
or is it your looking glass?

Take the song of every river
you have heard in tunes.
Weave them all together,
make a ladder to the moon.

Oh, haven’t you heard
the new river songs,
telling you clearly to
make me belong?

Make your way to the stars
as you let me pass.
Let me swim in your river
become your looking glass.

(c) June Perkins (From Magic Fish Dreaming)

We shared this at the launch of Magic Fish Dreaming.

It would be special to have the whole book one day translated into my mother’s language and other languages like French because then Helene’s family and friends could read it in translation, although translating poetry can be very tricky.

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