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Verse Novels Add Verve To Reading

VERSE NOVELS add VERVE to READING


I recently had the pleasure of listening to Sally Murphy talk at the ALEA (Australian Literacy Educators Association) National Conference in Adelaide about verse novels. During what was an unfortunately brief presentation, Sally spoke of her passion for both writing and reading this increasingly popular genre.



So, what is a verse novel?
·A narrative told in verse

Verse novels are usually written in free verse, rather than rhyme

    They deal with diverse subject matter

They make use of line length variation


   They use white space to create emphasis and draw out words
   They use a range of poetic techniques

They vary in length

They employ rhythm

Frequently they appeal to inexperienced readers, particularly inexperienced boy readers

They also appeal to confident readers

They explore issues

They are accessible

The style of the writing creates an intimacy between narrator and reader


    Verse novels are part of the National Curriculum (Australia) making them a most rel…

Some Poetry Texts To Ponder- A List

Some Poetry Titles To Ponder
I share this list in no particular order. These titles are from my Poet's Suitcase.  I love them all...


The Hypnotiser, Michael Rosen Quick Let’s Get Out of Here, Michael Rosen Michael Rosen’s Big Book of Bad Things,  Michael Rosen Michael Rosen’s A to Z- The Best Children’s Poetry Selected by Michael Rosen Untangling Spaghetti, Steven Herrick Love That Dog, Sharon Creeech Unspun Socks From a Chicken’s Laundry, Spike Milligan Searching For Hen’s Teeth -Poetry From The Search Zone, Alan j Wright Tadpoles In The Torrens, Poems for young readers, Edited by Jude Aquilina Mongrel Doggerel, Elizabeth Honey The Important Book, Margaret Wise- Brown My Sister’s Hair, Sally Crabtree and Roberta Mathieson Fire, Jackie French The Dream of the Thylacine, Margaret Wild Beach House, Deanna Caswell Poems To Perform, Julia Donaldson Touch The Poem, Arnod Adoff and Lisa Desimini To This Day, Shane Koyczan You Wait Till I’m Older Than You, Michael Rosen The Death of the Hat, Poems Selected b…

Opposite Poems

Opposite Poems


In his book, 'How To Write Poetry,' Paul Janeczko presents the idea of opposite poems. Paul suggests they could also be referred to as antonym poems. This is wordplay and it's fun to try.

Here are some examples Paul provides to help us see very clearly how these short little poems work.

I think the opposite of chair
Is sitting down with nothing there

What is the opposite of kind?
A goat that butts you from behind

Paul Janeczko

You will  notice the poems are written in rhyming couplets. They can be extended so long as you remember to write in couplets. Paul shows us how this is done.

What is the opposite of new?
Stale gum that's hard to chew
A hot-dog roll as hard as rock
Or a soiled and smelly forgotten sock

You might notice that some of Paul's opposite Poems begin with a question. The remainder of the poem answer the question posed.

Opposite poems are a challenge, but it is a challenge worth trying. Not every thing has an opposite and not every word has an easy t…

The Box of Poetic Possibilities

Quite some ago I purchased an old wooden box from shop called Quirky Interiors. the shop specializes mainly in antiques pieces. The inside of the box was divided into eighteen compartments, equal in size.  I knew the box had potential for my writing, but I was not completely sure how I would use it. So I waited patiently for inspiration. 
Last week, the inspiration arrived!

I decided I would use the box to encourage brave young poets to explore poetic possibilities.

I labeled the box 'Poetic Possibilities.' Into each of the compartments I placed words and phrases I harvested and typed onto cards. The words selected were from poems previously published. 



Students were offered the challenge of selecting a card from the box. With that card, they were further challenged to use the word or words in a poem of their own creation. They could place the word or words anywhere within the poem- beginning, middle or end. They could also repeat the word/words. However, once chosen the selected c…

Metaphor and Simile

These wonderful literary elements are everywhere! While they possess the power to enhance your writing of poetry, It must be noted though that while they can add real power to your writing, they must be used effectively.
They can also read as somewhat ordinary if as writers and poets we use tired and familiar examples. The challenge is to use fresh and original ideas whenever possible. A good rule is to ask yourself, have I heard this before? If the answer is yes, then try to create one that has a more original feel.

Some writers actually collect metaphors and similes using the examples as a way of refining and expanding their relationship with words.

New Zealand writer, Terence Hodgson in his book, Eyes Like Butterflies presents a treasury of similes and metaphors taken from modern English literature. The images collected in his book are arranged by theme and subject. It provides a source of reference and inspiration for writers to add to their word knowledge. Here are a couple of examp…

In Search of the Poet's Heart Workshop Adelaide ALEA

Here is a link to the workshop I presented at the ALEA conference in Adelaide on July 10 2016. Hope it proves useful to those educators keen on growing brave poets in the classroom by being brave themselves. Alan
https://www.dropbox.com/s/8k19uqz3a0e7oat/In%20Search%20Of%20The%20Poet%27s%20Heart%20ALEA%20ADELAIDE%202016.ppt?dl=0