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Showing posts from 2017

Football Dreaming Poem

This poem is seasonally out of place. However, in its defence, it began during the recently completed football season in Australia. A time when football was very much in my thinking zone. I watched my football team win the coveted AFL Premiership after a drought of 37 long, and often painful years. 

Today the AFL Draft for 2017 will be conducted. A day when young footballers Australia wide wait to see if they will have their dreams realized and get to play in the national competition. So, the football connection is restored somewhat...

The words of the poem have taken time to reshape and fit into place. There have been numerous revisions.  It is a poem that owes its origins to a time and a place strongly linked to my childhood. I grew up in close proximity to the local football ground. Across the road, through the school-ground and I was there. It was a setting central to my childhood. 

Do you have strong memories that connect places and events in your life? Maybe they could form the foc…

The Challenge Of Rhyming Verse For The Inexperienced Poet

Poetry is an extremely flexible writing form. It is easily weaved into our writing programs across the year as opposed to just being pigeon holed into a specific unit of work. Poetry offers a unique response to literature -fiction or non fiction. Such is the flexible nature of poetry. 

From an early age children have much exposure to a significant amount of rhyming verse. That our classrooms are filled with poetry that is enjoyable to listen to, or fun to read is important, but it may not necessarily provide the best starting point for inexperienced poetry writers.

When used skilfully rhyme can add to the lyrical nature of poetry. When it is used out a sense of expectation, it frequently serves to detract from the poem's intention. It weakens the words overall. If you listen closely you can hear the words clunking into place. They just sound like they don't belong.

Don't get me wrong. I am not anti-rhyme. In fact, I have to guard against over using it. It is a natural inclina…

Where's The Children's Poetry Section?

I have been wandering into bookshops in search of poetry for most of my adult life. As an educator, I acquire poetry books to better position myself to teach poetry. As a poet, I need poetry books to deepen my understanding of how poetry works. I am constantly searching for poetry’s vital spark. I am committed to this quest. Poetry is my writing oxygen.
But sadly in so many of my poetry searches I have come away empty handed and somewhat disillusioned. In the vast majority of bookshops  you will not find a designated section for children’s poetry. When poetry titles are offered, they are more than likely classic rhyming verse and frequently sitting among the general collection of picture books. 


Little wonder kids only think of poetry as something that rhymes. They develop a narrow interpretation of poetry because that is what they are being fed.  Rarely do you find contemporary content. The landscape is barren and degraded. A smattering of imported poetry books appear on occasions, but…

A Tetractys Poem

Tetractys
Recently, fellow poet Kat Appel alerted me to the existence of Tetractys poems. I was intrigued. I like to explore poetry in many forms, so this presented as an exciting poetic prospect. I went in search of deeper knowledge...

Tetractys, is a poetic form invented by Ray Stebbing.  It consists of at least 5 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 syllables (total of 20). They can be written with more than one verse, but must follow suit with an inverted syllable count. Tetractys can also be reversed and written 10, 4, 3, 2, 1. This makes the Tetractys a most versatile form of poetry.

Double Tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1

Triple Tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 10

and on it goes...

Euclid, the mathematician of classical times, considered the number series 1, 2, 3, 4 to have mystical significance because its sum is 10, so he dignified it with a name of its own - Tetractys.

The challenge  of a Tetractys is to express a complete thought, profound or comic, witty or wise…

Image Poem

Image Poem

This poem owes its existence to Georgia Heard's idea of the six room image poem where six elements are addressed in the writing that follows:

Image
Light
Sound
Questions
Feelings
Repetition

The challenge is to expand our vision of selected images by attending to each element when writing. The idea is to spend time considering each of the six elements by thinking about them as rooms we must enter in order to think more deeply about our word choice.


The Grandfather Clock

The Grandfather clock
Stood tall like a palace guard
Marking time in Nana's lounge-room
Against the wall
Avoiding the sunlight streaming through lace curtained windows
Tick-tocking as the pendulum swung in its unerring arc
Brass and chains and moving arms 
Encased behind a long glass face
The clock announced the passing of each hour
With blare and boom
The rowdy ringing out
Chased the silence from the room
Why so loud? the small ones asked
Why so tall? the small ones wondered
They kept their distance
Time moved on relentlessl…

Spellbound by Poetry- The Lost Words, Robert MacFarlane

I am an unashamed collector of books and it is with great excitement I share my very latest poetic acquisition, The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane. 

MacFarlane is a proud logophile (me too) and this beautifully written and illustrated book( courtesy of Jackie Morris) is a book I highly recommend to everyone out there who loves the beauty and power of language. It serves to highlight the infinite treasure existing in the natural world. treasure we can curious learners to tap into with a sense of relish and delight.

It immediately conjures up multiple possibilities for teaching poetry, growing vocabulary and celebrating the wonders of the natural world we all inhabit. 

This is a book I will eagerly share with poets of all ages. This is a book to make a word lover's heart sing!

This is a big book in every respect. It was not an inexpensive purchase, but it presented as an investment I was more than happy to make given it's rare and  beautiful contents. As soon as I became aware of i…

Kyrielle POEM

A Kyrielle poem is structured so that all the lines have eight syllables and each stanza of four lines ends in a refrain. It takes on a rhythmical form very much like a rhyming couplet.


A Kyrielle poem is made up of 4 lined stanzas of eight syllables each. The capital letter (directly below) being the refrain:

aabB  
ccbB 
ddbB 
eebB

Here is my Kyrielle poem. It is springtime in Australia, so it seems appropriate to tap into the sensations of the season when looking for inspiration. Just like the Ottava Rima poem I wrote recently, Kyrielle poems require some thought and effort. I must admit I again enjoyed the challenge presented by the structure of the poem. Finding sufficient rhyming words that are also appropriate for the subject was a major consideration. So, my fellow poets are you up for the challenge?


Springtime Revelations

Finessing all the shrubbery
The gentle breeze washed over me
Scents and bouquets then arose
The earth reveals what winter knows

The morning air is light and warm
Dragonf…

Life Cycle -A football poem by Bruce Dawe

This poem by Australian poet Bruce Dawe epitomises the unique connection sporting tragics have to their preferred football teams, -an almost tribal allegiance. Each season supporters stare down the twin imposters- victory and defeat. They remain both loyal and hopeful of eventual triumph. This poem refers specifically to Australian Rules Football, but it's themes are universal.
I share this poem on the eve of the 2017 Grand Final to decide the Premiership for this football season. My team, the Richmond Tigers have reached the play off to decide the ultimate victor. They have not contested the Grand Final match for 35 years. My hopes fly with them. This poem links two of my great loves -football and poetry...

Life Cycle
When children are born in Victoria
they are wrapped in club-colours, laid in beribboned cots,
having already begun a lifetime’s barracking.
Carn, they cry, Carn … feebly at first
while parents playfully tussle with them
for possession of a rusk: Ah, he’s a little Tiger! (An…

Ottava Rima Poem

Today I've gone Italian with an Ottava Rima poem. An Ottava Rima is a poetic form made up of eight lines that rhyme. Each line consists of eleven syllables.The Ottava Rima in its current form was first created by the Italian poet, Giovanni Boccaccio. It is based on a poetic form then used in Sicily, incorporating an alternating rhyming scheme throughout its eight lines. The double rhyme in the last two verses was introduced later on.

An Ottava Rima poem is made up of an octave with the rhyme pattern:
ab
ab
ab
cc

This poem presented an interesting challenge, but then again a challenge is a good thing for a poet. I kept returning to it across a couple of weeks. 

Distancing myself from the words allowed me to return with a clearer vision about what my poem needed in order to settle. Sometimes making a poem is akin to working with Lego pieces. When the word arrangement works, you hear everything click into place. 

Some tinkering and line movement proved quite useful in the end. I would recomm…

When Poets Ponder -Wordplay Emerges

I recently presented a poetry workshop for teachers in Hobart. Kate Neasy was one of those who attended. Kate followed up by emailing me one of her poems last week. It was a wow moment...

Kate Neasy, a.k.a Kathryn Rae has written a poem that really resonates with me. It deserves sharing. Such a cleverly constructed poem.

They say the best books -and poems to read are those that make us think. Well, this poem certainly did that. Kate's poem ponders commonly used idiomatic terms and begins to pose questions regarding their accuracy. Kate has kindly granted me permission to share her words. It gives me pleasure to present them on Poetry Friday.

SO NOT

Blue whales are not blue
New Town is not so new
Gold fish are not gold,
A cold war is not really cold.

A granny flat may be used by teens,
A bean counter rarely handles beans,
A silverfish does not swim,
Happy hour is often rather grim.

Daylight robbery can occur overnight,
Surveillance may result in an oversight,
Laundered money is never clean,
Green…

'Cisco The Smelly Alley Cat' Read Aloud

To celebrate International Literacy Day, I decided to share a reading of a poem from my latest book, 'I Bet There's No Broccoli On The Moon.'
I trust you enjoy it. Poetry is even more fun when it's read aloud.





Click on the link below to hear the read aloud poem.


Cisco The Smelly Alley Cat
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzGyuRnfkgM


The Objects of Poetry

We can all write poems about objects, particularly those we value. You may be in possession of an object you cherish quite deeply, or simply find appealing. You may have an object given to you by a loved one. You may have an object which arouses curiosity or mystery. Something we call a curio. On occasions I have found myself writing odes to seemingly everyday objects.

Let's Consider Objects

Find an object of interest and place it in front of you. Now look at it closely. Bring all your senses into play and begin to focus on all its details. Check out your selected object from different distances and angles- close up with a magnifying glass, or from a distance.

Try speaking to your object. Ask it questions. I suggest you do this when you are on your own, otherwise people may begin to think you are a bit loopy. But do it. Think about what your object might say if it had a voice. What would it tell you?

Now, start gathering possible words:

Where did you find or receive the object?
Where di…