Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition is now launched!

The New Zealand Book Council and Poetry Box

are working together on the Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition.


Please include an Entry Form with your submission & please provide student details on each entry.

This competition is for school entries not individual entries.

All details are on the flyer! This year the entries are being sent to the Book Council not me.



Paula’s tip: A range of ages and poems will be to your advantage!


Catriona Ferguson, the Director of The NZ Book Council, and I will judge the entries.


Warm regards,







ANZAC Day Centenary on Poetry Box: a poem challenge for you


We are remembering:                  1  0  0     H u n d r e d  Y e a r s   A g o


This year is a huge and important remembrance of ANZAC Day.

War is a complicated and tough subject. If we start to think about what happened at Gallipoli, we might think about big things that are beyond our imagination. We can also think about little things.

We can read what men and women wrote about their experience, especially in letters home.

We can look at photographs. We can read the books that have been written in recent times.

Last year I posted about some fabulous ones here.



I invite you to send me an ANZAC Day poem you have written. Even as a class poem.


You might need to do a bit of research to write your poem.


You might explore one small thing in your poem that stands out for you.

You might use a bit of someone’s letter home.

You might try to stand in someone else’s shoes.


Your poem might show what it was like in the trenches.

It might explore the sounds of the trench war.

It might show what it was like for those left at home.


It might be like a photograph.

It might tell a little story.

It might be about a single thing like a pair of shoes or an overcoat.


ANZAC Day is also time to think about all wars and their cost.

It might ask a question.

It might be very short and very simple.


You might write it after you go to an ANZAC ceremony.


I would love to post a few of your poems on Friday 24th, Saturday 25th April. And maybe on the Monday.

Send to Include your name, year, age and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email.

PLEASE say it’s for the ANZAC-Poem challenge. Put in the subject line of the email please.

I will post my favourites and have a book prize for a poet (Year 0 to Year 8).



Term 2 on Poetry Box: a movie, a show and three challenges


Welcome back to Poetry Box. I hope your break was as lovely as mine. I went to Australia to go to a family wedding which was a special treat indeed.  Back home, I saw the movie Cinderella which I loved. My favourite line was when the mum told Cinderella that two very important things in life are kindness and courage. I so agree! And I saw Singing in the Rain with my daughter which was spectacular.

Here are a few challenges to kick start the term. Two big ones and one little one.



1. A poem challenge for this week:

Poems can have all kinds of moods just like we can have all kinds of moods.

Try writing a poem where something funny happens in it. It might be a little bit true as lots of mine are. Or totally made up. Use you ears to check the sound on each line. Where will you put the funny bit. At the start,  the middle or at the end as a surprise? All work!

Try three different endings then pick your favourite. Try three titles and pick your favourite.

DEADLINE for your Funny-Poem Challenge: Wednesday April 29th

Send to Include your name, year, age and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email. PLEASE say it’s for the Funny-Poem challenge.

I will post my favourites and have a book for a poet.


2. Interview challenge:

I am on the hunt for children and classes to interview NZ writers again this term. If you want  to do this you need to tell me the name of the author and why you want to interview them. You need to tell me your name, school, age, year and name of teacher, and if you are a whole class. I will  see if I can get the author to do the interview  with you.  I will have a prize pack of books for my favourite interview by a class and a book for my favourite interview by a student (up to Year 8).



3. Review challenge:

I am on the hunt for children and classes to review NZ books this year. If you want  to do this you need to tell me your details then I will tell you what to put in the review. You need to tell me your name, school, age, year and name of teacher and if you are a whole class. I will have a prize pack of books for my favourite interview by a class and a book for my favourite interview by a student (up to Year 8).



The Fourth fabulous Poetry Competition:

I am posting the details of this in the next few days!

An Ode to Autumn is a very fine thing

Ewen wrote a magnificent ode to autumn so I thought I would post it as we are now in the thick of this season. The mornings are crispy cold at the beach. The leaves are starting to fall. I love the sound of Ewen’s poem and the the way the images and the mood grows. Wonderful!

This is what Ewen said:

I wrote my ode about Autumn. The last and second to last lines rhyme, even though they didn’t need to but I thought they sounded better that way. I also read an ode  which was called Ode to Pablo’s Shoes. I liked how it sounded good when I read it out.

Ode to Autumn

From majestic trees
drop brown leaves,
the wind sweeping them
into nearby gutters.

Rain comes to visit
along with dark sky,
out from hibernation
and into their time.

The flowers of spring
limp and brown,
the sun of summer
chased far away,
the scarves of winter
not yet to be found,
but the leaves of Autumn,
are in abundance all ’round.

Ewen W aged 12, Year 8, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch

My favourite odes to things


So many poems about things. So many things coming to life in poems. Such  great detail. So many lines that sing in your ears.

Thank you so much for getting busy with poems about things. I loved reading them all but couldn’t post all my favourites. There so many! If you missed out this time do try my holiday challenges and all my Monday challenges next term.

I am sending a surprise book to William, Frances and Gryffin. Congratulations!



Ode to my teddy bear

I’ve had him

ever since I was born.

I sleep with him

every night.

He isn’t furry

any more

because I hugged

all the fur off him.

I called him teddy/ted.

He has cute outy ears

and little paddy hands.

Daisy,   Age: 8,  Ilam School



Ode To a Slide

Comes in all colours

And shapes,

Mostly found in playgrounds,

With all the swings

And other things,

Children climb my

Tarnished ladder

All the way to the top,

Then slide down joyfully

And do it all again,


They all leave me here,


By Fia R Age 9, West End School, Palmerston North




Ode to a Blackboard

Crisp black

in the manic classroom

having chalk

scraped across

its lifeless area,

just sitting there

staring at the students

next to the teacher,


kids take zero interest in me

because of the noise I make

if you dare to scratch me!


By Gryffin P, 10 years old in Y6 at West End School, Palmerston North


Ode to a Necklace

That necklace I wear
Under the moon
The way it gleams
Underneath my chin
Joy to that blinding glimmer
How it enchants that muddy old riverbank
to a mirror of light
And leaves patterns in the air
You can’t see them, but they’re there
Those hot summer roads
Become velvet pathways
Give praise to the necklace
That gives off that touch

Frances, 8 years, Ilam School


Ode to lunch box

When the bell rings

I only want you

My little red rectangle

I open you eagerly

Hoping for you to fill my taste buds

Thank you for your services

For the past five years

Will you come with me

For my two years at intermediate?

Thimeth, age 10, Ilam School, Christchurch


Ode to Hagley Park

Screen shot 2015-03-26 at 12.37.12 PM

Finlay, aged 8, Fendalton Open Air School, Christchurch


Ode to Swimming

I praise swimming

because of the way

the water moves

from one side

to the other.


Because of how cold

and how warm

and how deep the water gets.


The way flippers help

with kicking in the water

and how fast

they let you go.


The way the flippers bend automatically.

The way the water reflects your face

so you can see

how you look.

William S, Aged 7, Year 3, St Andrews School


I Love Ponies

I love the smell of fresh clean ponies when they snuggle up to you,
Ponies are my love.

I hear the soft whinny when they come to see what you are doing,
Ponies are my love.

When they make the wind blow through my hair, when they let you do whatever they want on them,
Ponies are my love.

Lily, Year 3, Aged 7, St Andrews School

‘The Paula Green Method’: Something for me to think about and some poems from Russley School

Melanie works with a writing group at Russley School in Christchurch and sent in some poems which I really loved. So  I am going to share them with you.

But first …

Melanie also sent me on a fascinating train of thought as she said she used what she calls ‘The Paula Green Method.’ Which was rather cool but got me wondering if I do have a set method.

I guess there are some key things at work when I do poetry workshops.

I want children to fall in love with language and play.

Sometimes it can be a bit daunting to write a poem cold so we often go on word hunts. Which is what they did. There is no one way to do this but helps build a word field to play in.

I also strongly believe poetry can ignite the most reluctant writer and set them on all manner of discovery paths. Important!

Poetry can also challenge a sophisticated writer to take new risks.

I am more inclined to open doorways and paths than have a set goal in mind. If the child has sparked that is gold.

One day I need to down and write up the method(s) to my poetry madness!

I love the sound of these poems and the glorious detail. They are surprising. They build pictures and they build mood. I love the way they have played with how the poem sits on the page (form) and the way the lines move. Wonderful job! I am honoured you used a bit of my method to get here.

Here are the poems:

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