Skip skip plop!
Skip skip skip plop!
Skip skip skip skip skip skip PLOP!
Clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap!\
Gemma Lovewell written at the age of 10
Gemma has joined in poetry challenges since I started Poetry Box. She is in Y8 at Adventure School in Wellington and will be graduating from the blog this year. I have loved reading Gemma’s poems – especially her playful use of words, her agile imagination and her attentiveness to the world about her. And I have seen how she works with other children. A few years ago I visited her school when I was on my Hot Spot Tour of New Zealand. She, her mum Robyn, and brother Daniel, had baked poetry biscuits and we ended up making poems with them (see photos below).
It has been such a pleasure getting to know Gemma through poetry. I will miss her – but I wish her all the best for her writing, reading and space adventures as a teenager and as an a adult. May her days gleam with poems! I am sending her a copy of 99 Ways into NZ Poetry to dip into over the coming years. Thank you so much for joining in and inspiring other children!
We have done an interview, we have hunted out some photos and she has picked some favourite poems that she has written – old and new. And I have added a surprise poem at the end.
Paula: You have been following Poetry Box for a long time. What did you like most about it?
Gemma: That there were so many different kinds of poems I got introduced to, and so many different ideas to write about. It really broadened my writing into a new genre that we didn’t used to do much at school.
Paula: Why do you like writing poems?
Gemma: They are so efficient! You can express yourself in less words. It’s less complicated than writing a story…but you are still kind of writing a story. Also my brother and I have fun making up poems together – we do it when we walk to school, or in the car, and we can usually remember them pretty well.
Paula: What were a couple of your favourite poetry challenges?
Gemma: I honestly can’t choose. I like them all because every challenge is different and makes you think just a little bit more. I have discovered I love writing Haiku though J
Paula: What was the hardest?
Gemma: Definitely the picture poems. It is so hard to get the words placed exactly right, and sometimes you have to change the words to fill the gaps. It takes ages to get it right!
Paula: Name some of your favourite poetry books.
Gemma: Macaroni Moon was my first favourite poetry book and so I think it will always be my favourite. I also like Spike Milligan’s Silly Verse for Kids and Animals because when mum reads the poems from that we all get the giggles. Another amazing one is Kwame Aleander’s The Crossover – it is a novel about basketball, but the whole thing is written in verse.
Paula: Oh cool, Crossover is my pile of books to read over summer. There is another one too – Rebound. What else do you like to read?
Gemma: Anything! Everything? I read A LOT – usually one book every night. I like fantasy best, and my favourite series is the Inheritance Series. I love reading any series because you get to know the characters. I also like to sneak my brother’s library books into my room and read whatever he is reading…
Paula: Do you have a top tip for young poets?
Gemma: My advice is always the same: Don’t think, just write! Because if you relax and just let the words fall out, you poems will be more genuine. You can do the thinking (fixing up) once you have the words on the page.
Paula: What else do you like to do in your spare time?
Gemma: Spare time? What’s that! I have a busy life. I am very in to sport – I play rep cricket and basketball, so there is a lot of training. I do scouts as well, and have lots of badges.
I also like horse riding and travelling with my family.
Paula: What sort of things do you hope to write in the future?
Gemma: I hope to write a diary, written from somewhere off earth (I plan to be an astronaut!). I would love to publish something “out of this world” J
Paula: I can see why! You had the amazing trip to NASA. What were some of your favourite poems you wrote for a challenge?
Gemma: I loved loads of my poems. Two of my favourites are ‘Skimming Stones’ – because it is so simple but I think it captures the moment exactly. The other is ‘Concrete Cat’ – this poem has become quite famous and been used as an example poem around the internet! Teachers in my school and other schools use it to teach picture poems, and that makes me proud.
(written aged 8)
Some poems from Gemma I have not seen before written aged 12 (unless I say)
The Lovewell Family
My Dad is the chief chippie eater, the terrible
Takeaway fiend and the private snack thief
He is the relentless singer of repetitive songs
He has more hair in his ears than on his head
My Mum is the famous family taxi driver, the maker of
Nutricious deliciousness and the unbelievable lover of veggies
She is the bossy one always making sure all hands are on deck
Our captain of the great ship LOVEWELL
My brother is the unstoppable behind your back fighter and
the sneaky puncher, the follower-rounder and snitch
He is the unfathomable mixer of foods and drinks
His favourite name involves maths
My cat is the unrelenting food beggar, queen of the couch
and the only creature chased by butterflies
She is the killer of vets and her eyes are just as big as her stomach
Her belly moves more than she does
My family works together and sails together through the storms
A Spaced out Sonnet
I was born to be an astronaut girl
Going to galaxies far far away
To do so I must let my wings unfurl
Not wasting life picking pieces of hay
I won’t laze around on couches all night
Instead I must study my science and math
I shall work hard to keep my goal in sight
If I don’t get there you will face my wrath
When I look down from my home up in space
I’ll think of the loved ones I left behind
I’ll see the earth’s stunning beautiful face
That is the journey I’ve set out to find
As I’m part of the Mars Generation
I think I’ll thrive on earth separation
Rain Falls over the snow covered Mountains
And flows to the fresh water stream below
War is happening below
If you survive your family cries out with love
Birds catch and search for worms below the trees
In the sea below, sea creatures roam free.
(written in workshop with Apirana Taylor at the age of 7)
The moon is a silver marble
Rolled out trying to catch the earth
But not quite reaching
It is a boy’s silver coin
Dropped into the drain’s
Deep cloak of darkness
Moon is the forgotten marvel
An untouched dusty surface
Except by a dozen men
Who dared to disturb the peace
It is the friendly face
That you see every night
The calloused face
Trusted for centuries
Drop of water falls
Followed by a raging flood
Bitter taste of salt
Gemma at NASA Space Camp
The biscuit poem project at Adventure School
When I went on my Hot Spot Poetry Tour I visited so many schools and did events in so many places collecting titles for a new book of poems for children. I have finihed the poems and have almost finished the drawings (yes! drawings!) This is the title Gemma gave me at Porirua Library – she can have a sneak preview of my poem.
Eat Your Words
Verbs are salty
nouns are sour
adjectives are crunchy
adverbs are crisp
The alphabet tastes like pumpkin soup
the letter p tastes like passionfruit
the letter d tastes like donuts
the letter c tastes like pie crusts
You can roast s
you can toast b
you can butter f
you can bake t
Flip sentences like pancakes
dress with cinnamon and sugar
then gobble in a flash
©Paula Green 2018