Category Archives: Poetry

Poetry Box review: Bill Nagelkerke’s The Night the Moon Fell Down and other poems with an invite for a child interviewer

 

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Bill Nagelkerke, The Night the Moon Fell Down and other poems, Copy Press, 2019

HOT NEWS: I have a copy of Bill’s new book for one child who would like to interview Bill. See below if you want to put your name in the hat to be picked.

 

At night

 

At night I look up at the sky,

I see the moon and stars sweep by.

I take the universe to bed,

And keep it safe inside my head.

 

 

A former librarian, Bill Nagelkerke is a busy children’s author, publishing fiction for children of all ages, and translating children’s books from Dutch (including a number of Gecko titles such as the magnificent Wolf and Dog by Sylvia Vanden Heede). I discovered Bill’s poetry in the School Journal and was instantly attracted to his deft and playful use of words. I included his poems in A Treasury of NZ Poetry for Children and and am now delighted to see he has a debut children’s poetry collection out.

In 2013 Nagelkerke was awarded the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award in recognition of his dedicated contribution to children’s literature and literacy in New Zealand.

I was very happy to write a small blurb for Bill’s book so some of my words of praise are singing on the cover. I loved the way

 

in The Night the Moon Fell Down words fizz, lines glide, rhymes sizzle. You will find soccer balls, winter cats and concrete cakes; there are bottled stars adventure parks and elephant rocks. Bill Nagelkirke is a poetry wizard.

 

Looking at poetry on a screen is never the same as holding a book and seeing how the words and white space fit on the page with the illustrations. The images have personalities of their own just like poems; there are photographs, drawings, silhouettes, prints, things I can’t identify. They are dark and light and intriguing.

Why do I love Bill’s poetry? I love it because his poems dance with life, humour, imagination, stories. Sometimes they start with a simple idea – like switching on the light at night – and then produce an image that is warm in your mind. He is a wizard at this.

 

Switch

 

One quick flick

One sharp click

One small bulb of light

Scares away the big, dark night

 

Authors often get asked where they get their ideas from – I think poems have starting points, leaping pads – and it seems Bill’s come from both his own experience and his inventive mind. There is a poem about his dad (which may or may not be about his actual dad!) who loves making jokes by making puns (when a word has more than one meaning as in ‘kneads’ and ‘needs’). The poem’s last line makes me hope this is a little biography because it is tender link between father and son!

 

(My dad loves words as well.)

 

Bill can take a subject that a universe of poets have written poems about (think the rain, the stars, cats, rocks, leaves) and make the subject fresh. I picked his poem ‘Rain’ for the Treasury because the image sparks all my senses and the lines both surprise and delight me. I love the opening lines:

 

I like the straight-down

Silky rain

 

Some poems are puzzles. I mean they really are puzzles such as ‘A picture-puzzler poem’. This might be a new poem form. I want to give it a go! So inventive!

Some poems surprise, especially with similes and metaphors. I love the poem ‘Parcel’. Holland is a parcel that gets unwrapped every Christmas – Holland gets unwrapped! The parcel gets unwrapped as do memories. The gift calendar shows a snowy Dutch December but here in New Zealand things are different. I love the way this poem got me musing.

I also love the way one word sometimes chimes through a Bill-Nagelkerke poem like a musical note and then leaves you with a startling image.

 

Leaves

 

‘Wipe your shoes

Don’t leave

Leaves

All over the mat.’

 

The leaves in the forest

Are like that mat.

 

 

The arrival of a collection of poetry for children is a rare treat in Aotearoa and is an extra special treat when the book is by an author whose poetry you have long admired. I see this collection as a treasury in its own right.

You can dip in and find just the right poem for the day’s weather, for your mood, to spark you to write your own poems or to remind you how delicious words are. Some poems made me laugh, some poems made me sit still and savour an image, some poems made me thoughtful. Some poems made me look back at the world I am used to and see it in new lights. This is the joy and magic of poetry.

Yes Bill Nagelkerke is a poetry wizard and this book ought to be in every school library and the hands of every child who loves  poetry gymnasiums.

 

Bamboo

 

I wandered

In a forest of tall bamboo,

Bamboozled.

 

 

 

 

HOT NEWS: I have a copy of Bill’s new book for one child who would like to interview Bill.  I will pick one child to interview him and I will post the interview on my blog.

If you want to be picked send your name, year, age and school to paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Don’t forget to put Bill interview in email subject line.

Deadline: Thursday 17th October

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making up new Groovy Fish poems at the Dorothy Butler Children’s bookshop

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A very big thank you to Cuba Press, The Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop in Auckland and all the children, mums, nanas and other adults who came. A special thank you to the lovely Mary from the bookshop for writing down our poems when our words were whizzing fast!

You still get a chance to win a drawing if you send in a poem to my Groovy Fish challenge. All the names will go in the hat and I will pull out one or two. Plus I will give away a few Groovy Fish books.

These two launches have been really special – it felt like the bookshops filled with warm poetry glows and I took poetry glow home with me.

Thank you!

Here are some photos – and under that are some poems we made up together using titles from Groovy Fish.

 

 

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Thunder Monkey

Thunder’s in the sky

bang crack

boom crash

coupled with lightning blue

 

The monkeys are in the trees

swinging, revelling, trembling

in the storm

 

Thunder monkeys are lit up by lightning

thunder monkeys are super monkeys

and are fine in the storm

 

Lollipops and Chicken Pox

I have chicken pox

but I really like lollipops

 

I have measles

but I really like weasles

 

I have the flu

but I like the colour blue

 

I have a cold

but I make paper folds

 

I have diabetes

but I really like sweeties   (uh oh!)

 

But today I’m well

and I’m writing a poem

 

The Little Fish

The little fish lives

in a deep dark watery cave.

It’s as little as a pin

and black

and has an electric blue fin.

It makes a ginormous friend.

 

They play and splash

on a bright summer’s day.

 

The Biscuit Thief

Chocolate cream biscuits

sitting in a jar

on a picnic blanket

by a feast of cakes.

 

Ants take the cake

to their ant hill

but the ants are in cahoots

with the imperial cruisers

and the biscuits are lost in space.

 

Tap Dancing Fish

Glorious, blindingly beautiful

tap dancing fish

tappity tappity tap tap tap

 

jumping stomping leaping

in a disco fish bowl

right on top of the high cabinet

 

The fish jump so high

out of the bowl

kissing the ceiling

they land on the floor

crash bang wallop

and tap dance away

never to be seen again

 

What a fun day we had!

 

 

 

 

My new book – Groovy Fish celebration 2: an invitation to NZ children use one of my titles to write a poem

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Groovy Fish and other poems  The Cuba Press, out early July

 

 

When I did my Hot Spot Tour of NZ in 2014 I collected amazing titles for poems from children. It was such fun I am tempted to write another book getting titles from children! Oh and I LOVED doing the drawings.

I thought it would be cool to get YOU to write a poem using one of my TITLES from the book. So I am sending them back to you! See the contents pages below.

I will pick one poem per title to post at the end of JULY.

I will give away 2 of my drawings and 2 copies of the books – lucky dip style!

 

Deadline: July 26th

Include: your name, age, year, name of school

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Don’t forget to put GROOVY FISH CHALLENGE in the subject line so I don’t miss your email.

 

 

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h a v   f u n

h a v e   e x t r a    s p e c i a l   p o e t r y   f u n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A poem and drawing from Toitoi: and an invitation to submit new work

 

 

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I have been reading my way through the gorgeous new issue of Toitoi – a magazine that publishes writing and illustrations by children aged 13 and under.

Charlotte kindly gave me permission to publish this terrific poem by Lani (5) and equally terrific drawing by Lucy (9). The poetry is all so good – but so is everything else.  See if you can find a copy for your self and get inspired!

It is now time to send in more submissions so check out the details below.

 

 

Submit to Toitoi

Toitoi celebrates the ideas, imaginations and creative spirit of our young writers and artists. We publish material with an original and authentic voice that other young people can connect to and be inspired by and that reflects the cultures and experiences of life in New Zealand.

If you are a young New Zealand writer or artist and you are 5-13 years old, we would love to hear from you.

All submissions must be your own original work and be previously unpublished. If you would like to illustrate a story or poem, please photograph or scan two examples of your very best work and send them to us. You are welcome to submit your writing and art together and to make multiple submissions.

All submissions should be emailed to editor@toitoi.nz with your contact details.

For submission guidelines see here

 

Deadline: November 30th

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box audio spot: Adrienne Jansen’s wonderful ‘Next year’

 

 

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This wonderful poem is about Adrienne’s local diary owner and the way he was treated so badly. I love this poem so much. The poem is from All of us, a collection of poems around the themes of migration and refugees, by Adrienne Jansen and Carina Gallegos, to be published in October by Landing Press.

 

Adrienne Jansen has been listening to stories of newcomers to New Zealand, and writing those stories with them, most of her life. This poem, “Next year”, is one of those tiny stories. She lives in Titahi Bay, near Wellington, and writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

 

Check out the Poetry Box August challenge here

Poetry Box audio spot: Glenn Colquhoun reads his nursery rhyme

 

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Glenn reads and talks about: ‘A nursery rhyme for Barney Whiterats

 

Glenn Colquhoun is a poet and children’s writer. He works as a GP in Horowhenua.

 

Watch out for my August challenge inspired by this tomorrow.