Category Archives: Poetry

Children write from the Earthquake: ‘Enormes Shaks!’

The other day I invited children experiencing quake shudders in New Zealand to write some poems. I have posted the invitation below in case you are in the mood to write. I will be sending out some comfort book packs.


Franka wrote this almost-acrostic poem the morning after the earthquake. She goes to Newtown School in Wellington and is six. Her mum wrote the version under it.

Enormes Shaks!

Enormes Shaks!
Ratl the wendos
Todles are shaking
Hot fies berning out
Chilgrin in bed awak
Anamls are fritid
Kitty croching low
Shated glas ol ova walitin
Intresting stores on the nwse
No! It’s to shaky.
Lowahat is in danga.
O how scry
Repd blbings ant sath!

by Franka Moleta, 14 November 2016

Enormous Shakes!
Rattle the windows
Toddlers are shaking
Hot fires burning out
Children in bed awake
Animals are frightened
Kitty crouching low
Shattered glass all over Wellington
Interesting stories on the news
No! It’s too shaky
Lower Hutt is in danger.
Oh, how scary
Ripped buildings aren’t safe.





Writing from the Earthquake

You might write about the sounds, what moved, what it reminded you of. You might write about something good that happened like I did (see below). You might try writing a really really small poem or a longer poem with lots of details.

You might want to write about something else to take your mind off things like shudders and storms.

send to Include name age year school. I will have The Letterbox Cat for some children and a comfort packs  of books for others (books are comforting too!). I will post some on NOW ON and during the following weeks.

Poetry Box – some of my favourite story poems

My story-poem challenge was so popular because I have spent hours reading though all my poem mail.  Thank you!

I loved the way your stories made me laugh, surprised me and sometimes made me a bit sad.

That is what poems can do.

I picked poems that told stories.

Sometimes there were very good poems that I loved but the subject was too strong or old for my blog. You need to remember that 5-year-olds read this blog!


I am sending a copy of The Letterbox Cat to a class entry this time: Mr Duncan‘s seven-year-olds at Seven Oaks School.

I am also sending a copy of The Letterbox Cat to Daniel from Fendalton School.


Congratulations if I picked your poem to share but remember every poem was a joy to get.

Do try my new challenge tomorrow.


Pickle cat goes to the Olympics

As Pickle cat woke up bright,
He got a large giant fright!
It was the day of many events,
“The Olympics!” he said. “Where are my tents?”
And when he found his camping gear,
He brushed and combed and tidied his hair.
And he set off in his car,
Which he called Avatar.
He arrived and he got into his running shoes,
He was certain he wouldn’t lose.
And when his race came he sprinted to the start,
Just quick enough to miss being hit by a dart.
3,2,1! Said the starter,
And he sprinted but people shouted re start her!
He sprinted across the finish line,
The gold medal is all mine!
But Pickle cat only got silver,
He was beaten by a cat called Builder!
“Wait wait, we have made a mistake!
The first place winner was that cat by the lake!”
And Pickle cat glanced up,
To see the starter handing him the golden cup!
“Oh, my luck!”
Exclaimed Pickle cat.” I thought I would be stuck!”
So Pickle cat drove home,
To where he could roam,
Without have pressure on his head,
So Pickle cat hopped into bed
He read the daily news paper,
With a massive heading The Great Olympics Muddle Up Caper
With a sigh he fell asleep,
As the newspaper dropped at his feet.

Scarlett, Y4, age 8, Chelsea Primary School




Her old cottage,
sits cold and still.
I stare through
the fogged up window.
Grandma is lying
on the hard aged couch .
My family sits
around her with
red puffy eyes.
A loud rumble
coming from under
her house.
Grandma sits up
and says goodbye.
She had a grateful heart.

Maddie S Year 8  12 years old Selwyn House School


Ski Day

Get up before the sun

Hop in the car

The mountains seem so far.


On the magic carpet

Up the hill we go

Then down the hill we go.


Time to go now

Hop back in the car

Now the mountains aren’t so far.

 By Isla Neale Age 7 Seven Oaks School


The saucepan man

The saucepan man
Has a clatter of pans
So when you see him
He will clatter and bang

The saucepan man
Has a clatter of pans
So when you see him
He’ll have his hands on his pans
And his pans on his hands

He hears things wrong
So he sings a funny song
“Two bees for a flower,
Two streets for a town.
Two showers for an hour.
Hi diddely gown.”
And that is the saucepan man!

Nell M Y4, age 8, Home school through Alpha. ‘I wrote a poem about my favorite character – the Saucepan Man from The Faraway Tree – it tells a story about how he likes pans and is a little bit deaf and sings funny songs.’


The Cat

The cat, the cat
It spits and spats.
Beware she’s a dangerous cat,
She spits and spats.
The cat sees a mouse in the middle of the kitchen floor.
She caught it, ate it and spits and spats

Teresa is a Year 3 student at St Andrews College, Christchurch



The Bread that Talked

I was having breakfast
And I buttered the bread.
I heard a voice.
What was that?
I realised it was the bread!!
It magically made me a king
With a bread
Suddenly my friend came
And said to me “My Lord”
And I was happy.

Soeren W Ilam School 7 years old


My Brother’s Tournament

Next weekend

Packing already

So excited


Let’s go now

We will miss you

I hope I don’t have to kiss you


I wish him luck

I love you

So much

By Emily Murray Age 8 Seven Oaks School


The Netball Game

Arrived at the courts
Puddles three inches deep
Seven minutes until we start
How are we going to warm up?
Shivering like an ice cube
Started now
Worst game
Numb body
Saturated from bottom to top
Everything gone dark
Fuse broken
Didn’t get to finish
Cut short

Alexis 9 years Year 4 Stanmore Bay School                       



Tomorrow  is Today

We know that tomorrow
Is always just today
from the sleeping on the ground
to the moping around
Our lives will never change
They will always stay the same

But there’s me and there’s you
And together we will make it through
From the illness
To the stillness of our lives
Sometimes it seems a little scary
And how you’re always really weary

You struggle to eat food
But I try to improve your mood
People in our shoes
have nothing to lose
And we will always have a say
In what will be our day

Except for the way
We survive and live
People are always willing to forgive
But not to give
No not what we need most
Not even like a piece of toast

But there’s me and there’s you
And we know that even if
Tomorrow will always just be
the same as today
We will always try
to make it our way

Amber J 12 years old Northcross Intermediate


Going to the Movies

Get in line

Smell the butter

What are we going to watch?


Say your choices

What seat are we sitting on?

Screen bigger then a jumbo jet


The movies are fun

I want to go again

Such an awesome treat


By Cooper Bunting Age 7 Seven Oaks School


Who Knows?

On the Way to School

Frost tickles the grass

Like little chunks of diamond

Maybe it is,

Who knows?


On the Way to School

Jaky’s little brother

Sticks his head out

Of their car

A mischievous grin

Scrawled on his face

As if he was

Devising an evil plan

Maybe he is,

Who knows?


On the Way to School

A boy with a

Bright blue backpack

Trots his way to school


Like a pony

Maybe he is one,

Who knows?


On the Way to School

Laughter fills the pathways

As if a clown was parading

Down the street

Maybe one is

Who knows?


On the Way Home

From school

The smell of baking

Wafts out of the house

Like cake

I bet it is cake

Trust me, I know!


Jasmine L 10 years old Year 5 Gladstone Primary School




One day I went to the river.

I found a piece of gladwrap and an old toy car.

I found a snail shell and two broken kites.

That night I wondered if I could find a seagull shell.

The next day I went to the river and found a seagull shell.

I noticed anything is possible if you BELIEVE!

By Daniel W Age 8 School Fendalton Open-Air school




Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 8.40.21 AM.png

Sarah-Kate S, Age 11, Year 7, homeschooled

My poetry presentation for IBBY International Congress 2016





To celebrate National Poetry Day I am posting this. It was an interactive presentation and we made up a beach poem that had us all laughing. Joy Cowley said it filled her with a warm kind of glow. Maybe we should be making up poems together on Poetry Day to head off into the day with warm inner glows (especially as the forecast is for rain).

H a p p y  P o e t r y   D a y !





Josephine likes lyric poetry


Josephine likes the way a poet will pull in a bird or

a ladder or an old coat and the bird and the ladder and

the old coat will tremble and shiver and ebb and flow

just like the sea so you will fall upon the fullness of each

and it will make you shift on your chair and almost stop



This poem is from my new collection, New York Pock Pocket, a book that is as much about my travels in poetry as it is NYC. Poetry is music. It is encyclopedic. It is telling stories. It is leaving gaps. It is home, it is not home. It is pulling at the moon and digging dirt channels. Poetry is counting buttons, making patterns, feeling cold, letting the kite go free. There are no rules. There are no rules that cannot be broken. Poetry is the squelchy, shiny, rough edged, smooth piped, whizzwhirl, slow curve, exhilarating playground.

Children love it.

I love it.

I am the little girl on the stair reciting AA Milne to her siblings

Begin with the ear. Begin by listening because poetry is music. Each word a musical note that strikes so sweetly in its melody along the line. A poem, a book, an audience, and the poet begins with the ear to pull the listener in closer. Ask a child what a poem is and they will always say rhyme. A poem is rhyme and that rhyme is a source of both comfort and delight.  Rhyme makes your body move. It might be Dr Seuss rhyme where the goat in the boat can’t float because she wears an extra coat.

Or near-miss rhyme where the goat in the boat can’t hope to float because her chauffer and swimming coach are making cheese toasties.


The poet lays down rhyme on the end of the line like a plummeting waterfall, spray flying, or hides rhyme, salt and pepper style, throughout the poem.


Which Jack?


A Jack in the box

a Jack in his socks

a Jack in the moon

a Jack in tune

a Jack on the grass

a Jack’s gone past

a Jack on a camel

a Jack and his flannel

a Jack climbing rocks

a Jack in a box.


What happens when the rhyme is outside the poem and the children have to go hunting with their ears?




Where the Mild Things Are!


Last night I heard the wind in the meadows

talking to the lion in the willows

about Captain Holeypants

and the Lord of the Rungs.

The wind said he had found

a chamber of sea crates,

a very hungry cat

the caterpillar in the hat

and Georgia’s marbley medicine.

The lion said she had found

elastic Mr. Fox, an iron

an itch and a bathrobe,

and a series of fortunate events

over the pea and under bones.




I am fond of the word moon. I am fond of moon poems. The poet is always looking for an electrical connection when she places this word next to that word. Poems don’t have to rhyme. We know that. The aural spark is like a sizzle, a cackle, a whisper, a crackle, a wind bent pine in the ear. If I am with an audience of children, we are going to make poems on the spot so that the child becomes poet and itches to pick up a book or a pen and make words sing.


Find me a word that sparks with moon.      ___________ moon

Find me two words that spark with moon.


We are making chords and the musical note is the word and the word as sound makes your ankles twitch and your back wriggle and soon we will all be shuffling in time to the moon.



Poets like to repeat themselves. The comfort of repetition is a way of laying down anchors, a way of remembering, a way of building and then switching like a dart to make a change. Children love this. The way you can surprise yourself when you repeat your self.


When I Am Cold


When I am cold

I get goose bumps.


When I am very cold

I get tiger bumps.


When I am very very cold

I get rhinoceros bumps.


When I am very very very cold

I get elephant bumps.


When I am very very very very cold

I get whale bumps.


When I am very very very very very cold

I drink hot chocolate and wear thick socks.



Poets like taking walks when they write and sometimes the rhythm is di da di da di da di da di da di da but there are no rules and we don’t need to adhere to iambic pentameter because when we walk we might stop and stare or race to get to the oak tree or leap over the mud puddle or drop our sunglasses in the long spindly grass. When I am walking or running on the beach in the morning I sometimes stop and gaze at the Tasman sea. I might see a sleek black seal or a white cap sneezing.


Children start playing with syllables and the rhythm of the line dances and cavorts.


Think of the wind. Find one syllable words to go with the wind.

Think of the wind again but use words with longer syllables


Think of the wind for one last time and mix up one syllable words with longer words.


If I am mixing up rhyme and rhythm and repetition, I also like mixing up things. The ear always goes hand in hand with the eye.


The Bonnet Macaque: An Omnivore


What does the bonnet macaque

keep in her cheek pocket?

Does she store the rocky shore

a dining-room table and the horse’s stable

comic books and clucking chooks

basket balls and outlandish fools

DVDs and TVs

snowboards and Aunt Maude

lollipops and circus flops

snorkelling gear and a grizzly bear

sharp scooters and football hooters?


There’s no couch in her cheek pouch

for in her larder for a starter

she hoards a one stop shop —

luscious food for every mood.



Poets have an inbuilt telescope, microscope, set of binoculars because they are looking through windows and doors, real or imagined, stretching necks to reach tree tops or slithering chins along dusty tracks to see how ants move. Something catches the eye and we are off. Something catches the child’s eye and he or she is off. I can tell the story of my dog that needs swimming lessons every time we go to the beach and the way she can swim like a fish. Her black tail flicking. Her little paws gliding. Every morning she is the churning chunking concrete mixer.  Until she gets that swimming lesson. The child can picture my dog and laugh.

Your eye catches something and it can lead anywhere. It makes you feel something, think, discover, recognise. When you write from that physical detail, it is as though you hold a stethoscope to the world. You hear the heartbeat of the leaf or the balloon or the dripping ice cream and you just need to write. Like when I stood in from of a pair of boots at the immigration Centre on Ellis Island in New York.



The little boots


To see the little brown boots

—scuffed at the toes

from kicking stones

and falling over,

with soft red lining

and laces left long ago

goodness knows where,

oh dear empty boots—

is to fall into the hollow

your child’s head once left

on the pillow

as she dreamt of

secret things, and to fall

yet again, deeper still

into the mysterious hollow

of her adolescence,

with the moon overhead.



Your eye catches something and your imagination goes sailing. Children love that. Your eye catches something and it feels very ordinary like the red tractor in the yellow field with black birds squawking. Or the cold blue sea rushing through your toes. Children love that. The physical detail pulls you into what is comfortable and familiar and loved and when you put it in a poem it seems shiny and new. Then again the physical detail lets you leapfrog into daydream so that the cold blue sea curls like ivy up your cold blue legs. The cold blue sea writes a letter to the cold blue moon in the wet sand. Or the red tractor is so hungry it eats a mountain of nails and a river of tin cans and a glacier of cooking oil.

This could be story, poems love story, but I am saying it is a poem.

After rhyme children love similes and they are the kings and queens of finding good ones. A good simile is like a little flare in a poem— a bright light that gives the poem life. It flips the shoe so you see it in all its orange beauty. It somersaults the sun in all its raging heat. It skyrockets the cat in its breathtaking leap.




A Slow Sky Tonight


The clouds are moving

across the sky like tiny snails,

the trees whisper tiny secrets

that nobody can hear

and a pink light lights up

the faraway hills.

Dinner is nearly ready.



Let’s have a go. Let’s make up a poem on the spot.

Let’s say we are at the beach. Let’s say we are standing on the sand dunes looking at the beach. What will we see? Excuse the pun.


Three words at least one thing

Five words at least two things

Four words at least two things

Two words

Three words at least one verb

Three words at least one verb

Four words at least one thing

Three words



A last poem.


The Statue of Liberty

She pauses and lets her imagination go

because she is standing under the Statue of Liberty

next to a leaf that flutters.


Is it a religious experience, to pause

with your imagination drifting and count

your freedoms and notfreedoms?

The freedom to work and the notfreedom

to work, the freedom to love and

the notfreedom to love.


There, the little leaf is on the boy’s shoe.

He doesn’t move an inch, even when his

mother calls and calls. ‘Dance little leaf

dance,’ he whispers.


Two sisters stand in different poses smile

and wait for their photograph to be taken.



‘What if I were that person in the bright green suit

or this person slumped in the shade

of that person talking like a megaphone?’

Josephine whispers.



The poems are all mine and either from my NY book, or  The Letterbox Cat or the anthology I edited A Treasury of NZ Poetry for Children.



Inside the Wild

Te Henga, December 2013



You see the grey clouds kiss and the ocean

go flying, the grey-cloud eiderdown and the metallic wild.

The old man bends forty-five degrees


into the west-coast wind, his golden Labrador

falling behind. A dotterel puffs out

to block your path. It stamps and trembles.


Then there is the abandoned umbrella splayed

liked piano fingers. The washed–up crate from Moana Fisheries.

Broken bottles. Even that. The black sand glint


and the cotton frocks that shimmy. A mad tui tries to devour a sparrow.

Kishawk. Kishawk. You are dazzled by the gull’s slow landing

and the knee-high foam. This is morning.


The grey ocean twists and the southerly slaps, and amidst

the rockaby collisions, you fall upon a blissful quiet.


Poetry Box July challenge: move p o e m move!

Special note: I won’t open any attachments or links if you don’t include your details of name and school etc. I keep getting poems like sent like this but I don’t want to risk a virus. Put the poem challenge title in the subject line.


p o  e   m    s           Ca N           M      o         V       e


This month I am giving two challenges. One for younger children and one for older children but you can do either or both! This is a challenge about movement as I love the way poems move!

Movement in a poem can make a poem spark or kick or jiggle.


A challenge for younger children (or older!):


Write a poem about something that moves.

Hunt for good verbs before you start writing.

Verbs will be the gold nuggets in your poem.

Listen to your poem when you read it aloud

The number of words you put on the line will change the way the poem moves!



A challenge for older children (or younger!):


Write a poem that changes in some way.

Perhaps the rhythm changes.

Or how you see something.

Or what happens to something or someone.

A change in a poem can be a surprise.

It might change the mood of a poem.

Don’t forget to use your ears and listen to the flow.

Don’t forget to use strong detail.

Real detail helps your poem glow.

Collect strong detail (nouns, verbs, adjectives) before you start writing.


An Extra challenge:

Try making a picture poem that shows movement!


SEND your poem to

DEADLINE Thursday July 28th

Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

P l e a s e    p u t   ‘Movement poem’ in the subject line of your email.

I will pick some favourites to post on the blog and have a book for at least one reader and maybe even a book for a class.

I will post on Sunday July 31st.

these are some of my favourite THING poems

The Violin by Lachlan Hunter age 9.jpg

Lachlan age 9 Year 5 Russley School


Thank you for sending in poems about things. I loved reading them all and they were all so different. I had to take screen shots of some to keep the layout.

I HAD SO MANY to read. Wow! This was a very popular challenge.

I loved the flow of words in  Phoebe‘s poem and the little bits of repetition. This is a poem that sounds very good. It is surprising. I loved the mood and sounds of the lines in Emily‘s poem and the words in Zoe G‘s move like a bow. I love the way Xanthe‘s poem looks like the bristles of a toothbrush and Lachlan‘s looks like a violin. I love the pattern in Hannah‘s poem, the time-capsule idea in Laura‘s poem and the Lily‘s skinny poem.

I love the way Daisy-Jane becomes a piano!

Finley, Liam and Grace keep their things secret in their poems so we can guess what it is. Very imaginative. Loved all poems from this class but could only pick a few.

Polina‘s poem had such a strong mood, Charlotte used such warm doggy detail, Anika imagined so beautifully and what a terrific bunch of poems from Russley School. Such magnificent detail. Such great sounds as I read each line. I like the way you made some of them into pictures. I loved the way students at Waverley Park School collaborated using both imagination and ears hard at work.These poems flowed beautifully and hooked my attention.

Every poem deserved a spot on here, but I could only pick a few.

Keep up the great writing! Wow!

Please don’t be disappointed if I didn’t pick you this time  – I can tell you all loved writing these.

Give my July challenge a go.

I am sending Phoebe a copy of The Letterbox Cat.



Soft fur

squeaky and snuggly

it came from my great grandma.

It is a toy panda


I sleep with it all the time.

When I cuddle with it

I think of her.

by Michaela E, age 7 yrs, Russley School



A Rag Doll

A rag doll,
sitting on the bed,
watching everything
like a crow over corn.

A rag doll,
sitting by the light
of the glowing lantern,
as orange as a
fire beam.

A rag doll,
cuddled up in bed
when the
light turns off.

Phoebe D, Age 9, Fendalton Open Air School



On the wall
protecting my memory
with a layer of glass.
Reminding me
of the good times we had.
It reminds me of her warm hugs
on a cold winter’s night,
and my mum’s warm breath on my neck
The faces in the picture beaming out at me.
The cracked glass distorts the photo.
The frayed corners
the only hint of age

Polina C Age: 11  Year 7  Selwyn House School




Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 9.49.07 AM.png

Rain Drop

A raindrop falls
down down down landing on the tip of a frog’s toe
Hopping all about the frog dances
All around jumping and diving
In the puddles Looking at the swamp
That surrounds him
Then he leaps away
Landing where he once lay.

Emily L  Selwyn House School  12 years old



Ice cream,
Piped up high,

A princesses dress,
Finished with bows,

Light catching the point,

Roasted over the fire,

Dissolving in your mouth,

Poised on one leg,

Shining in the sun,


The colour of love.

Hannah Age 12, Year 7, Selwyn House School


The Notebook

She spills her heart and soul into its pages
Ink dapples the paper
But it is not ink to her
It is her memories and her joys
Her fears and her dreams
Her secrets and her sorrows
One day she will look back on it and remember
Until that day it is a time capsule
Waiting to be opened.

 Laura D 10 years old Year 6 at Stanmore Bay School


Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 10.13.27 AM.png

Lily, aged 10, Year 6, Fendalton Open Air School


It just sits there waiting
Jaws closed, saliva ready
Eyes set on the brown portal
That releases new prey.

Suddenly the jaws open
Showing the deepness of its throat
And as the liquid drops into his its throat
The roar sends it down.

Finley B (11)- (The toilet) St Martins School, Christchurch



Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 8.59.05 PM.png

It hangs there, lifeless
A dark mass of material
Surrounded by darkness
The door creaks open.

Her fingers reach out
Grasping it
Placing it upon her shoulders.

Grace O (10) (The coat) Year 6 St Martins School


Treasure Box

It holds a land of gold and comfort
A smell of roses and lavender
A wish book
ten for each person

Everyone you meet has this something special
So some can fly
some may sit clouds
Some may heal or have X-Ray vision
That’s what I know
I have been there

Anika B age 8 Year 4 St Andrews Prep School



He sticks to his loved ones.
He leaves a bit of himself with them.
A headless horseman
Twisting his saddlebag,
Kicking its spurs to grow faster.
Sleek and smooth
His horse is.

Liam G (9) Year 5 St Martins School (A glue stick)



Long, sharp, white teeth as pointy as a pin.

Long, fluffy, warm inky black fur with round patches of blond fur.

Pointy ears like a cone and as fluffy as a Minky blanket.

A deep, loud bark that travels around the neighbourhood.

A canine, my best friend. Gracie.

By Charlotte M 7 years old Year 3 Homeschool


Cell Phone

I hear my sister’s alarm

clicking and ticking

The ring tone vibrating crazily

like a mad dog.

She plays annoying songs and

I turn into the Hulk.

by Zion S, 8 years old, Russley School



Rusty red guitar,

found in my Dad’s garage.

The strings, the smell of an

old bronze medal.

The frets, the colour of hot, burnt toast.

It reminds me, of my Papa playing with it.

The funky rhythms, the beautiful tunes,

old school lyrics and Nana singing along.

By Taralina L year 7, age 12, Russley School

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 9.43.06 AM.png

Gloomy Piano

I sit here all day…

Waiting for Beethoven

Lily comes in and slams my tongue down on my chin

She clunks with her elbows again and again and

again and again on my freshly moisturised face

I screech an F sharp!

By Daisy-Jane       Year 7           Age 11


The Skate That Rolled

A once special human

Fought in the war

Wearing a blue top

With red, yellow and white stripes

His feet moved like wheels

So fast, so smooth

His arms were like toothpicks

Thin and narrow

He was wrapped in love

Tied up

He is gone

He never existed

He was the

Skate that rolled

By Zoe (11) and Anna (10) Waverley Park School, Invercargill Room 11


Thrashed around in the stormy sea
Dented lid
Rust covered
Scratched paint
Padlock broken
Golden metal handles
Cracked inside
Beaten by colossal waves
Washed up on the sandy sea shore
Rust covered
Treasure chest

By Seryn (10) Priscilla (9) Annabelle (10) Amber (9) Waverley Park School
Room 11


Final Piece

Building with my fingers

hands sliding over

the dimpled lego bricks

hands fumbling through

the instructions

trying to turn the page

breathing becomes heavy as

the final piece falls into place

Lego house.

Joe D (10) Waverley Park School Room 11



Poetry Box April Blog: Poetry is Sound

What a wonderfully busy month March was. I made a start on my big new book by spending a few days in a research library in Wellington. It was so amazing holding the letters of a poet who was born over a hundred years ago. It reminded me of how much I love exploring and finding out things.

Today I am off to Napier to help celebrate our new NZ Poet Laureate – CK Stead. I will be staying on a marae for two nights so I am very excited. I get to go out for pizza one night before reading my poems with the other poets.

And I will be getting my new collection of poems for adults ready. It comes out late May I think. It is called New York Pocket Book.


This month I thought you could explore ways to make a poem sound good. I love reading my poems out loud and I always want them to sound good.

I think writing a poem is a bit like making music.

This month you can send me a poem that sounds good when you read it out loud. This doesn’t mean it is a poem about sound. It means you listen to every line as you write.


My sound tips:

Play with how many words on a line. That changes the sound of your poem.

Play with long words and short words.

Hide rhyme in your poem.

Use words that almost rhyme.

Use words that sound delicious in pairs or triplets.

Put the words in surprising orders.

Listen to the rhythm of your lines. How can you change it?

Will you have verses?

Make sound patterns of words in a poem.


SEND your poem to

DEADLINE April 27th

Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

PUT sound poem in the subject line of your email.

I will pick some favourites to post on the blog and have a book for at least one reader.

I will post on April 29th.


Happy poem days

from Paula x