Russley School hosted the Christchurch event of The Hot Spot Poetry Tour of NZ at their school. Many of their children performed in the programme. The whole event was glorious but so good to see their students on video. The event finished with their fabulous rendition of Apirana Taylor’s poem, ‘haka.’ You can watch the performance here.
Daniel read with me at Te Papa as part of my Hot Spot Poetry Tour. He was nervous before he started, but he was really, really glad he did, at the end. He read very well indeed. He sent this new poem in for my highlight-of-the-year challenge but I wanted to post it now because I think it is tremendous. It was a great occasion. And Daniel catches it beautifully.
A great audience and lots of authors, schools, teachers, librarians and children turned up to celebrate children’s poetry and my two new books at the National Library in Parnell. Lots of new poems penned by children on the Our Place theme and some great performances by children of the poems in the books. I wish I had got these on video so I could put links to them on my blog and so the authors could see what children did with their poems. Richmond Road: I loved the wind and leaves in Apirana Taylor’s ‘Huri Huri’ swirling about the stage and the animals popping up for my ‘When I am Cold Poem.’ Really sad Seba couldn’t be there to see how wonderful her students were.
I also loved the clear, confident voices ringing out from the Cornwall Park students all in costume (Fiona Farrell missed out on hearing her ‘Once a Little Kiwi Fruit’ and Joy Cowley on hearing ‘Tree Cat.’). Magnificent.
And everyone loved the girls from St Kentigern’s and their breathtaking performance of two very-hard-to-say poems: my poem ‘Tui’ (also known as ‘The Gargle Bird’) and Sarah Aileen’s ‘The Pumperknickle Pirate.’ These were almost song and almost dance and brought the poems alive in such a tremendous way.
Lots of terrific Our Place poems from Gladstone School, Royal Oak Primary School and Westmere School. I especially loved the poems about grandparents’ homes and what favourite places they are. I was so moved to hear all the poems. Just wonderful.
It has been fascinating to see which poems the authors pick to read as it has always been different. Great renditions from Courtney Sina Meredith, John Parker, Tamsin Flynn, Tessa Duder, Siobhan Harvey, Claire Gummer, Melinda Szymanik and Elena de Roo (as well as their own poems).
Very special to hear the students with poems in the Treasury read too: Charley, Sofia, Eden and Anne-Marie. You did so well. I was so proud of you all. I read Luke’s poem as he couldn’t make it.
The National Library had made displays of poetry books north, south, east and west! Fabulous touch!
I have spent the last few days in a bit of zombie state after my fabulous time on the road (and in the air) but what a great way to finish it. Such a lovely atmosphere.
Thanks to you all! Thanks to the National Library for hosting this event and Elizabeth Jones for taking these photos. (I love the Margaret Mahy chair to read in!) Some more at the end taken by Catriona Ferguson on my phone. Thanks.
The ribbon! There are three!
I challenged you to photograph yourself in a cool place reading poetry. Here are my top two picks. Love them!
This from Daniel and Gemma:
(Note from Paula: This is an extra cool idea and all you need is a cardboard box and some cushions. I have one $50 book voucher to give away for this challenge so I am giving it to Gemma and Daniel to get more stock for the nest. Thanks for sharing.)
We built a poetry nest and read lots of poems in it and then wrote poems too. It was a stormy day so it was nice to be in a poetry nest! We go to Adventure school in Whitby.
This from Room 8 at Adventure School:
(Note from Paula: What a cool idea. I started to think of all the perfect poems in the Treasury to read at a zoo and I came up with quite a few! I love this and have shared with Stephanie. Thanks so much!)
Room 8 from Adventure School Whitby had a zoo sleepover last week at Wellington Zoo. We had an amazing time and what better place than the zoo to read some poetry to the wonderful array of animals there. We thought that ‘Zoo Chimpanzee’ by Stephanie Mayne was a pretty good poem to share at the zoo.
We hope you like the photo of Jorja, Noah, Matthias, Angus and Luci — some of the children from the Room 8 Poetry Group, Adventure School, Whitby, sharing poetry at the zoo!
Wendy Clarke has a poem in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children and teaches at Arrowtown School. She has also written this excellent set of guides to teaching poetry at Primary and Intermediate levels. These are the sort of books that would be useful in any classroom. They are published by Essential Resources and you can see more details here.
My name is Izak, I am 9 years old. My hobbies are electronics, gardening and pottery. I also play the drums, basketball and soccer. I have a sister called Monica, and two cats called Ziggy and Mischief. My favourite author is Andy Griffiths and my favourite book is the 52 Storey Treehouse. I don’t like writing much, but I do like writing poems because they can be very short! (Note from Paula: I have seen some of Izak’s pottery and it is astonishingly good!)
David Eggleton is poet and writer who lives in Dunedin. His books include Time of the Icebergs, a collection of poems published in 2010. His new collection of poems, The Conch Trumpet, will be published by Otago University Press early in 2015.
- What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I didn’t have a favourite book as a child, but I still remember my excitement at primary school when a teacher whose name I forget read Grimm Brothers fairytales to us every week for what seemed like a whole year, but was probably only a few weeks. There were scary but also really good. I had never heard anything like them before.
- What is your favourite book now?
One of my favourite books for a long time has been Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. It’s a story of a great white whale that turns on the American sailors who are hunting it and then destroys their ship. It tells you lots of things about whales, and also about whale-hunters.
- Do you have a favourite author?
No, I don’t have one favourite author, but I do have lots of favourite poets. Here are some of them: William Blake, Lewis Carroll, Hone Tuwhare, Wendy Cope, Emily Dickinson, James K. Baxter. They have all written some magical poems.
- How old were you when you did your first performance poetry event, and were you scared?
A poetry performance event is not quite the same as a poetry reading. I first learnt my poems off by heart, and then recited them on-stage in a break between two rock bands to a noisy crowd, when I was in my early twenties. I was a bit nervous, but most of the crowd liked it. That was my first poetry performance event.
- What was the first car you owned?
I used to own a Holden Belmont that was made in Australia. It had a powerful engine. I travelled all around New Zealand in that car.
- Did you like school?
I liked some subjects at school more than others. I liked music and English and art.
- Who was your favourite teacher and why?
I remember when I was at secondary school — I went to Aorere College in south Auckland — a teacher read out the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins to us, and she made us study his poems very closely because he was her favourite poet. And he became a poet I liked, to the extent that that my poems are sometimes compared to his. So she — Mz Wellsford — would have to be one of my favourite teachers.
- What was the naughtiest thing that you ever did when you were a kid?
Well, there were many naughty things, but one of the most dangerous was when I was eight years old and me and my friends wandered, on a Sunday when it was closed, onto an air-force base firing range, looking for unexploded bullets which we could bash with rocks to make them explode. We were collecting bullet-shells and bullets, and we had just started smashing them with rocks and bits of wire and nails when we were caught, and not just chased off but escorted back home.
- Do you have any brothers or sisters, and have you ever written a poem about them?
I have one sister and two brothers. I have written poems about some members of my family and I hope eventually to write about all of them. One of my brothers is an artist, and we are working together at the moment on a collection of poems about animals of the South Pacific. He is making woodblock prints for my poems about whales and frogs and lizards and bats.
Thanks David and Izak for a great interview. David has a poem in The Treasury about bats, and having heard him read it in Dunedin, I can tell you it is an excellent poem to read out loud!
On the way home from Tauranga yesterday, I dropped into Kaimai School for an hour to visit the whole school. It is a wee country school that can fit into the library and we fitted a lot of poems into an hour. Some from my books and some we made up. It was freezing outside and drizzling, but inside it was warm and cosy and I could tell there were lots of students passionate about writing (Along with their teachers!). I got to hear a number of budding writers read their poems including George and Steffin.
Next stop: Maungatapu School where I visited Deirdre Duggan’s class. She and her students have contributed to Poetry Box. I was going to stay for thirty minutes but nearly stayed for an hour as we had a mini workshop on writing poems. I especially loved the bird poem which we gathered material for and then edited to show how it could take a different form. Again students and teacher were passionate about writing.
It was such a fantastic visit it was hard to get back on the road to get home. I stopped off at the Woodcutters Cafe for a late lunch and sat under a row of chiming cuckoos. I sat there at 2pm and they all chimed one after the other — but they didn’t chime they made different animal noises. Crazy!
With Annie my interviewer extraordinaire:
With Kaley who won James Norcliffe’s book for her winter poem (find it here):
A fabulous time in Papamoa and Tauranga.
Yesterday I visited my wild card entry in my Hot Spot Poetry Tour: Golden Sands School in Papamoa. What a glorious day. Sophie and Charleese were there to meet me with a little dance and a guided tour of the school.
Olivia had written one of the letters that had persuaded me to pick this town and school. And this was a school with a big heart; with warmth and welcome.
Lots of cool poems taking shape in the hall; then I went down to the golden sand with the Year 3 and 4s. What a buzz of beach poems being scratched in the low tide sand. I am going to do a special post on this.
Then to Tauranga City Library where Penny Guy welcomed us into her space. A good crowd to hear poems from my two new books and local children read. Great poems from St Mary’s Catholic School, Golden Sands School and Maungatapu School. Sadly Kaimai School had the date wrong which was all my fault so I am giving them a free one-hour visit today. It was a terrific occasion where all generations gathered and poetry zipped and shimmered. Thank you Tauranga Libraries. I hope to post some photos.
Then off to an amazing Turkish restaurant with Golden Sand School students, family and teachers for a poem party. What delicious fun. A special thanks to Lynley Skiffington for getting me to the school, her enthusiasm for writing, yummy pasta lunch and getting right into the beach poems. We are together in the first photo.
Take the lovely Russely School Hall, loads of young participants, a handful of local authors, two new books, an audience of 200 plus, poems new and old — and you get one very good event.
I didn’t know at the time, but Jenny Cooper, the very cool illustrator of A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children, was in the audience. If I had known, we would have made a song and dance about her fabulous illustrations. Yes I would have sung a song for her! Her heavenly illustrations transform the book into the treasure box that it is. I keep replaying the whole event in my mind and these photos bring it all back. Thanks to a Russley parent for them (only Russley School children in these as we only had permission to post participants from that school). But great offerings from Fendalton School, Lyttelton School, Ilam School and Selwyn House amongst others. In one photo, you can see Caleb reading his poem from The Treasury and in other Ewen and Monica reading their pieces from the back of The Letterbox Cat. Special guests! A highlight at the end … a magnificent performance of Apirana Taylor’s poem, ‘haka.’ Definitely deserved that high five!
I’m back home today catching up on everything before I start back on the Hot Spot Poetry Tour events in Auckland and Tauranga tomorrow (they run until Nov 8th).
The first stage of my tour ended in Arrowtown and Queenstown for a few days, and it was simply wonderful. Yes, spectacular scenery that itches to take shape in the form of a poem. Yes, the lakes that gleam and make you stand still to look. But yes too, to the warm and friendly people, the scrumptious food, the keen children.
I had half a day at Arrowtown School (now this is one picturesque school!) where a small group of eager writers worked with me and then few hundred Juniors. I am not surprised such good writing comes out of this school with a teacher so dedicated to poetry as Wendy Clarke (she has a poem in the Treasury).
A quick visit to meet Maria Small and her writing group, and make up a cluster of poems. Loved this!
And then a half day session at Remarkables School (also unbelievably picturesque) with Juniors and then Seniors. This is another hot-spot school when it comes to writing and I got to see that live when we made up poems and shared ideas in the hall. I loved this so much too.
The Remarkables School evening event was a treat with Kyle Mewburn, Pauline Cartwright and Wendy Clarke reading poems (Brian Turner was sick) and the local children in the book (Lachy, Max and Becky). It was so good to meet them, to see how they are such passionate writers — like everywhere else I wish I had had enough time to stay and chat with them longer. We heard some great new poems and heard some terrific readings from the two poetry books from local children .
A big thanks to everyone who made my time at your place special — especially those hard working teachers. What a perfect way to finish the first part of my tour. Just perfect.
Here are some photos of the night event including one with Becky (the only child to have two poems in the book!). Man and Lachy have had quite a bit of media attention