Tag Archives: Bill Nagelkerke

Poetry Box feature: Lily and Rose (8) interview Bill Nagelkerke

DSCN9020 - Version 2.jpeg

 

 

 

 Way back then

 

My best friend’s

Mother’s

Mother’s

Mother,

And my best friend’s

Mother’s

Mother’s

Mother’s

Brother,

Rode scooters

In their youth:

Ninety years

(Or so)

Ago.

 

My best friend

Brought a photo

Of her

Mother’s

Mother’s

Mother,

 

 

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 4.01.26 PM.png

 

And her

Mother’s

Mother’s

Mother’s

Brother,

To show the class

That it was true.

Who knew

That kids had scooters,

Way back then?

 

 

from The night the moon fell down and other poems (Copy Press, 2019)

 

Bill Nagelkerke has a book of poems for children out – so Lily and Rose agreed to interview him.

You can find my review of the book here.

 

screen-shot-2019-10-11-at-10.23.35-am.png

 

The interview:

 

Did you always like writing at school or did you only start liking writing when you were an adult?

I started off by enjoying stories that were read to me and then stories I was able to read by myself – as well as stories I watched on TV. That led to me wanting to write my own stories, which I did when was about your age. I made them into little books, which I still have!. The first story I had published – and was paid for! – was when I was at high school. It appeared in a local paper.

 

Do you like writing poetry or novels best?

I like all kinds of writing but I think poetry can sometimes be the most difficult, because usually you don’t have very many words to work with and they have to be just the right ones.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?

An elephant, perhaps. They have good memories and are thought to be very wise. They still get a very tough time though.

 

What are your 5 favourite books you’ve written and why?

My favourite book will always be the next one because I always hope it will be better than the last. But I do like the two short books I’ve written about Emily, a nine year old who loves to write. (Emily’s Penny Dreadful and Emily, the Dreadfuls and the Dead Skin Gang), as well as the stories about two brothers, Patrick and Pete, which you can find in a collection of stories called Egghead, and other surprises. A story called Old bones is also special because it’s set in a place where I used to live. A new book is due out next year, called The ghosts on the hill and its one I really enjoyed writing because it takes place in one of my favourite locations. (See question 6)

 

In the poem book you gave us, Lily’s favourite poem is the shoelace poem because of the words and she likes the shape poems especially the one about the moon, because it’s clever how it reflects. Rose’s favourite poem is about a mother and she likes the pictures throughout the book. Which is your favourite poem in this collection Bill?

That’s tough question . . . I like the poems that you’ve both picked and the reasons you’ve picked them. I’m also quite fond of the one called ‘Way back then’ – about the fact that children already had scooters nearly 100 years ago – because it was inspired by an old family photo. It’s so hard to choose, though. One day’s favourite might have to change places with another day’s favourite!

 

Have you visited any other countries? If yes, do you have a favourite place (in NZ or overseas)?

I’ve been to a few other places. I have lots and lots of cousins in the Netherlands, as well. One of my favourite places, though, has always been the Port Hills of Christchurch. (See Question 4)

 

What is your favourite colour and why?

Yellow. I don’t really know why. Perhaps because it’s such a cheerful colour.

 

What are you curious about?

Everything. There’s so much to be curious about!

 

Do you have any pets?

No, I don’t.

 

What is your favourite thing in the world?

Kindness.

 

Have your friends ever told you that they don’t like your writing? If yes, what did you do about this?

No, I don’t think they have. In fact, I’m probably my own worst critic. 🙂

 

 

A former children’s librarian, Bill Nagelkerke has written short stories, poems, plays and books for all ages, as well as translating other people’s books from Dutch into English. In 2013 he was awarded the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal for a distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature and literacy.

Lily is 8 years old and has a twin sister called Rose. She is an animal lover and especially loves crocodiles. Her favourite kind of books to read are chapter books. She is a keen writer, and co-wrote wrote her own chapter book this year with her mum about a heroic Crocodile called “Agent C” who tries to solve problems in his community. Lily’s favourite subject at school is art. In her spare time she likes doing Gymnastics and is working on a dance called “Masterpiece”. Lily was once in a Lifeline TV commercial to raise money for this charity and thinks the most important thing in life is love. Her favourite food is doughnuts.

Rose is 8 years old too and….surprise! She has a twin sister called Lily. Rose’s favourite celebrity is Steve Irwin and she loves all animals, especially otters. Her favourite things to do at school are learning maths and class bike riding sessions. Rose’s favourite foods are carrots and raspberries. In her spare time, Rose takes drama classes and is starting as a chip eater in an end-of-year Harry Potter themed production. Rose likes to read books about brave and courageous NZ leaders and adventures (the Oh Boy and Go Girl series). She thinks the most important thing in life is to be a problem solver.

 

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

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 10.23.35 AM.png

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box audio spot: Bill Nagelkerke reads two poems

 

Scan.jpeg

 

 

 

 

Bill Nagelkerke has written short stories, poems, plays and books for all ages, as well as translating other people’s books from Dutch into English. His novel Old bones was a Storylines Notable Book and Sitting on the fence, which tells the story of the controversial Springbok rugby tour of 1981, was a finalist in the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. In 2013 Bill was awarded the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award for a distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature and literacy.

 

Puke Ariki event was a smorgasbord of poems

Wow! What a great event at Puke Ariki last night. A good crowd of parents and children and poetry fans turned up. We even made up a poem for the library and museum.

I would have loved Fiona Farrell, Bill Nagelkerke and Joy Cowley to hear children from Egmont Village School recite their poems. Just fabulous. If only you could have heard Breanna recite Joy’s ‘Haere Mai ki te Moe. ‘ wonderful! Jasmin had brought a gigantic bear to hold as she recited James K Baxter’s ‘Growley Bear. ‘

Emily Boulton, who now goes to Hawera Intermediate, read her poem in the Treasury and a few newer ones.
So lovely to meet her and have her sign books with me and Elizabeth Smither. Elizabeth was our special Taranaki guest. She picked a squishy tomato poem by Fiona Farrell and one of Sam Hunt’s earliest poems (written when he was about 7!) along with her own. I just love her daisy poem and had read to a school in the afternoon!

So moving to hear children from Egmont Village School, Woodleigh School and Frankley School read poems on the theme of Our Place.

I loved them all but I especially loved Emma Kehely reading ‘My Grandma Cup Cake Making’ and Riley Tuuta reading ‘My Special Place.’ Congratulations young poets, you all did your selves and schools proud.

It is 6am as I write this and I have glowing goose bumps thinking of it!

Thank you New Plymouth. Thank you teachers, Poppies and Puke Ariki.

IMG_1312-0.JPG

IMG_1309-0.JPG

IMG_1308-0.JPG

Reading Festival: Bill Nagelkirke says books are like old friends

IMG_3027

Bill Nagelkerke is a writer and translator living in Christchurch. He has some very tasty poems you will get to see in A Treasury of New Zealand Poems for Children next year.

Unknown-16 Unknown-17 Unknown-18 Unknown-19 Unknown-20 

What kind of books did you like to read? I enjoyed lots of different books. Some favourites included the Rupert annuals, Enid Blyton’s Tales of brave adventure and the Tom Swift series of science fiction stories. The Rupert annuals gave me one of my early introductions to poetry, as each of the illustrations was accompanied by a rhyming couplet.

What did the library mean to you? We went every week. I was always on the lookout for the latest Tintin or Asterix adventure.

Unknown-24 Unknown-23 Unknown-22 Unknown-21

Do you remember being read to? Yes, definitely. My mother in particular read stories to us. She loved books and reading.

Was there a book that stood out that a teacher read to you? I have a vivid memory of a teacher reading Elsie Locke’s The Runaway Settlers. It had just been published. This was probably the first time I heard a story where events were happening in a place close to where I lived, not somewhere else altogether. It made me look at those places differently.

Runaway settlers  Runaway settlers

What did books mean to you? How did they add to your life? I borrowed books from the library and bought my own books, too. I seemed to have kept a lot of them! They’re like old friends, and full of memories.

Do you still read children’s books? Do you have a favourite this week? All the time. I’ve just finished Geraldine McCaughrean’s latest, The Middle of Nowhere, set in Australia. I feel it’s not her best book but, as always, her writing sings. She chooses her words so carefully.

Bill Nagelkerke at The Margaret Mahy Day

Yesterday morning I went to the Storylines Margaret Mahy Award Day. I got to see emerging writers get awards for their new manuscripts and I got to hear Bill Nagelkerke give the Margaret Mahy lecture. He was awarded the Margaret Mahy Medal for his outstanding contribution to Children’s Literature in New Zealand as both a writer and a librarian. He lives in Christchurch.

IMG_3027

In his speech he talked about the strength of stories in our lives — whether we are readers or writers.

One important source of stories, he said, is memory, and I think it is an important source for poems. So I would say, in memory lies poetry (and other places of course).

Bill also said stories are full of both lies and truth. I would say poems are also full of lies and truth. It seems to me children spend most of their time at school writing the truth — writing what they know. This has produced wonderful writing for decades and decades. But it is also fruitful to make things up when you write. I don’t think children do so much of this in school but I could be wrong.

I will be exploring truth and lies a lot on the blog over the next year (what really happened and what might happen in your imagination). This week I am doing a post on Bill Manhire — he shares three great ideas for making things up. I want to try them myself!

I will also be posting a Bill Nagelkerke poem sometime soon.