Tag Archives: Gladstone School

My favourite poems that sound good from your April challenge

In April I posted tips and challenges on writing poems that sound good.

Thanks for sharing! I loved reading them and saying them out loud.

I really like the way these three poems use sound differently.


Trinity plays with different line lengths so her poem sounds so good.

Vesper has worked on the flow of words so her poem flows beautifully. I love the way the word ‘slicing’ jumps off the line. And the word ‘shines.’  This poem gave me shivers on my skin as I read it. It starts with sound and then builds a picture.

I love the way Daniel and Gemma, brother and sister, wrote a poem together about their grandfather. I think repetition really adds to the sound of the poem beautifully. It is like a little grandfather chant.

I am sending a book to Vesper. If you missed out this time I am posting a new challenge tomorrow (the first day of the month!).



The Forest 

The light shines through the leaves like blades,

slicing through the night air.

I lie in my tent,

I hear the wind howling through the leaves.

I see Vesper the evening star,

watching over the city, and me.


by Vesper W Ilam School (Rm 7, age 6)

Vesper told me that ‘Vesper’ is another name in Latin and Greek mythology for evening star and that it also a name for evening song for evening prayers. How wonderfll is that!


Who is he?

Who is Ganga?

He is tall

Someone to look up to

His hair fuzzes around his ears

And his face shows smile lines

He is kind

Kind of wonderful

Speaks beautiful big words

Like a walking, talking book

He is my Ganga


Who is My Grandad?

He is an armchair Olympian

An awesome team player

Who knows every team

A warrior of words

Crosswords quiver when he picks up his pen

Cruising through retirement

Cruising round the world

Leaving one foot on each tide of the Tasman

He is my Grandad


Who is he?

He is grandfather, father, uncle and husband

He is friend, neighbour and mentor

He is strength, courage and wisdom

He is who we need him to be

He is


By Gemma (10) and Daniel L (6) Adventure School, Porirua



Here goes

Dip the paintbrush in the blue

First stroke

Create the waterfall and river outline


New colour

Dip the paintbrush in the brown

Second stroke

Create the cliff and sky outline


Detail time

Get another shade of light blue

First blend

Blend the two different blues together


More detail

Get another shade of dirt brown

Second blend

Blend the two different browns together

Trinity Age 10, Year 6, Gladstone School

The Treasury Interviews: Benedict interviews Kiri Piahana-Wong

Benedict talks about himself…

Hello, I’m Benedict. I’m 6 years old. I live in Mt Albert, Auckland and I go to Gladstone School, which is just across the road. I have a little sister and we have a ginger cat called Milly. I like to read books about adventures like Sword Girl and Sir Cumference books. I like to do playball and swimming and play with Lego and my pirate ships. I am writing a recipe book and am nearly finished my story ‘The Adventures of Anything-Man’. When I grow up I think I will be an author or fireman or have a cafe.

night swimming author pic

Kiri Piahana-Wong was inspired to be a poet by her mother, who read her poetry by famous American and English poets, such as William Blake and Robert Frost, from the age of two. Her favourite poem as a child was Blake’s ‘Tiger, Tiger’. Kiri started writing her own poetry at six years of age. Her first poem was an ode to her teddy bear. From there she kept on writing and had a number of poems published throughout her school years. In her adult life she went on to publish many poems in journals and anthologies, and published her first poetry book, night swimming, in 2013. Kiri also helps organise an event called Poetry Live, New Zealand’s longest-running live poetry venue, and runs a small publishing company called Anahera Press that publishes poetry books.


The Interview:

  1. How long have you been writing poems?

Since I was six years old.

  1. How did you become a poet?

From the day I started writing poetry as a child, I just kept going and never stopped. In my twenties I tried for a long time to have my poetry published but initially had no success. Then when I was 28 I had a poem published in an online journal called Snorkel. After that for some reason it became easier and I had many poems published in journals and anthologies (like A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children my poem ‘night swimming’ is in). I also published my own book. People started asking me to read my poetry and help run events. It’s been fun!

  1. How many poems have you written?

I’m not sure but it would be in the hundreds. For many years I kept all of my poems and drafts in a box under my bed!

  1. How do you get the ideas for the poems?

From things that happen to me and things I see around me.

  1. How do you choose the words?

In my best poems the words just come to me without the sense that I need to hunt for them or choose them . If I do set out to write a poem I try to choose words that sound good together, or that create a fresh, beautiful or unusual image.

  1. How old are you?

I am 37 years old. When I was in my early 30s I still felt like someone in my 20s. I think I thought I was 27 for at least five years! But now I feel my age.

  1. Where do you live? Do you write about where you live?

Until recently I lived at Laingholm, which is on Auckland’s west coast near Titirangi. It’s a very beautiful place by the sea. Laingholm found its way into nearly all of my poetry – the birds, like the duck we adopted and named Jump, the tui and rainbow lorikeets; the beach and sea; the weather; and my house, which was like a big beach house.

  1. What do you like doing when you are not writing?

Reading, swimming, spending time with my friends. I like going to music gigs. I also spend too much time on Facebook.

  1. Do you read poetry?

Yes I love to read poetry and own around two hundred poetry books.

10. Do you know the poem ‘The Man in the Moon’? It’s one of my favourites. What are your favourites?

I love Hone Tuwhare’s ‘Rain’ and Glenn Colquhoun’s ‘Waiata Aroha’ (which is written in both Maori and English). Apart from those I’d find it hard to choose individual poems, but poets I really like are Karlo Mila, Jenny Bornholdt, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, Michael Ondaatje and Wallace Stevens. My favourite Stevens poem is ‘The Idea of Order at Key West’. It’s an amazing poem that I never get tired of.

11. What’s the hardest thing about writing poems?

Finding a way to express myself that is fresh and unique. Also sometimes with a poem I’ll have something I want to say and after writing it feel that it just isn’t saying what I wanted it to. If that happens I’ll try to rewrite it, but usually it means the poem won’t work out.

12. What’s the best thing?

When I finish a poem and it says exactly what I wanted it to, and it’s clear and concise. Or when someone tells me one of my poems moved them or helped them in some way.


What a wonderful interview Kiri and Benedict. Lots to think about when writing a poem. Thank you!

9780473245559_MED      9780473245559_MED

Too hot to drink by Venetia and a lightning bolt by Lily

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Venetia wrote this poem after my visit to Gladstone School this year. She was having a cup of tea with her Mum and Nana and was inspired to write it as she waited for her tea to cool down. Lily went for a lightning bolt moment. Both poems sound good and capture a moment perfectly.

The Lightbulb Moment


When thoughts strike

ideas and pictures


A bright light

shines from the rest

like a lightning bolt

shines suddenly

with a picture

and a sound


The lightbulb moment


By Lily

Poems that make pictures: two cats, a crane and a flock of scavenging seagulls

Here are my favourite picture poems (shape poems, concrete poetry) from the challenge I set (inspired by all the picture poems in my new book The Letterbox Cat).

These four poems are all different, but I love the way the words sound as good as the picture looks!

I loved these so much I want to give you a chance to do some more in the holidays. See end of post for details.

Meanwhile I have picked Gemma to send a book to as the poem sings in my ear and the cat poem is like a pawprint on the page (very cunning!). I am sending her a copy of my favourite childhood poetry book — AA Milne’s Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace. His poems used to sing in my ear and they still do.

Concrete Cat by Gemma age 8 Adventure School

Concrete Cat

Seagulls by Daniel, Age 5 Adventure School


Cat by Maya, Year 4,  Stonefields School

maya stonefields school

Cranes by Arya, Year 5, Gladstone School

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DEADLINE for your Picture-Poem Challenge: Thursday October 9th

It can be on any subject! Check my new book out for ideas or these poems.

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com. Include your name, year, age and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email. PLEASE say it’s for the Picture-Poem challenge.

I will post my favourites  and have a book prize for a poet (Year 0 to Year 8).

The Animix Zoo from Gladstone School sounds so very very good I want to say it out loud this instance

I loved doing workshops at Gladstone School today. Some great poems, some of which will be read on my Hot Spot Poetry Tour event in Auckland. This means my Third Fabulous Poetry Competition is now over and I can have a wee rest before getting on with my Hot Spot Tour planning again. As some of you know i have been sick with a fierce winter bug so I might not answer your emails straight away. Time to sleep and sleep and dream of new poems I think.

One of the classes after my session yesterday got inspired to write this poem (after my Anifable poem). I love the imagination at work and I love the juicy sounds that are like little musical chords. Great job on this poem young poets, I really loved reading it. You made my day and so nice to see you share it with your Principal. All Principals should have poems read to them, I reckon!

The Animix Zoo

The Crococat snaps and naps,

The Mouseafrog leaps and creeps,

The Rhinobull rages and charges,

The Tigersaurus is carnivorous,

The Octopup chases its tails,

The Cheetaquail is fast and frail,

The Doggadile lurks and barks,

The Crocodog begs and basks,

The Elephorse can stomp and clop

The Hippopig wallows in slop,

The Crocoduck like to spy and dive

The Rhinobird can charge and glide

The Chickapups can peck and pant,

Wait til you see the SabreAnt!

The Parrowhale can screech and breach.

(But the Lionsnake is totally fake.)

Screeching, loud, with a spying feature –

I’m pretty sure one is my teacher!

Crazy creatures at the Zoo,

But what will happen to me and you?

Visiting the winning school, the Y1 and Y2s made poems pop

I accidentally posted this on Poetry Shelf so will redo it because the children sat in the hall for an hour with unflagging attention and poetry rippled and sang. It was such fun. I was over the moon with the words we collected.

I read my Boat-Shoe poem and then we made up our own skinny shoe poem.

Gladstone Road Shoes

Rubber shoes
Slipper shoes
Velcro shoes
Sore shoes
Sparkly shoes
Monkey shoes
Basketball shoes
Broken shoes
Running shoes
Dinosaur shoes
Blue shoes
Yellow shoes
Lightning shoes
Shoes are cool!


My Russian blue cat
scratches all the time
like a tiger,
sleeps and purrs
frisky cat.

My cat likes
to eat tuna
and cheese,
scrumple scrumple.

My cat likes
to sleep in my bed
on the sofa
on cushions
and the table.

She does a somersault.
She brushes me with her tail.

My Kite

Rainbow kite
Kite flies
Fairy kite
Kite swishes
Disco kite
Kite twirls
Golden kite
Kite glazes
Butterfly cat
Kite races,
I love my kite.

Y5 and Y6 at Gladstone School make up poems in the wild wind with m

The hour just whizzed and whirred by as we made up poems at Gladstone School.

Outside the wind and rain were trying to drown out the poems so we made up a wind poem. We were on the hunt for words that sounded good together as though we were making musical chords.


Grim wind
Strong wind
Blustering wind
Thundering wind
Long wind
Rustly wind
Aching wind
Raging wind
Blustery wind
Thin wind


The kiwi
night time scavenger,
dark starry night
tiny greedy eyes
fluffy cloud,


Fat cat
jumping like a Jack cat
drooling on the mat cat
twisting and turning
wears a tall top hat
standing on his head cat
eating on a welcome mat,
tree cat!

Visiting Gladstone School …. The winner of the Third Fabulous Poetry Competition

Today and tomorrow I am visiting the winning Auckland school.

Year 3 and 4 came up with some great poems with me. We road tested endings which was fun. We were on the hunt for endings that surprised us or made us laugh. It was a wonderful session with zipping imagination and darting words.


Straw hat
Beach hat
Hay hat
Peach hat
Top hat
Big hat
Cop hat
Sun hat
Skinny hat
Fruit hat
Give them all a pat!

The Cheek Pocket

What does the bonnet macaque
store in its cheek pocket?
Microphones and big bones
moons and spoons
snakes and rakes
crocodiles and scaly reptiles
figs and twigs
top hats and fat cats
broken bags and country flags
round heads and wiggly beds
dining tables and horse stables?
But I am sure it’s pigs!


The Komodo snail
is slow and fast.

The Zepanther
is stripy and black.

The whalbird
likes to fly and swing.

The snakemouse
likes to eat cheese.

The allicat
is spiky and sneaky.

The eagledile
shows its toothy smile.

The octosect
likes to crawl.

The cowster
crows in the morning.

I wonder if they’re
friends with the foxasaurus?

Tarra tarra tumtum do dobedo: The Third Fabulous Poetry Competition results

blk on wht horz logo

Catriona Ferguson, the Director of the New Zealand Book Council, joined me last week to help select the winners for The Third Fabulous Poetry Competition. We both felt it was a wonderful way to spend a morning.

I had made a long list of fifty schools that submitted exciting entries. With much reading and thinking, I had then selected three finalists in each region. It was tough job as there were standout poems every way I looked. In the end, I returned to my competition brief and selected schools that sent quality writing in a range of ages and styles. Once I got down to around 20 schools, I took into account editing as well as poetic zim. My three finalists all submitted poems that made me go ‘aah!’ ‘amazing’ ‘lovely’—just like when you watch fireworks.

Today I am posting the names of the finalists and the winners.

On Tuesday I will post a selection of poems from the winning schools.

On Thursday I will post some standout poems  that I loved in my long list of 50 schools.

The winning schools get a two-day visit from me courtesy of The New Zealand Book Council and a year’s membership to the organisation if they don’t have one.

Congratulations to the finalists and the winners. A special mention to West End School. I will scan and post some of your poems as yours were my favourite presentations. Bravo!



Gladstone School, Mt Albert    Winner

Green Bay Primary School

Point View School, Howick


North Island

Te Aro School, Wellington   Winner

Onekawa School, Napier

West End School, Palmerston North


South Island

Russley School, Christchurch   Winner

Lower Moutere School, Nelson

Arrowtown School