Tag Archives: John Parker

The Treasury Interviews: Jack P interviews John Parker — find that everyday things and activities have imaginative possibilities


John Parker is a very well published New Zealand author who writes a huge variety of children’s books, adult fiction, sporting and radio articles. I think he is a hilarious author because he makes the characters and story lines in his books really funny. I am so glad to have got John Parker as my given author.

He is Christchurch born and has degrees in English and History. He has also been a teacher and an opera singer before taking up full time writing. John loves golf, tramping, travel and skiing.

I have also read two of his books, Sucked In and Sucked Out, which I highly recommend for ages 7-10.


jack may 2014

Hi, my name is Jack. I am a 10 year old writer, who loves writing poetry and using technology.
I go to Fendalton School in Christchurch. I enjoy swimming, football, tennis, French, cubs and I am a tech wizard at school. I enjoy reading poems on Poetry Box and I have sent in a few of mine. I also belong to book club at school and have enjoyed researching my author John Parker and creating questions for him.

The Interview:

What primary school did you go to? I went to two Auckland schools: Royal Oak Primary and Remuera Primary. My teacher at Remuera, Miss Adams, was stern and scary!
How many books a year do you publish? It depends on how hard-working I am, whether publishers like what I write, whether the books I’m writing are short or long and other factors, including the state of the economy. One year I published 13 books; some years I’ve published none. My average is around 4-5 a year.

Do you remember how you felt when you first piece got published? Elated! It was a play, called ‘The Giants’ Attack,’ published by The School Journal in 1980.

Out of all your poems which is your favorite and why? I can’t answer that question, sorry! I find that a poem is itself, and seems to resist grading or an order of merit.

Many of your poems and stories are humorous where do you get the ideas from? From life. I find that everyday things and activities have imaginative possibilities. And my mind seems to work in ridiculous ways, at times. Can’t help it! Many poems come from a little jolt in my brain-cells – that something relates to something in a way I didn’t think of before. For example, a handful of wool might have the shape of a starry galaxy, or that a bumble-bee and a postie are similar in that one goes form flower to flower and one goes from letter-box to letterbox.

What is your first step you take when you are writing poetry? It depends. I sometimes write down thoughts, knowing or hoping that some words will stick for me and develop into something bigger. Sometimes I get a line flying into my mind that arrives fully formed and perfect and I build the poem around that.

In Sucked In and Sucked Out where did you get the idea for the character Zainey? I read that a school class in USA was asked to think of ways they might like their bodies changed. One kid, who was possibly short, wanted an eye on the top of his finger so he could see over crowds. Once I thought about that, Zainey started.

I would like to write a poem in 10 or 12 words about my sister and how she is addicted to macaroni. What would you write?? It’s your poem, but ‘macaroni’ is such a nice word to say and look at. So I might make up words like ‘macaroniac’ or ‘macaronly’ – stuff like that.  Or maybe change her name in a macaroni way? And you could do things with your own name, too. After all, ‘Jack’ rhymes with ‘macaroniac’. Wish you luck!


What a fabulous interview Jack and John. John writes terrific poems for children. There are 7 of them in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children and lots more in The School Journals.

9781877404276 9780958260060 1877404268 9781877471162sucked+in


John Parker & Elena de Roo go listing

If you go hunting for list poems by other poets you will discover a real treasure trove. Reading poems by other writers is such a great way to take your own writing on adventures. Try doing your version of the poem you discover. Change things about it. Use their pattern, but put your own words in it.

IMG_3079 IMG_3080

Elena de Roo has written a list of green things, but she has played with the pattern a little and not every line begins with green (both ways work!). She has some great rhyme that helps glue the poem together (soar, draw) and (castle, freckle).

Green, My Crayon

I choose green with dappled speckles

green as sea glass

green as green grass

green as leaves with yellow freckles

Green as sea, and sky, and shore

green, the tower and turret door

in winds of green, its banners soar

green, my castle

green, I draw

©  Elena de Roo


John Parker has written a really cool list poem that is made up of dialogue! It has a definite pattern and a surprising but perfect ending (especially if you are like me and like crisp apples).

Drop, Drop

‘Drop drop,’ said the wind to the seed.

‘Reach, reach,’ said the earth to the root.

‘Drink, drink,’ said the rain to the plant.

‘Up, up,’ said the sun to the tree.

‘Out, out,’ said the tree to the branch.

‘Burst, burst,’ said the branch to the bud.

‘Open. open,’ said the bee to the blossom.

‘Ripen, ripen,’ said the blossom to the apple.

‘Eat, eat,’ said the apple to me ——

So I did!

©  John Parker

This week on NZ Poetry Box and Holiday Challenges

This week we are still playing with list poems. Today, though, I am going tell you about the school holiday challenge. On Tuesday it’s time for poetry play, on Wednesday I will post list poem by Elena de Roo and John Parker, on Thursday I will post my favourite poems from the list-poem challenge (and the winner) and on Friday I will post a poem by a secondary-school student (fingers-crossed!).

NZ Poetry Box is a blog aimed at students up to Year 8 but some secondary students have started following it. So here is your chance. I challenge you to write a list poem (Year 9 to Year 13). Catch up on what Bill Manhire says about list poems (April 11), check out my tips (April 9) and get writing! Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by Thursday 5pm. Include your name, age, year and name of school.

Next week the school holidays begin and I would love to post at least a poem a day by a child. This is a safe site for young children and a perfect place to play with words during the holidays. I am happy to post your letters and comments. Get Mum or Dad or Gran to help you.

I will give you some mini challenges throughout this week — but as a holiday challenge you could try one of Bill Manhire’s ideas that he posted last Thursday.  Send your poems to paulajoygreen@gmail.com. Include your name, age, year school. Include your teacher’s name and email if you like. Say it is for the holiday challenge.

Here are Bill’s ideas. I want to try them too!

1. Try imagining what it’s like to be something else, and write as if you are that something else. Maybe you could be an elephant that’s sick of being in the circus. Or an iceberg that’s melting. Or an asteroid that’s about to hit the earth. Or maybe you could write a conversation (or a love poem!) between a stalagmite and a stalactite.

2. Write a brand new nursery rhyme, and put your best friend in it.

3. Write a poem where every line begins with the words “I remember”, but every memory is made-up.

During the holidays, I would also love to post ideas from teachers and parents on writing poems. A single idea or two in a paragraph or two.