Tag Archives: picture poems

WOW! Ormond School’s Y2 and 3 have finished some fabulous picture poems – slow sneak pounce!

When I visited Gisborne’s Ormond School last week (the North Island winner of The Fourth Fabulous Picture Poem) I kick-started classes on picture poems.

I adore these cat ones from Y2 and 3. I have picked just a few to post, but they are all WONDERFUL. I kept going WOW! as I looked at them.

These poems are good to look at but are also fun to read aloud. Congratulations to the WHOLE class on your poems. I just loved them. I love the one with the rat hiding in its belly!















My favourite picture poems

Picture poems (ah yes, shape poems, concrete poetry!) are fun to do and it looks like you had fun with these. It was really hard choosing just a few to post. I was after a poem that looked good but that also offered something as you read it.

So I love the ones that sounded good or surprised me.

I am sending Ewen a notebook to write her poems in.

I am sending William a copy of my book the Letterbox Cat.




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Ella W, Year 7 aged 12  St. Peters School, Cambridge. (Paula: I love the slant of words like the wings)



Poppy R Aged 10 Year 6 Ilam school (Paula: I love the swirl of words!)



Madeline T  9 years old Year 5  Ilam Primary School (Paula: I love the words like apple peel!)




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Ben, I am an 11 year old Year seven at Saint Peter’s School (Paula: this poem flows just like a ball skimming through the air!)



Hayden P, age 10, year 6, and go to Ilam Primary School (Paula: I especially love the words that wrap the leaf up)


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Tessa A I am 13 years old, I go to Selwyn House School, Christchurch. (Paula: I love the way words make the shape and are like the bees inside!)


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By Ewen W aged 13, Year 8, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch (Paula: I had such fun reading this – it is a little hard to read with the squiggles like the mysterious house)


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William, Y3 St Andrew’s College (Paula: I love the windy trail of words on the page!)

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Harry, Y3 age 7, St Andrew’s College, Christchurch (Paula: I love the way the words make the shape and the poem is surprising)

Paptoetoe Intermediate in South Auckland are a whizz at picture poems

I had two days at this school recently working with two groups of children. We explored how to use imagination, how to use ears and eyes and how to write from what you know and what you don’t know.

We started with a two-hour double group workshop that was magnificent. Lots of shared ideas as we made up poems together.

Here are some of the poems that come out of our workshops. There are some terrific picture poems and then some terrific regular poems. I adore the way Jade played with her lines. The words on the ends of her lines are outstanding! The picture poems are so good. Perhaps they will inspire other classes to try doing one. The students worked really hard on these. Fun to read out loud too! Eyes and ears were hard at work in all the poems.



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Cape Reinga

Sun sizzling


rocky cliffs high

waves converging ahead

a light house standing bright

howling winds


paper flies

smells waft toward

mystic hillsides

Artic drinks cold


a new journey



the horizon.





Burning sun

ocean views

palm trees swaying

left and right,

the smell


greasy pork

crunchy skin




America (Los Angeles)

Cabs hooting loud

shopping on 5th Avenue

tourists everywhere

flashing cmaeras

touchdowns, home runs, 3 pointers

skyscrapers taller than normal

celebrities hiding from paparazzi

dangerous drivers

car chases

oversized food, priceless experience

bumpy plane ride

fresh air.



Where My Nana Lies

White crosses everywhere

curvy shaped stones

in thousands of rows

brown pine cones

skinny twigs

flowers coloured like rainbows

solid grey stones

fresh cut grass

wafts into my nose

dark rocky dirt

feelings hurt

butterflies mutter around

speeding cars I see

white and gold embroidery

many rest in peace.



Old Home

Under the speckled trees

the siblings lie

listening to

sparrows fly by.

The smell of

freshly cut grass

fills the air.

While Dad mows the lawn

Mum watches us.

Cousins jumping

on the trampoline

squealing with delight.




Poetry Bonanza Monday: Thanks to two Nelson girls a new challenge, and countdown for the Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition results!

I am off to Wellington this week for the Children’s Book Awards. So exciting! I don’t mind about winning and losing. I enjoy meeting other authors and sharing a celebration of great writing and publishing. So a big thanks to Scholastic for publishing The Letterbox Cat.

I spent last week reading the poems sent in for The Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition. I am about to post the results this morning!


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Two Nelson girls, Isabelle and Evie, were so taken with The Letterbox Cat, (their Mum, the very talented Rachael Craw tweeted about it!) I gave them a weekend challenge to make their own fabulous picture poems. They were inspired by the ones I did for the book. It made my weekend to get these back. I call them picture poems but you can call them shape poems or concrete poetry. I now feel inspired to do a dog one and more food ones! Thank you.

A picture poem is when you use words to make a picture on the page.

I am going to post what they did and two of mine from the book because I am challenging you to do your own picture poem.

(I am busy doing this with schools in different ways as I am hard at work making new picture poems myself.)


Three top tips:

* You can use words to make an outline of something. Put the words close together so you can rub out the pencil outline and see the shape just with the words.

*You can use words to fill the pencil outline. Make sure you go right to the line so when you rub out the outline you can see the shape. The words can go in any direction.

*Picture poems should sound good too as it is the perfect time and place to play with words.


SCAN your poem and send to me. Check out some of mine in The Letterbox Cat.


DEADLINE for your Picture-Poem Challenge: Wednesday August 19th

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. Put in the subject line of the email please.

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




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A picture poem inspired by The Letterbox Cat

I challenged you to create pictures with words to celebrate my new book The Letterbox Cat (Scholastic) as it is full of picture poems (Concrete Poetry).

Here is a favourite.

Ewen did a picture poem but she also included the poem separately as ‘it may be hard to read upside down.’ I put it at the bottom. That is the fun of it but it is easier to read a twisty poem in a book than on a computer screen! She is Y7 and goes to Cobham Intermediate in Christchurch.

I am sending Ewen a copy of the book (she actually has a wee poem at the back!)

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A Fly for a Spider

Beside me
is a spider
apple cider
eight beady
dark eyes
eight legs
no thighs
I am its lunch
for today
I wish I could live
another day.

Ewen W aged 12, Room 20, Year 7, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch

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

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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).

more picture poems (or concrete poetry)

For a long time I have been doing picture poems (they do have other names) and I often show  the big ones I have done and my sketchbook when I visit schools. Some of them are going to be in my new book, The Letterbox Cat and Other Poems which Scholastic is publishing in AUGUST. So I am very excited about that.

Here is a bit of poem history:

In the 1950s, some Brazilian poets started making Concrete Poems. These were poems where the way the words looked on the page was just as important as how the words sounded or what they meant. Then Concrete Poetry went on a big adventure all round the world. Sometimes it was as though the poets were using words to make a picture on the page. So some people also started calling it Shape Poetry. Mostly words were used but sometimes poets added a few lines of drawing.

People have making shape poems for hundreds of years though. Here is a very famous poem by George Herbert. This was done in 1633 and is called ‘Easter Wings.’ If you look at the shape you can see it is like a bird flying.


I call my poems picture poems as sometimes I draw as much as I use words. I always want a picture to appear on the page but it can be made up of a mix of things. The one at the top here is called ‘Elephant’ and you get to read all the different parts of the animal. Sometimes when I am in schools I get everyone reading different bits of that poem at the same time. It is fun. Then there is a page from my sketchbook where the poem is mostly words. It is not finished but I was trying to make pyramid poems.

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You can do your own picture poem and send it to me for the Eye Poem Challenge!

DEADLINE for your Eye-Poem Challenge: Thursday March 27th

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 eye-poem challenge.

I will post my favourites and have a book prize for one poet.