Tag Archives: Poetry box challenge

Poetry Box October challenge: Happy poems!

 

 

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When I read poems I feel all kinds of things -some poems make me puzzle and ponder, some poems make me laugh or feel sad and some poems make me happy. I especially love it when poetry makes me happy. It might be what the poem is but often it is how the poem is written. I feel happy because I am reading a poem that gives me goosebumps.

I have given you two different choices for happy poems.

 

NUMBER ONE

For Groovy Fish Maia gave me this title: The Shabby Dinosaur

I decided my dinosaur was going to be happy. I said that right in the first line. I invented an image of the dinosaur and then I decided he was as full as bull with happiness. I went hunting in my imagination for things that made him happy.

 

 

The Shabby Dinosaur

for Maia

 

The shabby dinosaur is happy.

He lives on the verandah

with a cat named Lucinda,

a mouse named Clover

and a flea called Bea.

 

The shabby dinosaur sleeps on

a beaded waistcoat

that is old and tatty,

purple socks with

pink spots and holes,

and a straw hat matty

with dandelions and bows.

 

The shabby dinosaur sits

for hours in the bright

summer sun breathing in happy

thoughts of rollerblading

hammock dozing

finger painting

guitar picking

and frozen ice blocks

until he is as full

as a bull

with happiness.

 

Paula Green from Groovy Fish and other poems Makāro Press, 2019

 

Your challenge is to write a poem that makes you happy.

 

It might be a poem like mine about things that make someone or something happy:

 

You could write a poem about what makes

you

or someone in your family

or your pet

or an imagined animal

full as a bull with happiness.

 

 

NUMBER TWO

You might do what I also do and write a poem about something that makes YOU HAPPY without 

ever mentioning the word happy. You might write about a bird or your cat or the moon or an old kauri tree or eating pizza or climbing a tree or watching the ocean or the sun go down. Anything you like!!!!

 

Here is another poem from Groovy Fish that makes me happy because one summer I slept in a tree house and because our daughters had a tree house in a macrocarpa tree. Holly gave me the title.

 

The Tree House

for Holly

 

sit

in a tree house

at dusk

and wait

for stars

in the black coal

night

 

 

 

sit

in a tree house

at dawn

and sing

with birds

in the pink paper

light

 

Paula Green from Groovy Fish and other poems Makāro Press, 2019

 

Top tips

Don’t send your poem the day your write it!!!

Listen to your poem and hear which bits sound good.

Is there a word you need to change?

Do a test pot for the ending – try 3 to 5 – pick your favourite.

Try three titles  – pick your favourite.

 

Deadline: 29th October

Include: your name, age, year and name of school

Don’t forget to put happy poem in subject line so I don’t MISS your email.

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Some favourite poems: I read all your emails at the end of the month and will post some favourites on 31st October. I will have at least one book to give away but it is a challenge not a competition.

 

Have fun writing poems!!

Poetry Box September challenge: fable poems

 

Since I was little I have loved reading fables and even making up fables.

I also like the way poets have been rewriting fairy tales to show a modern twist – especially when they make girls stronger and smarter.

Your challenge this month is to write a fable poem or a fairy-tale poem.

You can update one from the past and make it fresh and surprising or you can make up one of your own. Or you tell an old favourite in a poem and stick to the original.

Fables often have a secret little messages – like little lessons on how to be good humans. Like how to be a good friend or what happens if you are greedy or aggressive or mean!

 

Top tips!

Listen to what you write to spot lines you stumble on.

Build the scene with some strong detail (nouns and verbs help).

Test out three different endings.

Play with how many words on the line.

Save for a few days before you send it to me.

 

Deadline: 26th September

Include: your name, age, year and name of school

Don’t forget to put fable poem in subject line so I don’t MISS your email.

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Some favourite poems: I read all your emails at the end of the month and will post some favourites on 30th Sept. I will have at least one book to give away but it is a challenge not a competition.

Poetry Box April challenge: a celebration of food

 

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Pop’s Garden

 

out of my big green

back garden I pluck

little red tomatoes

sweet explosions

and I think of my Pop

and his tomato rich

greenhouse the berries

and the lettuces

we picked for lunch

and our secret walk

to the diary to get

an ice cream cone

that dribbled

onto my gardening

knees and shiny shoes

 

Paula Green

 

 

 

The past weeks have been weeks of such sadness and pain as we come together to mourn those who died in Christchurch’s terrorist attacks.

We have come together, listened, laid flowers, prayed, sang songs, reflected.

As a nation we are thinking hard about what happened in Christchurch, and what has happened in the past, and how to be a country that is tolerant, loving, kind and caring. We use the word solidarity because we are making a chain of hands that will be strong and welcoming.

Many of us were born in New Zealand Aotearoa but many of our grandparents and our great-grandparents and our ancestors were not. Some New Zealanders are new arrivals who have come from places of terrible suffering.

Our openness and our kindness will be our strength. Our willingness to welcome our different ways of dressing, our different food, our different religions. Because humanity will hold us together. Our Muslim communities are showing us the way. With such compassion and forgiveness and warmth.

The past few weeks have filled me with such hope that we will continue to stand up against racism, violence and needless suffering with our joined aroha.

 

I have thought and thought about what to set you as a poetry challenge. Because in tough times, when we feel helpless and lost for words, it can be hard to write. But it can also be good to write.

 

I have decided to host a celebration of food poetry in April.

Food is so important.

 

April will be a time to share our food memories, the food our families make, the food we love, the food that sets our taste buds tingling, the food we grow, the food of our cultures, food experiences, the way food connects us to those we love (like my Pop).

Let us show we are made of many foods, many memories, many shared tables, many harvests.

I will write back to all young poets after my deadline.

 

 

start by gathering a feast of words and then play with them (can you get 50?)

how many words will you put on line? Play with this.

which word do you like on the END of the line? Play!

try three endings and pick your favourite.

MY TOP TIP: READ YOUR POEM TO SOMEONE BEFORE YOU SEND IT TO ME

 

Deadline: 26th April

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Please include: your name, age, year, name of school

Don’t forget to put FOOD POEM in subject line so I don’t miss your email.

Open to Year 0 to Year 8 in Aotearoa.

I will write letters back at the end of the month.

I will have a book or two to give away.

 

 

A cabbage poem

My nana would boil cabbage to billy-OH

I slice it into thin threads with apple spears

and chive confetti and spring onion rings

a peppery dressing and I’m set to GO!

Paula Green

 

Remember my blog is all about the joy of writing and reading poetry – and setting you challenges! Here are some I am running in all year. Email me if you want to do one and want tips on what top do next. I will email you back asap!

 

Review a poetry book

Interview a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a poet from anywhere and any time ( I will give tips)

Show a cool class poetry exercise with poems you have done (from a child or from teacher and class)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box October tree poem challenge

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Tāne Mahuta, the giant kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest, Northland

 

I love reading poems with trees in them. I love looking at the trees out side and we have a lot because we live in a big clearing in the bush in the country. We can see the tail end of the Waitākere Ranges from our place. We don’t go into the ranges now because we want to give the kauri the best possible chance to survive.

I have set a tree poem challenge for October – and you still have time! So here is a refresh for you after the holidays!

I don’t read the poems and your letters until the end of the month and then I always reply!

 

Some tips

It might be a New Zealand native tree you especially love.

You might go out and take a photo or do a drawing that you send with your poem.

Your poem might bring the tree to life with strong detail

or it might tell a tree story

or a tree memory you have

or a concern you have.

Use your eyes to hunt for fascinating things.

Use your imagination to hunt for fresh similes.

You might like to play with how you set your poem out.

 

Send to: paulajoygreen@google.com

Deadline: Friday October 28th

Please include: your name, age, year and name of school

So I don’t miss it: Put tree poem in subject line

Poetry Box October challenge: tree poems

you might also like to check out my popUP holiday poetry challenge

 

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My daughter drove up north to see Tāne Mahuta, the giant kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest. I saw it a number of times when I was little and it seemed so ancient and so precious. Now our kauri trees are under threat. I live next to the Waitakere Ranges wher large parts of the bush have been closed off. I live on land that is regenerating bush, slowly and wonderfully. I feel like I can touch the ranges from my deck.

October is the month where Poetry Box will celebrate New Zealand/ Aotearoa native trees by writing poems. I am excited about this because I love trees.

 

Some tips

It might be a New Zealand native tree you especially love.

You might go out and take a photo or do a drawing that you send with your poem.

Your poem might bring the tree to life with strong detail

or it might tell a tree story

or a tree memory you have

or a concern you have.

Use your eyes to hunt for fascinating things.

Use your imagination to hunt for fresh similes.

You might like to play with how you set your poem out.

 

Send to: paulajoygreen@google.com

Deadline: Friday October 28th

Please include: your name, age, year and name of school

So I don’t miss it: Put tree poem in subject line

 

I will post favourites around about October 31st and while this is not a competition I will have a book for at least one writer.

 

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Looking towards the Waitākere Ranges down

through our bush. And our tamarillo tree.

 

 

 

 

Some favourite poems from the talking-with-whanau challenge

 

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For September I asked you to talk to members of your family and use some of their memories to write a poem.

I suggested you get their permission to use the memory and perhaps even show them the poem when you had finished it.

I wondered what would happen when you used a memory instead of reading about the past in a book or online or using your imagination to write of long ago times or events.

I am sending a book to Tom.

 

First up is a poem album from Tom  (age 10, Year 5, Hoon Hay School / Te Kura Koaka). I loved the way he talked with his family to get these memories. Imagine – you could make a little poem album and give it to your mum or day as a present!

 

Grand-mum mistakes

She was making hot dogs.
The saveloys were boiling.
Their skins soft and red
like paper.
The batter so bubbly
it nearly exploded.
She drained the saveloys
and slid an ice-block stick
inside each one.
She dipped them into the batter
until they wore yellow crunchy, crispy coats.

She had forgotten
the claws of heat
reaching through
the steel circles
of stove-top elements.
She had forgotten
the plastic
tomato-sauce bottle
resting there.

By the time she snatched
the bottle the bottom
had melted and stuck
to the stove.
The handle hot in her hand.
The sauce a free red river.

Dad the ice-cream thief

One winter night,
Uncle Craig woke to hear
the fridge door creak open.
He tip-toed to the kitchen
with his detective torch,
to find his older brother Glenn
sitting at the table
with a bowl
full of vanilla ice-cream,
eating as fast as the wind.

Dolphin surprise

Dad was in Akaroa harbour
helping his brother
get set up to water ski.
Just as the launch
pulled away from the wharf,
a Hectors dolphin
rose out of the water,
as if to say “hello” to dad,
and disappeared again,
as quickly as thunder.

Aunty Michelle’s water crash

At Tekapo, Aunty Michelle
was in the water biscuit
with her feet hanging
over the front side.
Dad was driving the boat.
Aunty Michelle wanted to go slow,
Uncle Craig wanted to go faster.
Dad drove faster.
Aunty Michelle flew like
she was on a trampoline
into the sea.
Uncle Craig jumped in to save her.

 

 

and now more poems from young New Zealand poets:

 

 

My Dad’s Pet Ram

My Dad’s lamb
It grew into a big ram.
Whenever somebody came
Into his paddock
He rushed and bashed them over.
When it was pet day
He bent the fence.

Lucy Age: 7  St Andrews College, Christchurch

 

My Grandad in the Olden Days

Hopscotch and hide and seek
Try not to take a peek
Oh and climbing trees
Please don’t break your knees
Jump rope oh jump rope
Don’t do it on any slope
Now back to hopscotch
Try it while eating butterscotch
Georgie, 9, Selwyn House School, Christchurch

 

 

Were the good old days really the good old days?

Once my grandfather got the cane.
The way he got it was insane,
He put a cat in his desk, which ended up with pain.
My great great uncle was in World War 2.
Above the skies was where he flew.
His plane got shot and fell to the ground
But landed in the water and he drowned.
My grandmother said the worst bit was bath time.
She said it was like lying in dirty slime.
When she went in she went in she tried to grin,
But you came out dirtier than when you went in.
So are the good old days really that good?
If they are, look back at your grandparents’ childhood.

Mahe  Age 10 Westmere school LS8

Earthquake

My dad, his friends
Looking for a seat outside.
The seat was wet,
they decided to move to a different spot.
Shaking started. Loud cracks.
Big boom. The building crumbled.
Bricks fell on the wet table. My dad,
His friends fell off
Their seats. My dad,
His friends saved
By the rain.

Aurora, 9 years old, Selwyn House School

 

My Dad’s Memories

My dad was born during the 6 days war in a bomb shelter (which makes sense). Guns fired,
bombs dropped,
cannons reloading –
it was a horrible war.

Ameer,  7 years old, Year 3, Ilam School in Christchurch

 

The School Run

White clouds softly rise above the sodden paddock

In two paces my shoes shine as my toes inside them freeze

Toby looks up

It’s my job to catch him as no one else can

Toby knows my secret

Snaffling through my warm, soggy, porridge pockets

 

I launch myself onto his back

Whistling for the others

Scraping the mud and hair off my satchel

One brother, two brother, one sister, three brother

All aboard

And off to school.

 

Gemma, Year 8, age 12, Adventure School

 

 

Grandma and The Go-cart

Getting in the go-cart,

Go grandma go!

Big brothers pushing,

Go grandma go!

Looking down the steep street,

Go grandma go!

Rolling slowly,

Gaining speed,                            Now a zooming blur,

No brakes… bad mistake,

Go grandma go!

Neighbours fence coming closer, NO GRANDMA

 

Uh-oh.

 

Daniel, Age 10, Year 5, Adventure School

 

My Dad as a Boy Waiter

Slowly stepping
Placing plates
Piling dishes high
Bringing napkins.

By Estelle, age 7, St Andrews College Prep School

 

The Peacemaker

Standing with no fear.
Guns all around.
Speaking his thoughts
to save the innocent
and save the soldiers.
Travelling the world,
just to save lives.
Risking his own
to save many more.
Flying his own planes
to the smaller wars of the world.
This is my father’s life
as a peacemaker.

Laura Age: 10 Selwyn House School

 

Maybe

Maybe there was German blood running through his veins,
Maybe his horse didn’t stop when he pulled the reins.
Maybe there was a fight between him and his friend,
Maybe my great grandfather’s friendship was too hard to mend.
Maybe it was all too hard, as hard as trying to hide from war
Maybe this story says much, much more.
Maybe it is more than what meets the eye,
Maybe his friend was a good, good guy.

Sophie Age: 11 Year 7 School: Selwyn House School

 

 

Poetry Box September challenge: going back in time by talking to whanau

 

 

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My mum and her brothers walked

for country miles to school, with hand-knitted hats,

and imaginations jumping through clean streams,

 

bright red apples from the orchard, nana’s baking,

home-packed lunches and the highest trees to climb.

 

This month I challenge you to write poems that step off from family stories.

I have divided the challenge into four parts.

 

 

One: Talking with your whanau

This challenge will take a little longer.

Sometimes poems do take a little longer to do.

I want you to travel back in time by talking to someone in your whanau who is way older than you (your mum, dad, gran, grandad, caregiver).

Ask them to share a childhood memory. You will have to ask questions to build a picture of the memory. Collect words.

Can you collect details of the place and the people and things that were different than they are now?

Ask them if it is okay for you to use this memory in a poem.

 

Two: Writing the poem

You can write a long poem or short poem or both.

You can play with how many words on the line.

You will need to listen to the sound of the line as you write.

Details will make the poem STRONG!

Can you show things you discovered from another time?

Your poem might not say as much as a story might.

 

Three: Getting permission

Because you have borrowed someone else’s memory you might like to show them your poem before you send it to me. But this is over to you.

 

Four: Sending the poem

Send to: paulajoygreen@xtra.co.nz

Deadline: Wednesday September 26th

Please include: your name, age, year and name of school

So I don’t miss it: Put whanau memory in subject line

 

I will post favourites around about September 30th and while this is not a competition I will have a book for at least one writer.