Cheesy Mac

I was all set to roll with a horsepower post today… but then my tweet stream started to fill with… (Oh no! I forgot!!) CheesyMac!

Here’s the quickest-ever batch of Mac&Cheese that I have every whipped up!

When you’re wanting a tasty, quick snack
that won’t line your washing up rack,
grab some pasta and cheese,
cause they’re sure to appease,
when hunger pangs plead cheesy mac!

© Kathryn Apel 2017  (All rights reserved)

Why are we all writing macaroni cheese poems, you ask? Good question! I do remember mention of it some weeks ago during Poetry Friday – something to do with National Macaroni & Cheese Day – which we likely aren’t celebrating in Australia… 🙂 BUT… I got a new poem… and my post for NEXT Friday is all-but finished. So I think that means I’m ahead.

Alas, I don’t have plans for Mac&Cheese for tea… though I’m tempted.

Go tempt your tastebuds with cheese treats and more at Tabatha’s blog, where I promise you won’t be indifferent.

Hairy Huntsman Spider – Repost

This week I’m cheating and linking back to one of my earlier bush poetry posts. I don’t feel like I’m cheating readers though, because Hairy Huntsman Spider is one of my better bush poems – and overseas readers will get a glimpse of an iconic Australian creature. And there are pictures. Big, scary pics… (Well – there was last time I looked – but it’s not a page I’m ever keen to revisit because #worstfear so I’m just going to assume they’re still there.)

But first… Don’t forget to visit Diane at Random Noodling for the full Poetry Friday round-up – where you are more likely to discover curiosities, than creepy-crawlies.

And without further ado, I’ll link you across to Hairy Huntsman Spider!

Click the postcard to read the full poem. (Beware. Bigger, scarier spider pictures in the linked post. This one’s a baby.)

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The Bowerbird – a poem

I was scrolling through the Instagram feed yesterday when this brightly colourful post by imagination.mama caught my eye;

Cue the memories! Because I might know a think about that… In fact, I may have even written a poem or two when my boys were in preschool.

For my international Poetry Friday friends, bowerbirds are endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea. There are a number of varieties, but I’ll link you to Graeme Chapman‘s page of photos – where you can see pics of the male Satin Bowerbird and his collection of blue treasures. And David Attenborough’s BBC video, showing the elaborate bower created. (It’s astonishing!)

A lot of years have passed since that poem was written… but not much has changed. The bowerbirds still make something out of nothing – and I can’t regret it! Having seen the benefits of creativity and problem-solving throughout the years, and the complexity of the projects they now undertake, I am quick to extol the virtues of creative play and recycled projects at a very young age. If there is one thing I did well as a mother, it was to feed my bowerbirds! And I’m thrilled that kids are starting to be inspired to play and be creative, through my author visits.

‘You said to go home and make things with boxes… so we did!’

To squeeze more poetry into your weekend, be sure to visit Heidi at her juicy little universe, where you’ll find the full round-up of the links. Thanks, Heidi!

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! Wonderful Wordplay!

Poetry is about word play – and I am loving the playful words that roll around (and bounce and soar) in this picture book about Aussie Rules, written by Katrina Germein and illustrated by Janine Dawson. AFL is not the game of choice in Queensland, where ‘real men play Rugby League’* – so I’m not as familiar with the rules and terms as some. But it is very obvious that Katrina and Janine have between them spent considerable time on the sidelines of the game (perhaps even starred themselves?) and were definitely on the same team when they produced Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! – a  picture book that exudes energy and enthusiasm … and alliteration!

The text is an ABC of AFL! From start to finish it tells the story of an afternoon of football.

Aussie Rules is awesome. I always arrive on time.

As the game progresses, the rain starts to fall…

Patterson pauses then passes to Piper. She positions herself and propels the ball past the post. Perfect play!                 <Click to Enlarge>

By the final quarter there’s quite a quagmire.

I’m super-impressed that Katrina managed to handball so many AFL terms onto the page, in a sequential sporty story that ticks boxes as an alliterative alphabetical text. And I love the details (and activity) that Janine jostled into the illustrations – making meaning of those sporty terms, for those of us not overly-familiar with AFL.

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! is a picture book that make its mark. I’m sure AFL families will be giving it two flags up!

To read more poetry posts, click across to Carol’s Corner where you’ll find the full round-up of Poetry Friday posts. Thanks, Carol!

* None of the real men in my family actually play Rugby League. It’s just a bit of interstate jest and no harm intended. 😉

Seasonal Rewind

For Poetry Friday, I’m revisiting a post from 2015. My week in Melbourne has had me thinking a lot about Autumn. We only have two seasons where I live in Queensland; Summer and Winter – and for a few weeks they wrangle back and forth; summer/winter/hot/cold…

But Melbourne… It was all gorgeous warm tones, brisk breezes and crunchy Autumn delights. All those photos of bare branches and golden mounds of leaves that fill Instagram have taken on a whole new meaning, and lovely sensory sentimentality… since Melbourne!

At the release of Lorraine Marwood’s poetry collection, ‘Celebrating Australia’ we were challenged to write a poem using Lorraine’s seasonal poem, ‘Autumn’ as the mentor text.

Autumn

Autumn is loud crushing sounds
a foot scuffing rap-tapping shuffle.
One day a light dusting
of pathway obstruction
by week’s end a whole mound
of slip, slide, crunch, crackle. 
<read the full poem here>

© Lorraine Marwood

I wrote about our switchy-changy summer-winter Queensland Autumn.

A Queensland Autumn

Autumn is ummmm … undecided;
a clinking of coat hangers shuffled.
One day huffing and hissing
of sunshine’s sizzle,
by week’s end a leafy pom-pom pizzazz
of swish, sway, rah-rah rustling.

Autumn is heat-haze blown away.
a shuffling of summer winter outlooks.
One day a brilliance; searing sharp contrast
of sun-baked vibrance,
by week’s end a festive carnival crowd
of mismatched, multi-hued, musty winter woolies.

© Kathryn Apel

It didn’t really turn out how I’d like, and I’d thought to write anotherie (better one) this week, snap-shotting the Melbourne leaves. But… I can’t like it either! I think I just need to let the words write the poem – not the structure. (I’ll have to come back to it.)

Thank-you Mary Lee for collecting our Poetry Friday links at A Year of Reading. You can read more about Lorraine’s poetry collection here – and mayhaps be inspired to write your own seasonal poem. Alas, Autumn is now huddled in a rustic orange blanket fringed with silver. Winter wind has whisked the warmth away!

Melbourne Highlights

Wednesday: Caught up with my dee-lightful writing friend, Dee White – and her bunny! So lovely to stay with Dee and her family, and have lots of chats over ensuing days…

Thursday: Had a day of author talks at New Gisborne Primary School, where last year they decorated a classroom door as the cover of ‘Bully on the Bus’ – and this year there were lots of colourful hands… but I forgot to click a pic. But I did get a photo of the cupcakes! #thankyouKylie

Enjoyed lunch with some fabulous fun teachers – who wouldn’t normally make the time to eat out! #icouldrelate #butitwassolovely

Ran a staff professional development on poetry across the curriculum areas. I always love this session – and it didn’t disappoint!  Continue reading

Whirlwind Week of Wonderful

Today is Friday – which makes it a poetry day! … After a whole WEEK of wonderful poetry days!! You can catch the link-up at Reflections on the Teche, where Margaret is hosting us this week. Thank-you Margaret. 🙂

Last night I arrived home from an author tour in and around Melbourne – and I had a blast! Talk about eyes opened. That is one HUGE city! But I covered north and south and centre in a wonderful crammed week of school visits, bookshop workshop, kidlit conference, networking, research, friending and just the teensy-tiniest smidgen of sleeping!

And I ticked a few big boxes! Continue reading

All the Busy – and Beautiful!


Life. Is. Busy. #thatisall

Quickest Poetry Friday post ever, coming right at you!

Last week (when I was so busy releasing ‘Too Many Friends’ into the wide, wonderful world) I missed Poetry Friday. But I popped in for a guest post on Be a Fun Mum, Kelly’s blog, with a tutorial on Recycled poetry – specific to Mothers’ Day. Yes, that is this Sunday in Australia. But don’t panic – you are not too late! Click across to Kel’s blog and you can create a gift from the heart for your Mum’s day that is sweeter than chocolates and twice as nice! (I have a couple of different examples there – including another personal favourite, ‘Paradise’.)

In the middle of the busy, I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to stop, and smell the flowers, with thanks to this posy of poetry in the post, beautifully written and illustrated by Avery. What a delight it was to see the pretty petals and smell the the beautiful taste of wind. Thank-you so much to Avery for brightening my week, as a part of the Silver Star Poetry ProjectContinue reading

Too Many Friends – Book Trailer

On Monday, my new verse novel is released – so this past week I’ve been busily behind the scenes doing things for that. And the ‘thing’ that took the most time, was the book trailer. After two full days of staring at my screen (Did someone say perfectionist…?) I am almost at the stage of needing glasses to see through my (new) glasses…

BUT… I have a book trailer!

Do you want to SEE it???

(Correct answer is YES! Because want to share it with you!)

 

My lovely editor Kristy had the idea for the gorgeous chapter headers (there are more!) throughout the book, and the amazing Jo Hunt excelled herself, going above and beyond anything Kristy and I had even dared to dream. Let this be my very heartfelt thank-you to you both! Aside from looking gorgeous in the book, they made my job with the trailer so much easier! (Or was it harder, deciding which images to use…?)

‘Too Many Friends’ goes on sale Monday, 1st May, but I heard from a teacher-librarian friend yesterday, who had attended a Professional Development in Melbourne, where it was ‘highly recommended’ by The Kids’ Bookshop. Kim bought a copy and read it last night, and her feedback was beautiful;

Such a gift for observing & capturing children’s thoughts/ feelings with yr exquisite use of words So much goodness in this book!😍 (@kimyeo)

Poetry Friday this week is being hosted on Teaching Authors, so be sure to skip across and collect the links and be inspired by all the wonderful ways you too can play with words in poetry. A special thank-you to Heidi Mordhorst and her creative class, who last week inspired me with their poems for two voices, which prompted another poem for my Antarctic WIP. (That’s a whole other kind of wonderful-good.)

As for me? I’m on a countdown to Monday… 😀

Title: Too Many Friends
Publisher: UQP
ISBN: 978 0 7022 5976 0
RRP: $14.95

Some Losers Drive ‘Cruisers

My early days as an adult poet were spent writing bush poetry. There is nothing quite like an Australian bush poetry competition to hone your rhythm and rhyme, where every syllable was counted, and stress marked – and any near-rhymes noted for deductions. I learnt a lot from the bush poets, and endeavour to keep this discipline in my writing today.

Recently I was flicking back over some of my bush poetry. Very little of it has had an audience, other than within competitions, or with friends and family. I thought Poetry Friday might be a good time to share some – and since we’ve just come out of a flood season, ‘Some Losers Drive ‘Cruisers’ seemed like a good place to start. This tongue-in-cheek poem is not to malign the Toyota Landcrusier (‘Cruiser) product – which cannot be held responsible for the actions of men in their four-by-four utes.

To read more poetry posts, click across to Tabatha’s blog, The Opposite of Indifference, where you’ll find a flood of poetry links and love.

The ‘Cruiser (Landcruiser) is a workhorse on Australian properties.

Some Losers Drive ‘Cruisers*

A torrent of rain brought an end to the drought
and inches poured down as the waters spread out.
The creeks became rivers, parched flats were soon lakes
and men in their utes began making mistakes.

The first left the road and traversed a new track;
thick slough on the ground though meant no going back.
A bulldozer, parked where it finished the job,
was revved up to extricate this sluggish yob.

The ground was a slop heap, the dozer not light …
It bogged and that fellow had worsened his plight
Relief when it came was surprisingly bleak;
“Get in – leave yer ute or we won’t cross the creek.”

The road inundated for many a day,
the ’Cruiser, forlorn, was then stuck in the clay,
’til waters subsided and man could return –
to next bog the tractor! You’d think he would learn …

Chap Two had a problem – a pump under threat;
with floodwaters rising it soon would be wet.
He first bogged the ute though – and, cause for alarm,
the salvage machines were marooned on the farm

The 4×4 wagon was given the task
of freeing the ’Cruiser – now that’s a big ask!
It soon was entrenched, also deep in the mire
and “Help!” was the plea, as the water rose higher.

With shovels, a neighbour and tin roofing sheet,
the wagon extracted – a notable feat!
While sitting in water that lapped at the floor,
the ute was then winched twenty metres or more.

The third – I don’t know what to make out of him …
He honestly thought that his new ute could swim!
His ’Cruiser “the best” never failing to please –
he’d cross this small puddle with consummate ease!

The floodwaters lapped at the six-foot depth mark –
one ‘k’ on a bend, yet he went for a lark!
When murky, brown water lapped up at the roof,
the ute was abandoned; sunk in reproof.

The volunteer rescue arrived in a rush,
to winch the subaqueous ute from the gush.
That sodden new ’Cruiser was towed back to town –
for dunking ensured the electrics went down.

Invincible men in their 4×4 utes –
what drives them to play in the mud like galoots?
Alas, I suspect that these overgrown boys
just have to act tough, with their Tonka-like toys.

© Kathryn Apel 2003 – All rights reserved.

Note: Chap Three was not known to us – he merely tried to cross a notorious flood stretch near our house. His new Landcruiser was insured – but rumour has it insurance didn’t want to know him, since he had driven through road closure signs to attempt his crossing.