So Much Good Stuff!

Life is busy but rich with blessings, of late. 

I recently went through the herculean process of completing a grant application to organise and present ‘Celebrating Our Stories’ at 10 different venues within the Gladstone Region – and I am thrilled to say I have been successful. I am so thankful to the Gladstone Regional Council and the Queensland Government for this opportunity to inspire young readers to value their stories, while also celebrating ‘The Bird in the Herd’. (And we will have fun with that!) I’m especially excited to bring illustrator Renée Treml to the Gladstone Region – all be it via Zoom. The tour kicks off this coming Wednesday, at Miriam Vale, and will take place across 4 weeks. In addition to the RADF-funded activities, there are also opportunities for schools (Primary or Secondary) within the region to book an author event – either a presentation, or a poetry workshop. If you’re here because this interests you, you’ll find more information on my Appearances page. Drop me a message there.

KatApel_PictorialAs if that wasn’t keeping me busy enough, I was asked to conduct an online poetry PD for a NSW school, who are currently writing a 5 week poetry unit to run across all Primary classes. (How exciting and awesome is that! I would SO be sending my kids to that school!) I’ve presented lots of different poetry workshops online – and lots of intensive poetry professional development sessions for teachers face-to-face – but this is my first time presenting the teacher-intensive session online – which required a complete overhaul in how I did things! But it was worth it. The group was wonderful to work with, and even though we were distant, and there were 50 educators in the one room – we were still able to connect, and bounce idea (and words) around the room. As is often the way, there were quite a number of teachers in the room who initially expressed reservations about poetry, but by the end they were enthusiastic and appreciative. And the feedback from the school since has been wonderful. “You were amazing inspiring and have changed the mindset of our staff.” I’m so glad they enjoyed it, because I was buzzing all night. It was SO GOOD to be seeped in poetry again, and sharing my passion with a group of educators – who are now going out to spread their newfound enthusiasm throughout their school. What a privilege to invest in their poetry journey. I’m excited for what they’re going to produce in the coming weeks, both as curriculum, and then as poetry in the classrooms.🎉

Librarium Reading ClubAND – now I’ve created new material for an online presentation, I’m keen to do it again! (Just sayin’.😉) If your school is keen to pep-up its writing with some poetry, either online or in person, please do get in touch! (That Appearances page I mentioned earlier… You can find more information there.😺)

By way of delightful surprise… I also discovered this podcast, shared on the International Day Against Bullying. They’ve been using ‘Bully on the Bus’ in their English language classes, and “Students in 1st and 2nd year CSE have prepared a programme after their Librarium Reading Club, where they read Bully on the Bus, a book of poems by Kathryn Apel.” Click across to hear the podcast, with the poetry reading starting at 1:14. I was rather chuffed to discover Bully used in this new context. 

I’m going to end this post with a new-to-me Shel Silverstein poem, from ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’. Such clever layout, with words tangled in the ridiculous long legs (only two of them!) of this absurd looking turtle. What an unexpected poem it is! (I may know something about long legs. Though mine don’t pack away quite as neatly as a turtle’s does.) I do love the fact that it just ever-so-slightly spills onto the preceding page… and that’s okay. Because poetry is meant to be savoured! (This poem, inspired me to hunt up my turtle photo (above) and carve out a moment in rhyme…)

Irene is hosting us for Poetry Friday this week at Live Your Poem. What joy! Click across to be inspired by more poetry posts – and have a fabulous week!

First Public Reading of ‘The Bird in the Herd’

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: This week I took part in my first in-person, in real life, live (how many different ways can I capture the momentousness!😹) AUTHOR EVENT since my book tour in America in November 2019. Prior to Tuesday, my last in-person speaking engagement was a school presentation with Irene Latham and Laura Shovan, in Scaggsville, Maryland – and then the fabulous fun time shared with so many of you Poetry Friday friends at NCTE, in Baltimore.

But Tuesday, that all changed. And my day exceeded all expectations!!

What better place to share the first reading of this Australian grazing story than at BeefAustralia, in Rockhampton – the Beef Capital of Australia? I went to Beef to read our Aussie grazing picture book in the Kids’ Zone. (Yay!)

Then… I was asked to speak with Paul Cullin on ABC Capricornia, live from Beef (Cool!) …

And THEN (Yowzers!) I got to share our new book with the Prime Minister of Australia. And get the photos to boot! 

And from that, (Snowball!) I was interviewed by the Morning Bulletin … 

Talk about a busy day of networking! We did also get to check out some of the cattle yards and drone technology that my husband was keen to see. 

And yes, midst all that excitement, I did share ‘The Bird in the Herd’ with the kids! (Photos shared with school’s permission – thanks to my wonderful snap-happy hubby for grabbing these.) There are more pics, and a short video snippet on my Instagram page, here.

Happy, happy me! It is such a joy to be connecting with people and sharing my love of words again – but most especially, to be sharing it with kids!

A terse verse to capture the moment:

What Do You Get When You Share Your Latest Book with the Prime Minister?

Leader reader.

That’s me for today. Now flap fly and flurry over to wee words for wee ones where Bridget is collecting the Poetry Friday roundup. Apologies in advance, because I don’t know how many comments I can leave this weekend. The next 6 weeks are busy-busy-busy, and I’m just trying to keep head and body connected – and feathers, too! 

Terse Verse

Okay – so before I start today’s post, I have to say that this is my first day, squeezed into a block by WordPress! Gargh! I really did like my classic editor format, and I have I held out for as long as I can… but recently WordPress overrode my preferences, and we are now all in little boxes.😢 (I hope I can still manage to make my blog and posts LOOK like I’d like!)

Today, (which is Friday… Who knew?!?) I am joining the Poetry Friday rounds with some terse verse. Feel free to add your own in the comments. I think they’re a lot of fun – especially when…

Well, this was a surprise! (Big W Bundaberg)

How lovely that:
1) my son’s friend spotted it
2) his girlfriend modelled it, and
3) my son shared it!
You Look at the Calendar Expecting to See Thursday... But it Says FRIDAY...
Rhyme time. Sublime!

You've Missed Too Many Days and You're Determined to Join the Crew.
Hurry flurry.

You May Have Developed a Form for Times Such as This.
Yo! LaMiPo*. 

But Sometimes You Just Want to Stick to the Rules and Conform to a Form.
Coerce terse verse.

The Sun is Shining Over Green Grassy Paddocks and There's Water in the Dams.
New hue - true blue view.

Edits Come and Edits Go;
Begun. Done.

Sold out. New stock in store. And There are MORE! 
Look! Book nook. (Look! Look!)

The ToDo List is a Never-ever-ever Ending Story
Right! Write light. Write night.

You Know You're Going to Get a Feast of Friday Poets at Jama's.
Troop scoop soup. Whoop! Whoop!

Today’s round-up is hosted by Jama – where you will always find sustenance for the poetry rounds.)

Don’t forget to check out the Progressive Poem too, and see what our Case of Kindness has got up to!

* A short form of the LaMiPoFri. It was brought to my attention that there are last minutes (and poetry) on other days, too. Not just Friday. And I agree!

First post with the blocky-locks is now done.😅

2021 Progressive Poem – Day One

This year I thought it would be fun to take the plunge and write the first line in our Progressive Poem that unfolds throughout National Poetry Month in America. My one line will help set the tone for what is to come … and in light of all we have gone through in the past twelve months, I am for sure wanting to invest something light and lively into our compilation …

Many poets expressed delight with last year’s two-lined version of the progressive poem, instigated by Donna, where each poet wrote two potential lines, and the next poet chose one …  then wrote their own two options to offer the next poet, and so on … I think we all felt that this lightened the pressure of writing that one perfect line. (I know it sped the process up for me!) With that in mind, I have started the month with two options… But don’t feel that you signed up to write one line, and been duped!😹 You can still choose to write just one line, on your day. The choice is yours.

My two, very different offerings to kickstart creativity are;

 

Option One:  In a swish and a swirl, they spiralled and twirled …

Option Two:  I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!

 

I like that they are have a very different feel to them, and I think I’ve left the door wide open for Linda Mitchell’s creativity tomorrow. (Though you might want to ignore the rest of this post until after you have written your lines, Linda, if you don’t want to be influenced by my thought process.😺)

Continue reading

Poetry Swap – Thanks Robyn!

Thanks to Tabatha Yeatts‘ Seasonal Poetry Swap, this week I received a parcel in my letterbox from the lovely Robyn Hood Black. What a treat of poetry and gifts it was.

I loved Robyn’s poem, with the clever See Saw title. (It reminds me of a PB that released in Australia last year, ‘I See, I See‘ by Robert Henderson. Definitely worth clicking the link to see it! (I wouldn’t usually link to Amazon – but it has a sample of the inner pages.)) I soon saw that Robyn and I had thought alike when we approached our Poetry Swap this year. I think Margaret Simon is posting my poem to her today – so click across to her blog to see what I mean. (If you visited early, you’ll have blinked and missed it  but it’s there now.😹) AND find the round up for this week’s great Poetry Friday posts! (Thanks for hosting, Margaret!)

But first, enjoy this See Saw, up and down, north and south poem, with Robyn. (And me!🙃)

See Saw

by Robyn Hood Black.
(Shared with permission.)

Winter?

Summer.

Peanut Butter?

Vegemite.

Fiddle?

Didgeridoo.

White-tailed Deer?

Red Kangaroo.

Buddy?

Mate.

Poetry?

Poetry!

 

We speak the same language, Robyn!

I was also delighted by the goodies that Robyn gifted me. After last week’s post, you’re probably not surprised that the Issa translation that resonates best with me is;

first winter rain
the world fills up
with haiku

And I adore the cat bookmark that Robyn found. Complete with cat AND mouse! (And even three fishes.) Savvy Cat took his modelling commission very seriously.

fish and mice
hooked by the
purrrrfect book

Thank-you Robyn. Your poetry parcel was a joy!

Rain Refrains – From Seasons Past

Hello world. It’s a new year – and I’m praying for a deluge to wash the slate clean and fill desperately dry dams. We had 60mm to close-out 2020, which refreshed soul and soil and put a green tint across the land. But numerous dams were bone dry, and our big dam is at a 50+ year record low, so we need a sustained bucketing to impact on their water level.

In years past, January has been a Month of Poetry (and I’m currently wondering how I missed that this year…🤷‍♀️) so for today’s post, I have been scouring my previous MoP collections looking for a build-up of rain refrains. Prepare to be inundated.🌦

All poems are copyright Kathryn Apel, all rights reserved.

——

six-legged scavengers stream
across kitchen benches
flowing to the food

——

croaky croak
of frog with frog
in throat

——

moon shines through clouds
still waters whisper
rain dance

——

Clouds

like an octopus
clouds salty depths,
inky puffs swirl across
a sea of stars
swallowing the moon and
shrouding the shadowy landscape
in a pool of
black

——

Storm Clouds on the Horizon

The neighbours upstairs are throwing
the furniture around,
stomping and tromping
voices rumbling in agitation,
shattering the stifling stillness
of a summer afternoon.
Sparks fly
as they thunder and roar,
shaking the building
with their tempest.

——

rain
tiptoes,
whispers hush;
chirruping frog
gargles droplets as
clouds razzle troops to fall
faster, heavier, louder
until gargling frog
is swallowed in a
crescendo of
pummelling
rain, rain
rain

——

——

mizzling drizzling scene
as nature washes clean;
shower

——

a landscape
in watercolours;
reflection

——

rain trains
streaming past
plane windows

——

if I had time
I could watch
the grass grow

——

still water
trees cast off leaves
and skinny dip

——

⛈ Bring it on! 🌧I’m keen to see our dam like this again (overflowing with abundant birdlife!) – and to celebrate ‘Up and Down on a Rainy Day’ in appropriate style! (Though I am smiling at this lovely review on Reading Time.)

Sylvia is hosting Poetry Friday this week at Poetry for Children. I find myself wondering what poems children will be seeking after the events of this week. Poems of hope? Dark poems that reflect their fears? Poems prompting laughter? Gems of kindness and empathy? Poems of healing? Perhaps they will write their voice for generations and seasons to come.

Fidget Feet Reading and Writing Prompt

Today I’m linking to a reading of my poem ‘Fit as a Fidget’, shared with some of the other happy hoppy contributors to HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING compiled by Janet Wang and Sylvia Vardell and published by Pomelo Books.

AND… I thought I’d share a writing prompt to follow it up.

Writing Prompt:

My fidget feet are fab – but there’s
some things feet cannot do.
That’s why it’s really handy to
have fiddle fingers, too!

Do you have fiddle fingers? Wouldn’t it be fun for those fiddle fingers to tap out their own poem? What would they have to say for themselves?

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge. Be sure to click back and read Robyn’s hiking poem ‘Trail Ready‘, also included in HOP TO IT! (Robyn has thought of absolutely everything!😅)

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award Winners

For Poetry Friday, I give you the Awards Presentation Ceremony for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, streamed from Gunnedah this morning. What a rich resource this is, for poetry lovers, educators and proud Aussies. I highly recommend it! As much as I would have loved to be in Gunnedah today for a live presentation ceremony, I cannot regret this fantastic video.

It was an honour and a privilege to be the Primary Judge for 2019/2020. And to see these young poets presenting their work so creatively and professionally.

Congratulations to all involved!

Carol Varsalona is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at https://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com. Thanks, Carol. 🙃

Have a fabulous weekend!

New Verse Novels – In Progress and In the Hand

Hi all. I just had to pop in quickly and BE amongst the PoetryFriday tribe. Which means, I have to share something poetic!

Something that’s making me smile is a new verse novel I started working on last Friday. Mid-June, at my first post-lockdown catch-up with a friend, (also a writing buddy) we somehow ended up talking about one of the best units of work I’d taught (with a wonderful teaching partner) and my friend looked at me and said, ‘There’s your next book!’ … I’d never even considered it… but the more I did, the more I thought she could be right. After six months of picture books, I have been itching to get into a verse novel. 

When I started working on it last Friday, I didn’t know I’d be gifted with this week alone to write. 3,650 words say thank-you very much to husband and son for important work elsewhere. What has been especially lovely is that the main character in this verse novel is a minor character from a previous verse novel, so I feel like I’ve been meeting old friends again!

It’s still a long way from finished – but I’m excited.

Speaking of verse novels, I have just started reading our friend Sally Murphy’s latest, ‘Worse Things’. I say, ‘just started’ because I started this afternoon, and thought to just peep inside… but it seems I read for a little longer than I had planned, because my marker says I’m not quite half-way through.

Poetry helps us rest in small moments – like this definition poem Sally wrote. I love it for itself(!) – but it also resonates beautifully with the main character in my new WIP.

 

Lonely

[lone*ly] (adj.)

To stand apart
sit apart
be apart
but not a part.

© Sally Murphy 2020

 

I am also loving Sarah Davis’ artwork throughout, that adds so much to the text. And the variety of styles employed! Needless to say, my bookmark (errr… old docket) will not hold this place for long!

Hoping that you too have been dipping into wonderful word-works, and spreading your own creative wings. Thanks Heidi for hosting us. Back to School; Poetry Friday is Here! (And so is the Poetry Friday round-up!) I’m thinking of all my American friends as you head back to school – however your district is balancing that act!

Poetry Swap Gifts to Give

Yay for Tabatha Yeatts and Poetry Swaps. With the email option this year, I took part in all five poetry swaps and it has been joy, joy, joy! I do just love the excuse to be creative for a fun purpose – especially when life is busy, as it has been, and any creativity is a chance to breathe and uncoil stress! So thank-you again Tabatha. I appreciate your swaps every time I am involved!

Today I am sharing my collection of gifting.

Between the first and second swap, I took part in an evening online birdie watercolour course with lovely Jess Racklyeft, an Australian illustrator, not because I have any talent; purely as a pep up for me during this trying year. It has pepped me up more than I could have imagined – and it became a fun theme to incorporate watercolour into my poetry swaps.

 

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(The bee-eater was surprisingly difficult to capture! The bird in flight was my second attempt, but seemed to fall a bit flat, so then there was a third…  Lucky Jone scored 2&3 – twice!😹)

Of course, the double-bonus of the Poetry Swap is that you don’t just give, you receive, too. (That is always a delightful surprise, since I’m usually so caught up in the creating/giving!) Thank-you to the wonderful poetry friends who have brightened my days with their words throughout the past months. You can see them in my previous posts.

And because Christie missed out on a watercolour… and as a thank-you to Tabatha and all my gifters, here is a little piece of our farm in one more watercolour poem. The (unnamed) calf that posed for the pic is currently skipping around our house paddock, slurping mother’s milk, but the poem is inspired by memories of my bottle-fed babies, Cocoa and Amber and Dozer. Especially Amber, my beefy-red baby, with the prettiest eyes.

I’m about to head across to catch up with Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone , who has all the links to my lovely PoetryFriday peeps’ posts. See you on the Round-up!