Abecedarian – Tree to be…

Each month, Michelle puts out a poetry challenge on Today’s Little Ditty. And this month was no exception. Write an Abecedarian poem, which is an acrostic-type poem working through the alphabet – in alphabetical order.

Usually life is so busy, the month has whisked past before I get to try the challenge – but this month, I was prepared! Perhaps I cheated – because in truth, this one was all-but written. 🙂

Abecedarian: Abby & Callan – Tree to Be…

Abby sprawled on the bed,
as thoughts wafted adrift in her head,
bemused at how she would fill her day
bereft of friends. Some holiday!
Callan slouched through the door –
slumped on the floor.
‘D’ya think they’d let us
drive the ol’ dunger – get us
escape from nowhere,
even if it’s just around … here and there?’
‘Forget it,’ Abby groaned,
‘Fat chance of anything fun,’ she moaned.
‘Grandma’s house is so boring, and she
gets all uptight and uppity.
How she imagines we’re going to get hurt –
her hovering ever alert …
It’s driving me insane!
I’d rather live and bear the pain.’
‘Just for another two days, Abbs. No
jape. Things’ll settle when we’re home, you know.’
‘Kinda too late by then,’ Abby said –
Kicking the end of her bed.
‘Lucky us. Let loose right in time for school.
Like that’s so cool.’
Memory tickled and Abby stilled …
‘Maybe I’ve got an idea,’ she whispered, thrilled.
‘Never say,’ Callan praised,
nudging his sis, eyebrows raised
‘Out with it. What’s
on your mind. I hope you’ve got lots
planned because I’m in!’
Possibilities were explored therein.
Quiet voices.
Quick words exploring choices.
Rather than risk being busted they
relocated outside. ‘What do you say?’
‘So long as no-one gets hurt
something tells me they won’t kick up dirt.’
They wandered along the dusty track,
talking it all out, before heading back.
Under the old fig tree, Callan paused, peered
up, inspecting thickly muscled branches that disappeared …
Vaulting into the canopy, Callan looked down from his
vantage point. ‘C’mon up, Abby. This is
what we’ve been imagining, only better by far!’
‘Wait for me,’ Abby grunted, scrambling up, ‘Ah,’
Excitement was thick. ‘Don’t slip!’ Callan warned, ‘Or you’ll be
X-rayed and in a cast so fast – and pity help me!’
‘You see if you can stop me now,
Yes, I’m free as a bird on a bough.’
‘Zilch can touch us,’ Callan smiled, ‘This is our
zone. Tree to be… The fun starts now!’

© Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved.

Tree to be…

Needless to say, I’ve taken the Abecedarian and tweaked the form to suit me – so there’s two lines for each letter, and a touch of rhyme.

The poem itself was not inspired by my life – other than that leafy escape ending. There was a tree at my Grandparents’ – and Grandma would have had fits if she knew how some of us (not me!) balanced along branches and onto the roof of the house. For me, it was enough to be clinging like a limpet, inching my way across to the concrete tank… a favourite spot with the cousins when we were all fortunate enough to be there together. (I had the best cousins!)

My boys had the old fig tree down the track in our house paddock, that featured in an earlier ‘Tree to be…‘ post – along with their WIP treehouse.

The tree pictured in today’s post is one of the locations for the Text As Art project I’m involved with, for the upcoming Crush Festival. It’s found in the main street of Bundaberg – but with careful angling, all things city could be concealed. 😛

Amy is hosting Poetry Friday this week at The Poem Farm, where you’ll find links to all sorts of poetry goodness. Thanks for hosting, Amy. And congratulations on your new book, ‘READ! READ! READ!’. It’s school holidays here in Queensland – the perfect time to climb trees… and READ!

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Calling Home – Calling Memories

Adrienne Williams is an artist in the Bundaberg-region who I met recently through my involvement in the Text as Art project –  a part of WriteFest and the 2017 Crush Festival. Adrienne is in fact going to be creating the art from a portion of the text I have written – but that’s another story! (Click on the links if you’re wanting to know more.)

The framed artwork above Adrienne is three-dimensional, with intricate paper cutouts. Exquisite!

Adrienne’s collection, ‘Calling Home‘ is currently on display at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery (BRAG), accompanied by Andy Wilson’s soundscape. ‘The Vault’, is the perfect space for this immersive, surround-sound visual feast. Stunning!

Enter another world…

Enter ‘The Vault’ and you will experience a soundscape of the Subantarctic, including penguins (cue the memories!) skuas, seals and other native wildlife, and art of different sizes and dimensions, inspired by the penguins (individually and collectively) and the megaherbs of the Subantarctic region. There is so much to take in, and the grey-scale pallet is perfect – as are the select 3D pieces, with intricate cut-work.

Elephant seal greeting. You too can sit with the seals.

There are also seals! Yes – large as life real-deal elephant seal beanbags that you can nestle into, kick back and absorb the experience.

BRAG is running ‘Get Inked‘ – a kids’ holiday workshop with Adrienne, on 21st September. (Bookings are essential.)  But meantime, I thought a little bit of poetry might be nice… Adrienne’s penguins were just crying out for some shape poetry wordplay.

Calling home: no cable, data, or credit needed.

I had so much fun with these! They’re inspired by the image in the background of Adrienne’s photos, above. A modified version may even work its way into one of two projects I’m working on at the moment… which is a lovely little bonus! (They were just the impetus I needed to dive back into my Antarctic verse novel. Yay!)

I’m a little kicking-self here, because Michelle Barnes is hosting Poetry Friday this week, and I’d have loved to post my Abecedarian poem, since that’s the challenge she’s running on Today’s Little Ditty this month – but I really wanted to get Adrienne’s post in  today, before her workshop – so… no Abecedarian this week. I’ll have that here for you next week.

Meanwhile, Bundy peeps, you have until 22 October to get into the Art Gallery and be transported to the Subantarctic. Don’t miss this opportunity!

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Poetry Friday – Child’s Play

Welcome to the Poetry Friday Round-up. This is my first time hosting the Poetry Friday crew – and using a linky widget – so I sure am hoping it’s going to work first go!

Last week I posted some pics and collages from my experiences of Book Week in Australia. I mentioned that I was off to enjoy Boating Under the Bridge on the Saturday, so I’ll kickstart today’s blog with a collage from that day, because it was brilliant! So much free play stemming from a picture book that I’ve loved as both a mum and teacher, ‘Who Sank the Boat?’, by Pamela Allen.

A whole crowd of kids and carers spent a busy morning creating their own fun with simple and effective resources. It was just like #thegoodolddays #wheniwasakid and #kidswerekids. (Actually, it brought back more memories from when my boys were little, and building countless cubby houses, in trees, and from tin – and anything else they could find. And so much play!)

If you are a parent, carer or early-years educator in the Bundaberg region, get involved with the First Five Forever program, link in with Wide Bay Kids, and get yourself into your local library, because these three organisations, with the support of a whole lot of other community groups, are going to make a HUGE difference in the literacy and creativity of our up-and-coming generations! I was super impressed! Play matters – and these groups foster the fun of play-based learning, and recognise the crucial role of parents in that play. You can find more information on the Wide Bay Kids website – or ask at the Bundaberg Library. And get ready to have a whole lot of FUN with your kids!

I’d been planning to share a poem about my little nook of the world, but I’m realising it’s probably the perfect post to follow with a poem about creativity and play…

If I Dress-up.

Pirate02When I let my thoughts go crazy
then I can be anyone!
There’s no need to buy a costume,
just dress-up and have some fun.

With my stripy shirt in tatters
and my faded denim shorts,
I could wear a pirate’s eye patch
as I swish a sword of sorts.

IMG_5096

If I stuff Mum’s old brown stockings
and make goggle ping-pong eyes,
I could go and scare Miss Muffet
in my spidery disguise.

With my parka and Dad’s helmet,
winter gloves and sunnies too,
I would safely look quite speedy
just like racing drivers do.IMG_5171

If I use a bit of face paint,
make a wand and glitter wings,
I can flutter as a fairy
as I sprinkle joy on things.

If I grab my board, and swimmers,
and then smear my lips with zinc
I would only need a wave to
be a surfer, don’t you think?IMG_5155

When I let my thoughts go crazy
then I can be anyone!
There’s no need to buy a costume,
just dress-up and have some fun.

© Kathryn Apel
First published in Comet Magazine; Issue 4 2006
All rights reserved.

And I know I’ve shared Soapy Sid before on Poetry Friday, but… #play #creativity #imagination #hereheisagain And there were pirates Boating Under the Bridge.

© Kathryn Apel
First published in Comet Magazine; Issue 3 2006
All rights reserved.

Maybe you, too, have a poem to share about creative play? Or a particular play-based memory from your childhood – or special moments with your children? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Now, let’s see how I go with creating and inserting this widget (child’s play! 😉 ) so you can share the links to your inspiring poetry posts. Have a great weekend, and enjoy the wordplay!

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Book Week Costumes

Book Week is this week – and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably just starting to think about costumes. Don’t panic! I’ve got your covered, with quick and EASY ideas for each of my verse novels. That gives you more time to do what we all love best, right? READ!!

Enjoy! 😀

Running out of time and in a spin? Shaun and Toby can help you get On Track! Mohawk optional – or DIY with own hair.

Don’t have a discus? Don’t worry! Two plastic plates are perfect. Or a round lid. Or a foam/cardboard circle.

Is this cheating? For simple, easy Book Week costumes? Personally I’m loving the cardboard cutout friend silhouettes.

If Book Week has crept up like a sly wolf, mask your panic with a #DIY mask. Click the pink to go direct to the templates.

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Bookings Open – 2018

Poetry inspires creativity and builds writing muscles that flex across all curriculum areas and genres. A passionate and diverse poet and children’s author, I have an ever-increasing bag of tricks to share with your staff and students. If your school is considering an author visit, register your interest below.

Student poetry workshops involve fun activities that enable wordplay – and success for all students.

Staff poetry workshop equip teachers with easy take-away activities to use in their classrooms – across curriculum areas and grades.

A Celebration of Friends incorporates activities inspired by ‘Too Many Friends’, blending DIY toys with creative wordplay. Make a palm snake, create a paper chain of poetry friends, power a plane with words, or create a triple twirl word swirl.

During author talks, I share what inspired and shaped my stories, and how I turn reality into fiction. Content varies dependent on the age group, touching on topics of bullying, friendship, sibling rivalry, sporting excellence, identity, self-worth, rural living, a glimpse at Antarctica, and creative things kids can do without a TV!

As a trained teacher and former literacy co-ordinator I am familiar with the demands of the Australian Curriculum, and the NAPLAN Reading and Writing assessment tasks. My goal is to engage students to play with words and be creative!

I have five days available in Brisbane, February 12 – 17, 2018. Travel and accommodation costs are massively reduced! Enquire below to secure your place, and inspire your staff and students in the new school year. Other enquiries also welcome.

More information: Author Talks

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Brisbane Booking

I will be in Brisbane during the first week of August for author visits – and I have one day still available! I offer author talks and poetry workshops, for primary and secondary students – and staff.

“If you are a Brisbane school, I can highly recommend Kat for an author visit.” (Kim Yeomans)

Read Kim Yeomans’ teacher-librarian blog about my May visit to St Martins, in Melbourne.

More information under my Author Talks tab. I’d love to talk creativity and kindness with your class.

Horsepower

Kicking off Text As Art

It’s Friday. Time for some poetry love – though I do hope you can love poetry every day of the week!

Today I’m sharing a solage – (and a rush of memories) and two snippets of news.

First the news… I was thrilled to hear that my poem ‘Big Blue Whale‘ is being used in a 7th Grade English second language text book, with Norwegian publisher Gyldendal Undervisning. Can’t wait to see it in its new print home! And exciting to have my first poem published in Norway. I’ll share pics when I see it! Until then, Yay! 

And… I’m also excited to be involved with Bundaberg Creative Regions’ Text As Art project, running throughout August (writing) and September (creating), for an October installation and 2-week display. Watch this space for more information, because I can all-but guarantee that I will be writing…. poetry! #anditwillbeFUN 🙂

Now, the poetry; a solage.

And doesn’t nostalgia bubble with that photo! So many beloved people – in a pic taken well before I knew them. And the house where I grew up in in the background (where my parents still live) and the tree that dripped sparkly green/silver/pink shimmer-berries with a distinctive aroma that I am smelling as I type this post. (Don’t ask me what it’s called because I couldn’t tell you – and the tree is long gone.)

The little ‘hut’ behind that tree was the cream room, where (full) cream cans were stored, stirred twice a day, and collected every 2 or 3 days for delivery to the butter factory. Not refrigerated, but cool (still is!) with strategic windows and thick, lined walls for insulation. (It has since been a chook pen and bird aviary – and now houses gardening tools, etc.)

The above photo features my dad, and aunt and uncles, and three of their Melbourne cousins. I love it! But an even older treasure is the photo below, which features my twinkle-eyed, larrikin Grandan and his siblings, minus his youngest brother. (I so wish he was in this pic, too!)

That sweet little girl in the middle, is the mother of the cousins of the first pic. She also was born in the same house, and bred on the same farm… and came back often to visit during my years growing up, always climbing ‘The Rocks’ on the hill behind our house, to look down on the vista of the farm and neighbourhood. You can spy her in the pic below, making the trek at the age of 95. This much-loved lady turned 100 earlier this month.

FYI: There are no photos of my siblings and I lined up like cylinders in a car engine, astride a horse. Fortunately, necessity didn’t involve ‘horse’power for our trip to school, because whilst I was (until the age of 18 ) frequently required to muster, or mind cattle on the road, this grazier’s wife who’s scared of cows is also scared of … horses! (Particularly when my brother was involved.)

Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Katie at The Logonauts. Thanks, Katie. Meanwhile, I’m still smiling at all the macaroni cheese poems that surfaced last week – annatto and all! Who knows what treasures you’ll discover on the Poetry Friday rounds this week.

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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.

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!

KidLitVic – Chapter / Middle Grade / Young Adult

Sharing notes on Chapter, Middle Grade and Young Adult, taken at KidLitVic 2017.

Chapter & Middle Grade Panel

Panel:  Paul Collins (Ford St), Jane Pearson (Text), Clare Forster (Agent – Curtis Brown), Suzanne O’Sullivan (Lothian Hachette)

  • Write with passion first. Then think about the age of your main character/protagonist.
  • Consensus seems to be that once the reader reaches the 10yo mark, they’re reaching for YA. (Is YA really written with 10yo readers in mind?)
  • Clare Forster looks at story, characters, voice, subject – the edge authors might have. Most importantly the big picture of the author’s career – not a book.
  • Series is potentially a means to sell more books – so has that selling point for Marketing. ‘When kids find something they love, they’re really keen for more and more.’ (Jane Pearson)
  • A major publisher can really push the marketing behind a series – but for smaller publishers it is more of a risk.
  • Clare Forster – Always remember the investment made by the publisher.
  • No matter how fantastic your idea, the thing is always your ability to write it. (Suzanne)
  • What’s unique. What captures your imagination? Your heart?
  • Series Proposal – What publishers expect to receive as a minimum before they can make the decision.
    1) Full manuscript for first book
    2) Outlines of subsequent books. (A second written book would be great – but not essential.)
    3) Jane Pearson would add that a projection of timeline is also good. To ensure that books will capture their market. Readers are growing up. May grow out of the market if the books don’t roll out in a timely fashion. In six months, good books can be forgotten.

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