An Eye for Beauty

This month Michelle Heidenrich Barnes has the spotlight on Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group.

Poetry and lyrical language can help to take a nonfiction topic that might not be inherently interesting to certain kids (or adults) and offer them new ways to understand and appreciate it.

I recommend you skip across for a read, because it’s in-depth, insightful and inspiring. Thank-you so much to Michelle and Carol for sharing.

The challenge for the month on Today’s Little Ditty (as a result of that post) is; write a poem that finds beauty in something that is not usually considered beautiful.

© Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved.

After the rain the summer night rings with a cacophonous chorus of courting creatures – but it was only recently that I learnt that the particularly mellow/melodic burble that both delights and drives me a little crazy (keeping me wired when I’m trying to relax into sleep…) is … the invasive cane toad! And who knew, until peeping at this pic, that toads have such a jewel of an eye? An eye for beauty? In the eye of the beholder?

I also didn’t know, until recently, that America shares Australia’s problem with the cane toad, following it’s introduction (there too) for control of cane beetles. And here I thought we were alone in that silly mistake.

Jane the Raincity Librarian will be singing her own sweet songs this week, hosting the Poetry Friday round-up and celebrating the recent release of her picture book, ‘Wild One’.

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Singing in the Rain

Water reaches to the canopy of a large gum tree – in our paddock! #notariver

After being inundated with rain (we had 18 1/2 inches – almost 500mm – in 3 days) and being unexpectedly flood-bound (but not flooded!) – my week disappeared in a gush!

But I’m singing in the rain today (err… it’s actually fine and sunny…) because – what a shock! – my name and my words are currently up on billboards around Brisbane, with thanks to @qldwriters. I never ever dreamt of that happening!  (For my overseas #PoetryFriday peeps, Brisbane is the capital of my home state, Queensland.)

I’m a long way from Brisbane, so can’t see any in real life, but (YaY!) they have goacam – so I can see it, in real time! (You can too, at; http://www.goacam.com.) Below are some screenshots I’ve snapped. I’d LOVE to see any pics that folks living in Brisbane might happen to catch!

Proof that no writing is ever wasted – my #8wordstory is a reworked haiku from my first ever Month of Poetry – which was in fact a Month of Haiku.

Leigh Ann at A Day in the Life is collecting the #PoetryFriday links for today. I’m sure there will be a flood of good stuff to have you singing like a frog! 🐸

 

 

Text As Art Takes to the Streets

The big and exciting news is that Text as Art, produced by Creative Regions, went live last weekend (right before Bundaberg was inundated with over 300mm of rain in 24hrs for the wettest October on record – in just one day!) Fortunately, the artworks survived – and look fantabulous!! I took 120 photos in my wandering mid-week – but of course I can’t show them all, here. (Or anywhere, for that matter.) But I will share some. There is also the conundrum – how best to showcase the project – yet leave it so that there is more to uncover for those who can visit in person. ALSO (big part of it) there is the fact that, when I started to do a collage for each of the collaborations, it took forAGES! So – you just get this. And if you want to see more, (or bigger pics) check out #textasart on Instagram – or my kat.apel insta-page. Meanwhile, I give you … this little piggy!

And a little glimpse at the full collection… that does not do it justice. 😦 (You would need the words, for a start…)

The ephemeral artwork will be on display until 16th October. A huge congratulations to Trudie Leigo (project curator) and all the talented writers and artitsts (listed below – writer, then artist) involved in the project. I wish I could showcase every aspect of your wonderful word/ks – and the stories behind the inspirations. It has been such fun to be involved with this projects – which has certainly enhanced our city’s streets, and exceeded any expectations I had. Job very well done!

1. National Australia Bank – Kat Apel & Adrienne Williams
2. School of Arts – Lonnie Toy & Marlies Oakley
3. Brick wall adjacent to School of Arts/driveway – Sam Ephraims & Jay Feather
4. Bundaberg Regional Council – Jake Thompson & Taylor Klassen
5. Bundaberg Regional Council/Civic Centre fronting Buss Park – Jo Williams & Judith Bohm-Parr
6. Tree located in nature strip between Buss Park & Moncrieff – Jassy Watson & Lynda Vertigan
7. Burnett Mary Regional Group – Annette Tyson & Paul Perry
8. Moncrieff Entertainment Centre – Wendy Davis & Michelle Pacey
9. Civic Arcade floor (157 Bourbong St) – Cheryl Ratcliffe & Jeremy Kiraly
10. Telstra Exchange – Jenny Gilbertson & Julie Hylands

This weekend I’m attending a workshop on Transmedia Storytelling, at Bundaberg WriteFest (another Crush Festival event) and I’m a part of the Writing in the Regions panel. The Crush Festival activities continue next week, a highlight being the Great Gelato Groove, where there will be words… and gelato at Allowishus (So Delicious!) … which basically means that you’re all so jealous! Yes? 😉

Violet at Violet Nesdoly | Poems has our PoetryFriday round-up this week. My little corner of the world has been blessed by rain, words, art and joy, but it has been another horrific week in America, and that will surely shape a lot of blog posts this round. I know I am not alone in my incomprehension. Not just from the unspeakable act itself, but the very fact that after all these too-oft repeated events, the laws don’t change. I just can’t…

I would not buy
my boys
toy guns;
point
and shoot
is not a game;
life is not
to be toyed with.

© Kathryn Apel

 I cannot leave this post there, so I’ll share this old friend, with a new voice, that appeared in my tweet-stream yesterday, courtesy of Martha Mihalick.

Peace.

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 – primary and secondary. 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, working in a P-10 context, 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. ASA Rates for Author Visits are set to rise for 2018 – so book before December 2017 to secure your visit at current prices.

Complete the form below to to express your interest, 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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