Poetry Pep Up – A Free Online Writing Opportunity

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I’m rather thrilled to be working with the Central Queensland Regional Arts Service Network (CQRASN) to run a free, online five-day Poetry Pep Up, from 1-5 June. The challenge is suitable for newbies or old-hands. Continue reading

‘Too Many Friends’ Video & DIY Mother’s Day Gift Sorted!

My goodness! Life has been busy! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve linked in for Poetry Friday. I’m just thankful that I’ve connected to lots of you through Twitter or Instagram, so I’ve not been completely out of your loop. It’s been wonderful to catch snippets of what everyone is doing with poetry and life – and so reassuring to see/hear from you! Keep keeping well … and keep sharing your joy and hope. The world is a better place for it!

I’m sharing a video for today’s post, hoping it’s helpful for educators and carers in this difficult time. I read a poem called ‘I Don’t EAT My Friends‘, from my verse novel, ‘Too Many Friends’, and I briefly chat about lollies, friends, pet-friends, then quickly share a poetry project for young listeners/writers … to connect them to their friends. You’ll find a friend template (and more crafty activities) under the Too Many Friends Stuff tab, above. Continue reading

American School Visits

November passed by in a blur for me, with three weeks in the USofA cram-packed with school visits and catch-ups with friends. I have a ToDo list the size of Mt Everest that I am still chipping away at, but I am determined to post for Poetry Friday – so here I am with pictures! And some words…but there are not enough words to express how wonderful those three weeks were! Continue reading

Gunnedah to Gayndah

This is a quick post to share some pics from my trip to Gunnedah last week, for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards Presentation Ceremony. I know many of my Poetry Friday friends are keen to see the winning poems – and if you click across to Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award Winners (my previous post), not only will you see the poems, but you’ll meet the amazing poets, too! For today – pics of Gunnedah! Thank-you to Laura from Writing the World for Kids for hosting our Poetry Friday round-up this week.

I arrived Wednesday evening, to run poetry workshops on Thursday for children from Gunnedah and surrounds. (There are so many sites and towns with delightful names, including the nearby Boggabri.) Thursday afternoon, award winners and the secondary judge (Meredith Costain) arrived – though there were some hiccups with delayed flights, lost luggage and a broken-down bus… But we still managed to squeeze in a whistle-stop tour of Gunnedah, which is a town that has so much to offer tourists! Two lovely lookouts – with amazing vistas. (Pensioners Hill also includes stone carvings which are impressive.) I tried twice for a pic with Dorothea on her horse, opposite the Mackellar Centre but alas, Thursday evening I was too rushed, and Friday morning, the wind was gusting… (I look a fright!) I’ll have to go back again to try a third time for a better pic. (Sentiment runs strong on this!) But you can spot Dorothea on horseback in the collage below. Continue reading

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award Winners

Last Friday I was in Gunnedah for the prestigious Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards Presentation Ceremony. It was an honour to be asked to judge the Primary category – and a joy to meet and mix with committee and community members, award winners, and their families. I am so proud of these amazing kids, and I’m thrilled to be able to share the winning poems and poets with you. (Shared with permission.) Continue reading

CYA 2019 – Bootcamp Notes

Part One – Bootcamp

The first weekend in July, with thanks to an RADF Grant from Bundaberg Regional Council, I attended the 14thannual CYA Conference in Brisbane, for authors of Children’s and YA books. I attended the first CYA Conference, in 2006 – and it has grown a lot since then. Not just in numbers, but in duration. This year it transitioned from a one-day conference, to a three-day event – expanding into the adult market, with one day devoted to ‘Everything’s a Genre’ – and writing Bootcamps offered over three days. I am mightily thankful for the Bundaberg Regional Council RADF committee for awarding a grant allowing me to attend the full three days, and meet one-on-one and in small groups with publishers and editors. It was the best professional development I have ever received and I am sincerely, heartfelt thankful!

On Friday, I took part in the inaugural bootcamp – authors working with an editor in small groups to gain feedback on a manuscript; editing suggestions, and opportunity to rework the manuscript, to then receive further feedback. I was in a picture book group with Lisa Berryman, children’s publisher at Harper Collins. Over the course of the day, we shared in our small groups, but also came together for two large panel discussions, hearing insights from all the editors in response to questions posed by ‘head ranger’, Dee White.

Friday’s Bootcamp editors: Clare Hallifax (Omnibus), Elise Jones, (A&U), Lisa Berryman (Harper Collins), Kristy Bushnell (independent), Maryann Ballantyne (Will Dog), Sarah Davis (Walker) and Lauren Clarke (independent).

DW: What makes you want to read further?

CH: I need to fall in love with a character. (Author voice is character, as well.)
LB: Very much the idea – setting/genre.
EJ: A book with heart.
LC: Proactive characters
SD: Narrative. Storytelling in an image. Potentiality. What happened and what is going to happen?
MB: Always looking for the bigger story.
KB: Character and personality onto the page. The emotion. Show (don’t tell) straight away.

“Voice is a writer who is in control of his craft.”

There was some discussion about author voice. And what makes it distinctive. And if it could be taught/developed. Someone shared a Paul McDermot quote, “Most things are fixable – except voice.” Nearly everything about this discussion sparked thoughts of poetry, for me. You want to develop your voice? I say play with poetry!

Other Takeaways:

SD: Your first idea isn’t usually your best. It’s too obvious.
SD: Write an evocative text that creates atmosphere.
EJ: Place the reader – at the start of the book and at the start of each section break.
CH: Write a story – not a list. And read it aloud.
KB: Know your characters and your problems and feed them in as necessary. (Not TMI too soon.)
LC: Set the scene and give need-to-know. And a hint of tension. Peril or dissatisfaction.
KB: Personified settings. Sets the mood and tone of story. An emotional connection. (And again I was thinking … poetry!)
?: Stage directions moving the characters around. Write it subtly. (Writer in control, with the help of their publisher and editor.)

On Submissions:

LB: Stating similar titles is helpful for Sales & Marketing – and how to pitch it. Compare for things like tone/feelings.
MB: Doesn’t want illustration notes.
LB: Illustrator notes are often helpful/necessary.
CH: If the narrative hinges on illustrations, include notes.
LB: Likes an elevator pitch – the essence of the story, like a mantra.
LB: Feedback is a gift. It’s not personal. It’s not about you.

Brittany, Kat & Meredith – the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards connection.

Friday Night was the first of the Networking Dinners, with kidlit creatives converging from all over the country. Networking is so important! And also so much fun! I did a double take when I thought I recognised the face across from me at dinner… and first name matched… and indeed, it was Brittany, Poetry Awards Officer for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, who I have had much email/phone contact with in recent months, in my role as judge. (Another reason why I have been very busy of late – reading almost 5000 poems and judging across four categories! Almost finalised. And what a task – a joyful task – it was!) Brittany and I had never met, (had seen photos) and needless to say, we each had no idea the other would be at CYA! Also in attendance was the Secondary School’s judge, Meredith Costain.

Day One done! Watch for more blog posts to follow, including … my exciting news!

If you’re in the Bundaberg Region, I will be sharing fast facts from CYA in a one hour session at Bundaberg library, on Saturday 27th July, at 10am. I’d love you to join me!

For now, head across to Carol’s Corner and muscle up on poetry… or melt on puppy love. Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday today, Carol, and sharing Rooney (and your poem) with us.

On Silence and Writing

It has been so long since I posted to my blog, that I feel like I need to just jump in and not even try to play catch-ups … so here I am!

Life has been gloriously busy, with Book ‘Week’ visits waaay back in August, and so many other wonderful activities celebrating literature and/or poetry.

And too, there has been writing. So much writing! Much of September has been spent immersed in words – either my historical non-fiction Antarctic verse novel (which just this morning clicked over 20k! 🎉🤩🎊 Sooooo close to finished!) a kids’ poetry collection, and an unexpected rhyming picture book – that grew from one of the poems …

My bog has been neglected, but my writing has not! Here are two little snippets from my verse novel. Firstly, a cherita, a form I have learnt much about from Diane Mayr’s blog. Technically a cherita doesn’t have a title – though I do have one on stand-by, if needed.😉

The door is barred.

Cast one 
look back

our last
sledge
journey

© Kathryn Apel, all rights reserved

And secondly, a list poem.

The Things We Had Forgotten

          Cook Harbour,
          Staten Island
       Isla de los Estados;

	waves washing 
variegated rubble-stones
	
	inexpressible pleasure of
green grass

	peeping out of the stones 
a flower!

	closely arching 
beech bushes

	overpoweringly magnificent
valley of trees

	barberry shrubs dripping
red bell-like flowers

	airborne insects – even
large yellow moths 

	twittering crowds of
small birds …

       Overcome with emotion
        I am scarcely able
            to proceed.

© Kathryn Apel, all rights reserved

Happy Poetry Friday. It’s good to be back! Now to find out who is hosting the round-up – and catch-up on everyone’s news!

Oh! Tabatha is hosting – with an invitation to take part in the ‘Winter’ poetry swap – which is summer for us Aussies. I am so glad I didn’t miss that invitation!

Flocking with Feathers

They say birds of a feather flock together – and that is never more true than in the Poetry Friday community. This week, our hostess, Christie Wyman has asked us to hatch up some feathered friends in verse form. Since Book Week is upon us, and life is busy, I’m cheating, and pulling out some old faves; photo poems featuring birdlife. Admittedly some are very brief – but that’s the beauty of poetry, where each weighted word has to work within the poem!

I give you a cinquain (didactic), two haiku, and a couplet – a peck of poetry!

 

 

 

Have Wheels, Will Travel

Good news! I’m rather thrilled to share that ‘Bully on the Bus‘ is chugging across the oceans, to Kane Miller Books. #PoetryFriday peeps, it will be coming to a store near you! After all this time. (Picture my very happy face. ☺)

Already reviews are starting to pop up like bus stops across the interwebs…

Like this review from https://heightshappiness.com;

And in a world where too often fists and weapons are used, Beth Sluzewski (heightshappiness.com) also noted;

How beautiful is that? I’m touched and honoured that something I wrote, prompted that beautiful assessment.

I’m hoping there has been joy in your week.

To read more great poetry posts, putter across to Carol’s Corner, (Thanks, Carol!) for the Poetry Friday link-up.