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!

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

Reasons to Love Adelaide

  • gorgeous old stone buildings earthed in charm and character. Sometimes it was like stepping back in time.
  • the walks – so many lovely walks – through city streets, and around parks and city walking trails
  • bushwalking and koala spotting – in the wild!

    When your friend wants a photo with a koala … and it won’t come down from the tree!

  • autumn leaves – tree bones and lacework in the sky (We don’t have autumn leaves in CQ.)
  • beautiful weather – and heating on cooler days. (Bliss!)
  • metropolitan sights and eats –with country hospitality
  • time with the Adelaide kidlit community – which is every bit as supportive and FUN as I had imagined. So much laughter. LOVED!
  • critique sessions with Katrina Germein and Janeen Brian. (So valuable!)
  • meeting with Little Book Press, who are doing amazing things to promote literacy
  • bookshop visits
  • book club dinner at Glenelg
  • author visits at Victor Harbor (4 days) and Walford Anglican (1 day) – affirming to introduce new activities and have them so enthusiastically received.
  • exploring Victor Harbor – including a visit to the Coorong, where Storm Boy was set and filmed. Super-special, thank-you Sarah!

Nostalgia washing over me, in Storm Boy country – inspiration for the legendary Colin Thiele.

I wrote. Lots! Though nowhere near as much as some preceding May Gibbs Fellows. There’s a Fellows Journal in the Burrow that we all contribute to, and I must confess, the word counts of some Fellows had me a wee-bit intimidated for the first few days. But then I gave myself permission to polish and perfect as I go, as is my process. One day I took 7hours to write 49 words – but that was a particularly challenging poem! (Writing a non-fiction verse novel makes many poems particularly challenging! Which is half the fun. 🙂 )

For the first two weeks I worked on my historical NF verse novel about an early scientific expedition to Antarctica. That story hooked me the moment I heard it (whilst on a ship enroute to the Antarctic Peninsular)  – and the more I write, the more I love it. I added 3,550 words (more in draft stage still – but I only count polished words dropped into my WIP) to bring my word count over 10,000wrds, and am so excited about this manuscript! Having worked more on this since I’ve returned home, it now totals almost 11,000wrds.

Some of the lunchtime poets! Gotta love kids who come back voluntarily for poetry!

The last week of my Fellowship I was focused on picture books – revising and polishing a number of manuscripts, critiquing with two writing buddies, writing submissions, researching publishers open for submissions and getting work out there! This was a more disjointed period – but valuable! (More ideas in the pot of inspiration, too.)

And finally, I worked on a poetry collection for children! Still not complete – but closer!

It was a productive, inspiring and affirming month! I was spoilt beyond belief and am exceedingly grateful to the May Gibbs Trust – and for the care and attention from the May Gibbs care team, who think of absolutely everything and are beautifully generous, each in their different way. I don’t think I have ever felt so nourished within my creative soul. Thank-you.

I love Adelaide!

Could not get enough of those LEAVES!

I posted more pics to Instagram, under #MGCTF – when I remembered the hashtag!

This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up around the blogosphere. You’ll find more poetry posts at  Michelle Kogan‘s blog – where you’re sure to get double the creativity with words and art! Thank-you Michelle.

Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

During April I was involved with the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival – which would have to be up there as one of the biggest children’s festivals on earth. SCRF2018 was a fantastical, fun and sometimes frenzied (in the best possible way) celebration of creativity in all forms, and it was an incredible experience to be involved with! No matter how I explain it, (or how many pics I collage) you won’t be able to imagine the enormity of it, or the complete and utter w-O-w factor … but here are a few pics that might convey something of the festive feeling … or at least, my little poetry-part of it. Continue reading

Brisbane in February

I will be in Brisbane during February – doing the author thing; school and bookshop visits, catching up with writing peeps and publishers, writing … and all sorts of good things!

If you’re a principal/teacher/librarian interested in a school visit, I still have spaces available. More information here; Bookings Open 2018.

I will be conducting a workshop and Q&A session for teachers and teacher-librarians at Riverbend Books on Friday evening, 16th February, with specific activities to engage students across ages and curriculum areas. For more information, phone: 07 3899 8555, or email: info@riverbendbooks.com.au.

If you’re a budding young poet, you can join me for a poetry workshop at Where The Wild Things Are Bookshop on Saturday, 17th February. Make a plane that is powered by words. Use scissors and glue to create poetry, then hunt for treasure in the Avid Reader’s garden. Tickets are $15, which includes your own copy of Too Many Friends, and all workshop materials. For more information, or to make a Booking, click the link; Kids’ Poetry Workshop Event, or phone: (07) 3255 3987.

Looking forward to finding myself in yet another instalment of the Country Girl Meets City adventure series. Mayhaps you’ll join me. 😉

 

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Poetry Guinea Pigs

This week I have been in Gladstone, Calliope and Tannum Sands, for the biennial Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale. There will be more posts to come about this, but for Poetry Friday, I share poems and pics from my workshop groups, where we were writing… POETRY! (Of course! :P)

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This group snuck in so quietly I truly honestly didn’t hear them arrive. (They were as quiet as guinea pigs!) To get them warmed up, we started with the Guinea Pig Chant. We then looked at different shape poems, before writing a guinea pig poem collaboratively on the big screen. It’s the first time I’ve used the technology in this way in a session before – and I’ll definitely be doing it again!
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Poetry with Kids

Somerset Festival Poetry Workshop

Poetry Worskhop at Somerset Festival.

Poetry Friday has come around very quickly this week… I’m going to be brave, go out on a limb and throw a question (or two or few) out … to YOU!

  1. If you are a teacher or parent, what do you love best about sharing poetry with kids?
  2. What sort of things take you out of your comfort zone?
  3. If you had a guest author visit your school – or if your child could attend a writing workshop with a poet – what sort of things would you like them to DO?

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A Voice on the Coast

The Sunshine Coast was grey and nippy-cool-windy, but the atmosphere was warm and welcoming for Voices on the Coast, organised by Immanuel Lutheran College and co-ordinated by the lovely (super-busy!) Kelly Dunham – with a willing support crew of volunteer adults and students … and family!

 

I was thrilled to be included in the line-up of creative people, and enjoyed myself immensely at all events, including the mix & mingle launch with teachers, librarians and book club groups.  Continue reading