When did you last read some poetry? Check out Michael Rosen’s poem No Breathing in Class (right). Funny isn’t it? You probably know a teacher just like the one in this poem. Poetry can be used to describe many things from funny to serious. It can make sense or be nonsense, it can rhyme or not. It can have many shapes and sizes. Poetry can say a lot with just a few words. It does not have to be difficult or complex. It’s just another way to tell a story. World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21 March. So why not give a poem a go?
We have many poetry books on our shelves. These are just a few of our new ones.
by Teena Raffa-Mulligan
Teena Raffa-Mulligan is a West Australian poet and author who has been having fun with words for as long as she can remember. The first piece she ever wrote was a poem when she was quite young that began ‘Go to the land where fairies dwell, go to the land of the wishing well.’ Poems in this collection are on topics as diverse as peas, aliens and windy days. It includes poems that are funny, thoughtful, silly and serious, from the everyday to the imaginary. Here is a verse from her poem The Party of the Year:
‘Uncle Terry came by ferry,
drank the punch and was so merry,
danced a jig without his clothes –
shocked Aunty Martha, I suppose.’
by Kenn Nesbitt ; illustrated by Rafael Domingos
The Armpit of Doom is a collection of funny poems about crazy characters, funny families, peculiar pets, comical creatures and much, much more. It is titled after the opening poem which is a laugh-out-loud funny poem about a stinky older brother. Here’s an excerpt:
‘The Armpit was smelly. The Armpit was hairy.
The Armpit was truly disgusting and scary.
I wanted to vomit. I wanted to cry.
I wanted to flee from its all-seeing eye.’
Poet Kenn Nesbitt really does have a way with words and is hugely popular with children. You might also like My Cat Knows Karate which is another collection of funny poems by Kenn Nesbitt.
selected by Jackie French ; illustrated by Tania McCartney
Jackie French was the 2014-2015 Australian Children’s Laureate. Here she has put together a collection of poems for every child and every mood. From poems that whisper to poems that roar, from words of tranquility and heartbreak to those of the witty and absurd. Due to be published on 1 April 2019, this is one to look out for. This edition has been extensively illustrated by Tania McCartney and brings together old favourites alongside new poems. It includes poems by Andy Griffiths, Henry Lawson, Shaun Tan, Alison Lester and Oodgeroo Noonuccal.
by Eleanor Farjeon
What is poetry? Who knows?
Not a rose, but the scent of the rose;
Not the sky, but the light in the sky;
Not the fly, but the gleam of the fly;
Not the sea, but the sound of the sea;
Not myself, but what makes me
See, hear, and feel something that prose
Cannot: and what it is, who knows?
The gleam of the fly and the head of a bug!
You Can’t Make Me Eat That
by Jack Prelutsky
You can’t make me eat that,
it’s slimy and gooey
and icky and yucky
and greasy and gluey.
It looks like you made it
from maggots and mud,
some chopped hippopotamus,
bug heads and blood.
I hate it, I hate it,
I hate it to bits!
Just thinking about it
is giving me fits.
One taste and I’m certain
I’ll instantly die …
You can’t make me eat that,
so don’t even try.
This poem and others by Jack Prelutsky can be found in ‘It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles : poems’
Give a poem a go and write your own poetry.
We all have many ideas swirling around in our heads, and a poem is the ideal place to let them run wild. There’s no right and wrong in the world of poetry. The only really important question when reading or writing a poem is, “Does it sound good to me?” and then think about how it makes you feel. Remember, it’s just another way to tell a story and it doesn’t have to rhyme or follow a set of rules if you don’t want it to.
The Scribblers Festival is inviting ‘poets’ to enter the very first Golden Pen Awards open to all West Australian students aged from 12 to 17. The theme for the competition is ‘Discovery’ (you might discover your hidden talent for writing poetry!) and entries close on 31 March 2019. There are cash prizes of $500 to be won. Good luck!
Did You Know?
- ‘Metrophobia’ is the name for a fear of poetry.
- ‘Metromania’ denotes the compulsion to write poetry.
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