I'm Sally Murphy, an Australian author of over 30 children's books. I'm also the slightly crazy mother of six beautiful kids. You'll find bits of me buried somewhere in every one of my books. I love reading, writing, and speaking about reading and writing.

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Poetry Friday: Poetry Rules!

Last week I shared my found poem about what teachers didn’t like about poetry. Some commenters agreed with the sentiments expressed, others found them sad. So, as promised, here’s the opposite poem – a found poem from the positives. I asked workshop participants to write either their favourite line of poetry or something they loved about poetry. At home, I played with the sticky notes till I had some sort of structure, and this is a result.

Poetry Rules!poetree-stickynotes

You’re off to great places!

Hickory dickory

With rhythm

With rhyming

And sometimes

Great timing

Expressing yourself:

I love chocolate cake.

Poetry lets me dream and hope

drifting through my soul

Two roads diverged in a wood

Lowering my blood pressure

Like stroking a cat

I think that I will never see

Anything quite like poetry

It’s personal

And brings out students’ emotions

Surprising teachers

surprising even themselves.

Black writer, black tracker,

Black subject

Poetry speaks from the heart

Both dark side and light

Endless inferred meanings

I love a sunburnt country

With rhyme and rhythm

The joy and pleasure it brings

Water water everywhere

Usually short

But deep

Little lamb who made thee

And dost like poetry

Where things

Have space to make sense.

As dawn goes down today

Poetry can stay.


Where I was able to trace the lines from poems, I have made them into a hyperlink so you can go and read those original poems.  Thanks to the participants at the ALEA/ACMI State Conference for their contributions and their willingness to be open to poetic possibilities.

Today’s Poetry Friday roundup will be hosted by Reading to the Core. Head over there to see all the other poetry posts across the blogosphere.


Poetry Friday: Rules rules rules

It’s Poetry Friday and, after a few weeks’ absence, I am really happy to be posting again today.


Last Friday as an actual Poetry Friday for me. I spent the day at a conference where the focus was children’s poetry. The ALEA/ACMI State Conference in Melbourne was a wonderful event, with participants able to  choose a poetry workshop or keynote for every single session. Magic.  I was lucky to be invited to the conference to present a keynote on the importance of pleasure in poetry, and to then give a workshop.

I began the workshop by giving each participants two stickynotes: a heart shaped one (on which I asked them to write something they liked about poetry, or a line of poetry they loved) and a down arrow shaped one. On this second I asked them to write  the thing they liked least about poetry. Sadly, I think lots of people found this one easier. the stickynotes were then stuck on the whiteboard – the hearts on a Poet-Tree and the arrows on a rubbish bin.

I brought the stickynotes home, and, as I looked at them on my desk, knew I needed to use them for something. What better than a found poem? So, here we have it: a poem about what teachers DON’T like about poetry.

So Many Rules!20160909_152017





So many rules

and forms

and different types.

Curriculum restricts



making kids frustrated

And me too!


and restrictions

and rules.

Hard haiku

ridiculous rhyme

limitations of vocabulary.

Skill heavy

makes it hard to teach.

Takes time to read

to understand

to connect.

Sometimes I can’t relate

to the words

and I hate being told

what a poem means

when I think something different.

Writing in rhyme can be boring

I don’t know what to write about!

Even if I had the ideas

I don’t have the technical ability:

I am terrible at writing poetry!

Boys want to write

about snot

the toilet

disgusting food –

and  that’s just not poetry to me.

Poetry can be sad

and dry

and it’s filled with





(Poem copyright Sally Murphy)

Sound negative? Actually, this was a really positive bunch of teachers, there to learn, to share because they recognised that poetry is important. Next week I’ll share a second poem – based on the things they liked about poetry. See you then.

In the meantime, this week’s Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty.


My character John (from Toppling) loves domino toppling. But I’m not sure he has ever created a topple as awesome as this one:

Hevesh5 is amazing. Maybe one day, John. Maybe one day.


I’m Baaack!

My apologies for the lack of regular posts this past month. Bookweek hit me! And, in author-land, Bookweek is rarely just one week – and, in fact, for me it’s been four weeks, visiting schools and libraries in regional Western Australia, metro Perth, as well as Townsville. I also presented at the ALEA/ACMI State Conference in Melbourne.

I’m back at my desk now, working hard on caching up, and there will lots of new posts in the next few weeks. It’s great to be back.

Reading fro Sage Cookson's Sweet Escape at Adam Road Primary in Bunbury.

Reading fro Sage Cookson’s Sweet Escape at Adam Road Primary in Bunbury.