Congratulations Sally on the release of Toppling. I wish you every success.
Poetry has always captivated me – in particular, children’s poems. This could be because I was a primary and kindergarten teacher many moons ago, and my love for it has remained.
I also remember the first poem I ever wrote.
One, two, three
You’re not he.”
I was about nine or ten years old when I made this ditty up at home one weekend as part of a tag game I was playing with my sister, and a friend. You can image my utter disappointment when I turned up to school next day to find the exact verse being recited for tag games.
When it comes to children’s poetry I sometimes feel like Alice in Wonderland. Once I enter the rabbit hole of wonderful children’s poems I am literally thrown into a myriad of other worlds. These worlds can be explored through a variety of forms – lullabies, nursery rhymes, haiku, daimante, cinquain, rhyming, non-rhyming, metrical, free verse, bush ballads, raps, limericks, sound poems, verse novels, to name just a few.
Children’s poetry (like any poetic forms) can take you on a journey (short or long), pull at your heart strings, be pure fun and nonsensical, a mode of teaching through metaphors and similes, used for language development, or be a means of creating artistic pictures.
I have a house where I go
When there’s too many people,
I have a house where I go
Where no one can be;
I have a house where I go,
Where nobody every says “No”
Where no one says anything – so
There is no one but me.
(A.A. Milne Now We Are Six)
I love this poem by A.A. Milne as it reflects what poetry means to me – the creation of my own world, as well as allowing me to enter another world, or reclusiveness, regardless of where I am physically.
I also love writing children’s poetry, particularly in rhyme. My published poetry to date hasbeen in rhyming verse but when I teach poetry workshops in schools I try to include some exercises covering rhyming and non-rhyming styles. Children are so open to all styles, and their creations and interpretations should never be underestimated.
Writing a good poem or verse can take hours and hours of hard work, but it is always so satisfying to see its transformation from a chrysalis into a beautiful butterfly.
Some poems of course require little or no interpretation. They may have simply been created for learning numbers or letters of the alphabet. But interpretation of some children’s poetry can be like peeling apples – removing the skin and taking a bite can expose a variety of delightful sensations.
Thanks for dropping in, Helen.
Helen Ross is a Brisbane-based writer/poet and children’s author/poet. She is also known as Miss Helen.
You can view some of Helen’s giggle poems on her website at: http://www.misshelenbooks.com
Helen also blogs about her writing journey – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the crazy, as well as particular writing issues. Her blog is: http://misshelenwrites.wordpress.com