Just for fun

MulberryToday, as I uploaded some more poems to the page the bottom drawer (under Jackie’s poetry) I thought it might be fun to see if any children’s illustrators might like to have a go at illustrating any of the poems.

I’m not able to offer any money but if I choose your illustration I would be happy to promote you in any way that I can.

Here’s something that might be of interest to you. Since having the poem If I Were a Giant published by Oxford University Press in India I have been getting hundreds of views to this blog from India, especially to my poetry pages. This has been such a pleasant surprise.

So I thought it might be nice if I had some illustrations to go along with them.

If you are interested in this idea all you need to do is choose a poem or poems and send me a jpeg of a simple black and white illustration.

If I get more than one illustration for each poem I will upload a gallery. I will also send updates via facebook, twitter and PASS IT ON.

I really hope that I get some interest in this proposal – who knows where it might lead🙂

Some Housekeeping

  • Copyright remains with the illustrator.


  • I will only use the image on this site and will always ask permission to use it elsewhere.


  • I will insert links to websites, blogs etc into the image or in the case of a gallery will include the artists’ links below the poem.


  • Copyright of the poems remain with me and they mustn’t be published anywhere else without my permission.


Looking forward to hearing from you.



C J Dennis Poetry Competition and Festival

Toolangi 2015

The Impossible BBQ – Highly Commended

Gran is out from Cornwall and we’ve planned an Aussie treat
The great Australian BBQ with eskies full of meat
Steaks and chops and sausages and don’t forget, of course
The most important condiment, the Heinz tomato sauce

Gran’s not used to seeing all our wide and open spaces
Cornwall’s rather cramped and squashed and damp in many places
She’s never had a BBQ, she sits on picnic rugs
And lunches in lush meadows far from flies and other bugs

She wanders through the copses picking bluebells by the bunch
She won’t find bluebells growing here or saffron cake to munch
We’re going on a BBQ an outback expedition
We want Gran to experience an Australian tradition

The car is packed and so are we, our quest has now begun
And soon the dust is dancing as we head towards the sun
The air conditioner’s broken and we’re sweating salty beads
We try to think some cooling thoughts but none of us succeeds

We drive on corrugated tracks that shake us to the core
Gran complains to Dad because her bottom’s getting sore
“Nearly there,” is Dad’s reply, “it’s just around the corner.”
But Dad at times exaggerates and I wonder, should warn her?

Four more corners and then a case of minor dehydration
We pull into a roadside stop our barbie destination.
The outlook’s rather limited it’s blocked off by the loo
But Dad’s too busy rummaging to care about the view

We all climb out to stretch our legs; the heat is like a slap
A lonesome Gum provides some shade as Dad unfolds his map
“We’re here,” he grins and stabs a finger, gnarled and tanned and plump
“Beyond which lies,” he points and winks, the infamous Black Stump

A shiver, quivers through us all, although the sun’s severe
We hope that nothing untoward will happen to us here
Gran is looking miserable she’s moaning and she’s mumbling
But then I realise, that instead, it’s all our tummies rumbling

“We’re starving Dad, let’s cook the food before we fade away,”
We all pitch in to gather sticks while Dad collects the tray
The one he won on Friday night, a raffle at the pub
Proud as punch he lifts the tray above the saltbush scrub

“Welcome to the outback Gran,” we give a little cheer
Dad discretely sniffles as he wipes away a tear
He sets the sticks inside the grate and quickly strikes a match
Then drops the blackened plate in place and waits for it to catch

Soon the chops are sizzling, the sausages and steak
And that’s when we discover our very first mistake
‘Cause while we love to BBQ beneath Australian skies
We’d all forgotten BBQs are also loved by flies

Thousands upon thousands; our fire a gaudy beacon
We flip and flap and slip and slap but soon begin to weaken
It doesn’t matter where we run, there’s no way to compete
You can’t deter an Aussie fly when it’s detected meat

The second of our grand mistakes; a rather smart invention
As cures can often come too late it’s best to use prevention
In Cornwall you would never leave without your large umbrella
So BBQs should never be without some citronella

We drive away defeated and find a marshy lake
And snack on tea and Grandma’s most delicious saffron cake


I was also very chuffed to read in the judge’s report that another poem that I entered warranted this comment…

The Kangaroos’ Barbie by Jackie Hosking is a very clever parody on the song The Teddy Bears’ Picnic and works well when it is sung (this allows compression and extension of syllables, and pauses). However, when read aloud, it didn’t quite work as a poem and so is not included here. I would love to hear it performed.

A lesson about rhyme and meter, written in rhyme and meter…


I am writing this poem to try and explain
~The meaning of meter and rhyme
~This meter I’m using is often amusing
~If Seuss is the source of the chime

But rather than bother with technical terms
Let’s look at the beats, on and off
The stressed beats, in red, are the on beats instead
And the off beats occur in the trough

The off beats I’ve coloured in pastel
I’ve chosen an orange and pink
You’ll see that I’ve put triple beats in each foot
It reads like a waltz don’t you think

da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM

Anapaestic, dactylic or triple
A rose called a weed smells as sweet
The name doesn’t matter, be it first, last or latter
So long as you stick to the beat

So now let’s put this beat in place
Ol’ Shakespeare liked to use this pace
Though he preferred pentameter
An extra foot (for the amateur)

You’ll see I’ve taken license here
To try and make my point more clear
But if you read and tap your feet
You’ll note we’ve got a marching beat

da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum
da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum
da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum
da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum

Iambic, trochee; both are duple
So for the attentive pupil
You will understand the names
In essence, all denote the same

Common Rhyme & Meter errors

EDITING SERVICE SALEWell half price July was a huge success with over 40 poems and stories in verse now tight as a drum!

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent their manuscripts in – it really can be a daunting thing to do and I appreciate you trusting your work with me.

After reading so much rhyme and meter I thought it might be useful for me to point out some of the more common errors that I came across, without naming names of course.

Ok – here is a rhyming couplet

But jumping was the only thing that brought Peter joy
He just jumped so much that his parents he would annoy

Does it rhyme? Yes it does. Does it have a predictable meter? Not really. And is it written the way we would speak naturally or has it been twisted to fit the rhyme? I would say yes, the second line has been written in a convoluted manner and as such sounds forced. In natural speech we would be more likely to say –

He jumped so much that he annoyed his parents.

But written this way – it doesn’t rhyme with ‘joy’.

So how can we fix it?

The first thing that I like to do is to insert all the syllables into a grid like so…

GridsWhat I’m looking for is a pattern made with the columns. Columns should be all red or all black. As you can see, at the moment, there is no discernible pattern. Which means there is no beat (the stressed syllables provide the beat) which means there is no meter, no tune if you like.

So what might I suggest?

Grids 2If we look closely we can see that the words (or part there of) that are stressed are the ones that give the sentence meaning. So in the first line we have

jump, only, Peter, enjoyed

and in the second line we have

parents, grumpy, very, annoyed

so even though we are missing 9 words we can still make sense of what is being said.

So if we can work out which syllables are stressed we can see from these grids where and why the meter is or isn’t working.

rhyme like the experts2


If you are intrigued by this you might be interested in my booklet ‘Rhyme Like the Experts’. This goes into a little more detail about writing in rhyme and meter but is written simply and quite easy to understand and only $10

To purchase a copy, you can do so via PayPal by clicking the hyperlink or email me for details to pay via direct debit, cheque or money order.

My email address is jackiehosking@bigpond.com

And to finish off – here is what some of my clients had to say of my editing service…thanks everyone.


Doors and Windows

So I’m referring to the phenomenon of one closing as another opens hence on the back of a recent rejection I’ve just received the news that The Croc and the The Croc and the Platypus-COVPlatypus has been shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards. So I am now, once again, feeling very grateful and humble at being in such terrific company. Please go here for the complete shortlist.

speech pathologyThe Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards aim to promote quality Australian books that help children get the best, most literate start in life.

Books are awarded for “Best Book for Language and Literacy Development” in the following categories:

  • Birth to 3 years
  • 3 to 5 years
  • 5 to 8 years (you’ll find The Croc and the Platypus here)
  • 8 to 10 years
  • Indigenous Children.


Each book is judged on its appeal to children, interactive quality and ability to assist speech pathologists and parents in communication and literacy development. Learn more about the selection criteria for the Book of the Year Awards.

I’m reminded of the lyrics from the Alanis Morissette song Ironic

Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face

EDITING SERVICE SALEJust for fun I’ve made myself a little sticker and to help with the celebrations I will be offering half price manuscript edits for thespeech pathology month of July.

So if you have a rhyming manuscript, be it a poem or a story in verse, that just won’t behave itself, send it over and I’ll soon whip it into shape.

Thanks to everyone for all your support and encouragement over the years, particularly Walker Books who really have made this journey a wonderful one.

‘Celebrating Australia, a year in poetry’ by Lorraine Marwood, Published by Walker Books – BLOG TOUR

Celebrating Australia

Today I would like to welcome Lorraine as she launches her brand new poetry collection titled, ‘Celebrating Australia, a year in poetry’.

Lorraine is a force to be reckoned with in the world of poetry winning The Prime Minister’s Literary Award for her verse novel, Star Jumps in 2010. This is her third collection of poetry with Walker Books and I have to admit I’m a tiny bit jelly!

Anyhoo, on with the tour.

I asked Lorraine what makes a good poem because I think all us poets really want to know the answer to that question. Here’s what she said…

What makes a good poem?

Well I’m sure there are a lot of lists and ideas out in poetryland, but over many years of writing, judging, teaching I’ve come to regard several as top of the range and the sifting of gold from the perceived idea of what poetry is:

• the building blocks of poetry are nouns and verbs- names of things and action words, not prepositions or adverbs, but the solid power- impacting nouns and verbs

• details are important and help to banish ‘telling’ in poetry as well as banish cliché. After all a poem should provide the reader with a new slant, a new perspective on a slice of the known world.

• senses are another must in poetry, along with details they allow the reader full sensory delight, and call on a three dimensional perspective.

• a thread of common, shared history- a reader can say yes I’ve felt that way, I’ve experienced that but I’ve never looked at it in quite that way before.

In other words putting a bit of you in the poem- a feeling, a thought; will make the poem resonate and have more of an impact.

• a poem needs a title which is like an extra chance to wow your reader, don’t repeat a word or idea found in the body of the poem, in fact because poems are short explosive pieces of musical communication, don’t repeat any nouns or verbs you first introduced. Repetition except for format or emphasis, tends to dull the first power of those words.

• the end line of the poems should be satisfying, an ‘ahh’ conclusion, and be like a painting; circular, flicking us back to the title to again beginning the reading voyage.
And PS you don’t have to rhyme to have a lasting poetic presence- apologies to the host of this blog today.


Hmmpf, we’ll see about that!!


To help prove her point Lorraine asked that I write a non-rhyming poem (heaven forbid) using one of her poems as a template, actually all of the blog hosts have been given this challenge. Below are her instructions that you might like to utilise yourself.


Seasonal Celebration

Using a patterning from my seasons’ poems in Celebrating Australia to write your own poem.

Here is the poem ‘Autumn’ and the challenge is to write your own version either of autumn or substitute a celebration like a birthday, Christmas , a memory, a special day in the calendar that means something to you.
Below is my seasonal poem on autumn and for the remaining seasons in the book I followed the same patterning, of words, line breaks etc.

Read through this poem.
Autumn is loud crushing sounds
a foot scuffing rap-tapping shuffle.
One day a light dusting
of pathway obstruction
by week’s end a whole mound
of slip, slide, crunch, crackle.

Autumn is loud splashing colours
a yellow, rust, tangerine explosion.
One day a brightness in twos, threes
of pathway palette,
by week’s end a whole Monet mosaic
of buffs, shades, tints and silhouettes.

© Lorraine Marwood

Now chose your topic, remember the suggestions above.

• Brainstorm- if it’s autumn you choose: think colours, events, weather, your reaction to autumn.

Write all those words down- look up words to do with autumn, think of different words for yellow or brown- I love the word tangerine and have used it here. Poetry is unusual words that sound great and provide word pictures. Even look to photos, calendars, magazines; online for visual representations of your subject matter, you are trying to surprise and entertain your reader with a new perspective of a tried and true celebration.

• Now write the first line of my poem in your notebook. Pattern the words- for example:

Autumn is
Birthdays are
Celebration is
Christmas is
Holidays are

• Now add the sounds of your subject- three words only. And that’s the first line done.

• Second line actually goes into detail of the sounds of autumn (or whatever subject matter you’ve chosen), details are so important to the vibrancy of your poem.
a foot scuffing rap-tapping shuffle

• Again the same patterning.
Begin with ‘a’ then five words to make the musicality of the sound impact on the reader.

• Third line, so begin this line with ‘one day’, then add your four words
One day a light leafy dusting

• Fourth line ‘of pathway obstruction’. Here whatever you chose to flow on from the third line and it’s a line identifying place- where the sound is happening, will be used in the second stanza with just the last word changing. So it’s three words using ‘of’ as your beginning word.

• Fifth Line ‘by week’s end a whole mound’ this is a time frame line showing the change in autumn as it progresses with ‘by week’s end’ again repeated in the second stanza with the last three words different.
• Sixth line ‘of slip, slide, crunch, crackle’. So we are honing into the premise of the first line of ‘loud crashing sounds’ and providing a final explosion of sound (don’t repeat any sound words you’ve used before though)

• Now to the final stanza- same patterning but this time the focus is on colour.
How did you go?
Was it hard to write? Are you surprised by the results?


Actually Lorraine I’m very surprised by the results. Very surprised indeed. Here’s what I came up with…


The Bush is…

The bush is soft caressing sounds
a paw scuttle, a warm breeze rustle
One day a lush living haven
of grass trees and eucalypts
by week’s end an empty barren grave
of silent, echoes, staccato, fractures

The bush is soft calming colours
a blush, powder, emerald quilt
One day an ocean
of seaweed and coral
by week’s end a charcoal smeared canvas
of opal, mercury, oil and sky

The writing process…

To begin with I copy and pasted Lorraine’s poem into a new document and I bolded the parts that had to be included in my poem. If I’m going to follow instruction I like to be as accurate as possible. I like to get things right, it can be a personality trait that is a bit stifling at times.

I already knew that I would write about the bush because that’s where I spend most of my spare time. I walk through the bush nearly every day and many of my poems are found there. So choosing the topic was easy.

Being full of leaves and fallen branches I was aware that I could use similar words to Lorraine but for me the bush is like a warm hug, it’s not really crackly at all so I focused on the softness of it. It wasn’t until I began writing that it occurred to me to move from lush to burnt, something that can definitely happen by week’s end.

I really enjoyed searching for unusual words for sound and colour and without the limitation of rhyme, which I love, I was able to utilize more words.

I didn’t find it hard to write. I found it liberating.

But hmmm… I wonder if I could write it in rhyme?


As this exercise shows, Lorraine is not only a brilliant poet, she is also a wonderful teacher. Without her instruction I would never have been able to come up with my poem so now I challenge you…


The Challenge

Come up with your own Lorraine inspired poem (post it in the comments section below) and the one I fancy the most will receive a copy of her book. You have until the end of the blog tour (see dates below) to delight me.


Thanks so much for sharing your poetic thoughts with us Lorraine and before we go here’s another Celebratory Poem from her brand new wonderful collection.


Chinese New Year LM




2nd March Jackie Hosking:  Topic: What makes a good poem ( according to LM)


3rd March Kathryn Apel:  Topic: Bringing a poetry collection together


4th March Rebecca Newman: Topic: Researching for poetry writing


5th March Claire Saxby:  Topic: Inside this collection


6th March Janeen Brian:  Topic: How you create for the creators: how you create ideas to excite children and adults to write poems of their own.


9th March Alphabet Soup:  Topic: Writing a class poem- the results!

So what have you got circulating?

Many years ago someone wise said to me that you should always have a least 12 things in circulation.

Why? I asked, being quite new to the writing game.

Because, they said, not only does it increase you chance of success it also stops you going mad while you chew your fingers to the bone waiting, waiting, waiting…

The more there is in circulation the more you have to look forward to. One rejection isn’t the end of the world and as soon as that rejection comes in send it out again. It’s not going to get read in your bottom drawer is it?


So here’s what I have circulation at the moment…


6 poems at The School Magazine

6 poems with Rattle

4 poems with The Caterpillar

3 poems entered into The Caterpillar Poetry Prize

5 picture books with various publishers


I also intend to enter the two competitions listed below and I hope you’re considering entering them too.











So now my question to you is, what do you have circulating?


The Little Things in Life


Dear Jackie,

I am writing to invite you to join Jack Prelutsky, Jane Yolen, Lemony Snicket, Judith Viorst, Douglas Florian, Sharon Creech, and many others in an anthology of poems I am putting together for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

There was a bit more detail in the middle…………then

With kindest regards,

Kenn Nesbitt, Children’s Poet Laureate

Well, after I’d picked myself up off the floor, I, in typical Jackie fashion, began to cry – I know – it’s pathetic but I’m awfully good at it, so cry I did.

I mean for heaven’s sake, Kenn Nesbitt, the Children’s Poet Laureate had chased me down and made contact and I was, I think, understandably overjoyed.

After sending him about a million poems I am delighted to announce that my poem, Morning Star has made the cut. It’s a small poem, but it’s the little things in life that are often the best.

Now not wanting to wish my life away, roll on 2016 so that I can proudly hold an anthology that will not only be full of poems from those listed above but will also be be chock-a-block with poems from some of my favourite Ozzie poets, listed below…

Sherryl Clark

Meredith Costain

Mike Lucas

Sophie Masson

Sally Murphy

And if anyone knows of any other Ozzie poets that should be on this list please let me know and I’ll update it.

Congratulations to you all.


Work In Progress – sneak peek

Samurai Kids


When Sandy Fussell of the Samurai Kids series fame,tagged me in the latest meme I wasn’t sure I could take part because the requirement is for a writer to share 7 lines from page 7 or 77 of their current WiP.

Being a poet and picture book writer I don’t have many WiPs that venture past one page let alone 77.  Now of course I know that picture books are usually 32 pages long but when I write them I don’t tend to divide them into pages early on I just try to get the story down.

So what I thought I could do was share 7 lines from verse 7 of my current WiP and I hope that that will be ok.




Here goes…


Round and round and loopedy-loop the bloomers flailed and flew
Around the steeple, past the park, and through the petting zoo
And Betsy puffed and panted as she tried to keep in sight
Her flipping, flapping bloomers as they once again took flight

Up and up towards the clouds and then a mighty squall
Snatched the spotty bloomers as they left the city sprawl
Betsy stopped to catch her breath then off she dashed once more…


And there you have it🙂


And Now I would like to tag…


Michael Gerard Bauer    Tania McCartney   Sue LawsonKatrina Germein

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