Posted in anthologies, Lorraine Marwood, Poetry, rhythm, verse novels, Writing

Lorraine Marwood

What poets did you enjoy reading as a child?

The Highway Man- loved the rhythm of the poem- actually really read more folk tales than anything else.  But I loved TS Eliot later in secondary school, Browning and Chaucer.

Do you remember the first poem that you ever wrote? How old were you? Can you share it with us?

Oh, I must have been in my teens- that angst sort of poetry that I have seen many times since especially in secondary school writing- who am I?  Where am I going?  Does anyone love me? That sort of thing- necessary to write this out of my system and deliver it in other ways!  I began to be published in my teens in quaint hippy magazines like The Mundane Egg!  I believe small literary magazines are the way to build a reputation as a poet.

Do you write mostly in rhyme or in free verse? Do you know why?

Mostly in free verse-as it allows more freedom to really surprise with images and detail- but it still can deliver rhythm and pack a punch.  It’s hard to write in several layers in rhyme- well for me it is.  But saying that in my latest collection: ‘A ute picnic and other Australian poems’ I have written several small rhyming poems.

Are your poems best performed aloud or read quietly to oneself?

A poem should always sound right- I can hear in my head if my poem has its rhythm right, if it flows or sounds awkward.   And there is nothing better that reading one’s poems aloud to an audience.

Who first published your poetry?

My children’s poems were published in School Magazine NSW and a first collection was published by Five Islands Press.  But before children’s writing I was published a lot in literary magazines both here and overseas and was part of the Five Islands New Poets series in 1996- what a feeling that was!

Where else have your poems been published?

I have been anthologised in ‘100 poems for Australian children’; Evans brothers collection of Water and Earth UK; The end of year Reciter, Celebrate triple D books; Side by Side new poems inspired by art from around the world Abrams, New York.

Anthologies are often places for poets to seek publication. How would you suggest a new poet find out about upcoming anthologies?

Network through PIO of course, or through a Writers’ centre, look at collections of poems- send poems to magazines like School Magazine New South Wales, explore every avenue.

Have you published a collection of your own poems? Where would we find a copy?

I have three collections of my children’s poems and one collection of my literary work. The first two are sold out- after all a poetry collection has a small print run!

But my latest collection published by Walker and released last month ‘A Ute picnic and other Australian poems,’ is available from any good bookshop. I have copies of the second last collection ‘that downhill yelling,’ Five Islands Press, if any one would like a copy, please contact me.  I have had two verse novels published as well (Ratwhiskers and Me’, ‘Star Jumps’) and like to explore a different avenue of poetry writing in these.  I still love to sketch out characters for novels in this way- I can cut to personality and emotion in the economy of a few lines.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have two novels on the go and working on another collection of poems.  I also love to write poetry workshops and encourage children and adults to write.

Do you have a website/blog/facebook where we can find out more about you? words into writing blog site. website.

Do you have a favourite poetry website?

Sheryl Clark’s site

Would you like to share one of your poems with us?

This is a little poem that was accepted by RMIT poetry project during the 2009 Melbourne Writers festival


tree tops,

clouds of olive sprinkled with white puffs of seagull,

is this what you see on our pram walks?


Just quickly - I'm a children's author and poet. I'm an editor of rhyme and meter and I'm the owner of PASS IT ON - the Australian children's book industry ezine since 2004

11 thoughts on “Lorraine Marwood

  1. Thanks for posting this interview Jackie, appreciated! Thank you Lorraine for sharing! 🙂 I LOVE that little poem!
    I was particularly interested in your comment about using poetry to sketch characters in your novels. It reminded me of something a novelist/poet said at a seminar years ago – she had turned a haiku to a poem, to a short story and, finally, gave it additional life as a novel! Have you ever happily transmogrified a poem thus?

  2. Hi Jennifer,
    what a great concept to work in the opposite direction and add layers to a haiku! I haven’t actually tried that, but as I said, to cut to the chase, to really know my characters they peel their layers off in a poem! Then I can forge ahead in prose. If I get stuck, another character poem emerges- which is where I am right now with my novel- alas my weird brain won’t conform to a detailed plan but it sings to poetry! Thanks for commenting- you are a poet too?

  3. Hi Lorraine
    Yes, same breed and also write children’s books…
    I can’t work to detailed plans either – i suspect we are both very right brain! 🙂 Isn’t it wondered!
    I used to think I was a little weird the way I just seem to write from the end of the pen, that is till I saw the documentary on Les Murray [The Moon at Midday] where he described how he wrote!
    How about you?

  4. Thank you Jackie and Lorraine. It’s refreshing to see different forms of literature for children being published. ‘Love that Dog’ introduced me to the verse novel. Now I’m looking forward to reading ‘Ratwhiskers and Me’ and ‘Star Jumps.

    1. Sue- I’ll be reading your books too- managed to see your website and see you have a Nibbles and also published with Walker! ‘Love that dog’ is a personal favourite of mine as is Karen Cushman(author)- it is great to see different forms of writing being published for children- there is great more experimentation in this genre than for adults I think.

  5. Jennifer- yes will check out your website- no haven’t seen that film on Les Murray- will put it on my to watch list.
    Yes love the adventure that writing takes-I am just as surprise when I write a poem as to what comes- that’s the pure pleasure of writing.

  6. Thanks for the great interview, Jackie and Lorraine.
    I love Ratwhiskers and Me and can’t wait to read A Ute Picnic. Your idea of using poetry to sketch out your novel characters sounds inspired and inspiring. I’m going to give it a try. Best, Chris

  7. Hi Chris,
    glad to have given you another way of drafting! We need all different ways- well I do.
    Thanks to Jackie for hosting the interview!
    Go poetry!!!

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