Steven Herrick

Hooray! A new poet profile. Please welcome the very talented Steven Herrick to blogland.


What poets did you enjoy reading as a child?


I didn’t actually read any poetry as a child. The only books I read were ‘football’ magazines and related books. I started enjoying poetry in Year Ten when I discovered Bruce Dawe and Judith Wright. I hated studying poetry, but loved reading them.


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


I was eighteen years old and it was a poem called ‘love is like a gobstopper’. I sent it off to a poetry magazine and a few months later, they sent me an acceptance letter and  cheque for five dollars! I couldn’t believe anyone would be interested in what I wrote, much less pay for it! Unfortunately, I lost the poem. But, I later re-wrote it (from what I could remember) and included it in my first verse-novel for young adults, ‘love, ghosts and nose hair’. www.stevenherrick.com.au/nosehair.htm


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


Always free verse. Because I’m trying to accurately capture the ‘voice’ of each of the characters in my verse-novels or poetry collections… and we don’t talk in rhyme, so I don’t write like that.


Are your poems best performed aloud or read quietly to oneself? Can you provide an example?


Some are best performed





Some are best read from the page





and, hopefully, some work both ways





Who first published your poetry?


I did! I self-published two small chapbooks ‘the esoteric herrick’ and ‘sick in my espresso’ and then the Melbourne poet Pi-O published a chapbook of mine titled ‘didn’t vomit once’.

My first full-length book was ‘caboolture’ published by Five Islands Press.

My first book for young people was ‘water bombs’ by Jamroll Press (Leonie Tyle and Robyn Sheahan-Bright) and was later re-published by UQP.


Where else have your poems been published?


I’ve had sixteen books of poetry published by either UQP or Allen & Unwin. I’ve also had seven books published in the USA (with Simon & Schuster; or Front Street Press), one in the UK (with Egmont) and three in The Netherlands (with Lemniscaat).


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


I’m sorry I can’t really answer that as I don’t send poems to anthologies.


Have you published a collection of your own poems/story in verse/verse novel? Where would we find a copy?


Water Bombs (UQP) 1995  – poems for YA

love, ghosts and nose hair (UQP) 1996 – verse-novel for YA

my life my love my lasagne (UQP) 1997 – poetry for children

a place like this (UQP) 1998 – verse-novel for YA

poetry, to the rescue (UQP) 1998 – poetry for children

the spangled drongo (UQP) 1999 – verse-novel for children

the simple gift (UQP) 2000 – verse-novel for YA

love poems and leg-spinners (UQP) 2001 – poetry for children

Tom Jones Saves the World (UQP) 2002 – verse-novel for children

Do-wrong Ron (Allen & Unwin) 2003 – verse-novel for children

by the river (Allen & Unwin) 2004 – verse-novel for YA

naked bunyip dancing (Allen & Unwin) 2005 – verse-novel for children

lonesome howl (Allen & Unwin) 2006 – verse-novel for YA

Cold Skin (Allen & Unwin) 2007 – verse-novel for YA

Rhyming boy (UQP) 2008 – prose novel for children

Untangling spaghetti (UQP) 2009 – selected poems for children

SLICE (Woolshed Press Random House) 2010 – prose novel for YA

black painted fingernails (Allen & Unwin) 2011 – prose novel for YA











What are you working on at the moment?


I’m having a break from poetry. My last three books have been prose novels. My latest will be published this year with Allen & Unwin, titled ‘black painted fingernails’.

However, I am currently working on a verse-novel for children with the working title ‘Pouky Aleera is not my boyfriend


Do you have a website/blog/facebook etc – where we can find out more about you?






Do you have any favourite poetry websites?


I enjoy my mate Roger Steven’s website,   http://poetryzone.woodshed.co.uk/index2.htm


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


See YouTube and other links above.

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