Today, award-winning poet, Lorraine Marwood is back at DeeScribe Writing with more poetry tips.

Her new book A Ute Picnic has just been released and she’s going to talk about how to put a poetry collection together.

Lorraine has had her poetry published in many literary magazines in USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand- a haiku in Japan, Cricket in USA,  School Journal NZ, School Magazine NSW and Pearson magazine and of course many literary journals in Australia including Island, Southerly, Westerly, Overland, Going Down Swinging, Poetrix.

Lorraine, How difficult was it to come up with enough poems for a collection? Did you have some written already on a theme, and then created others to fit it or were they all created from scratch?

A good question- a mixture of all those possibilities really.  Because I’ve been writing poems for at least 15 years, I had fragments, ideas and complete poems waiting to be gathered together into a theme based collection.

Can you tell us about the process of putting together your collection? For example, how did you choose which ones to include? Did you think of the theme first?

Because I seem to be a poet at heart when I began to be published with Walker- Sarah always knew I wrote poetry and loves poetry, so that is a big plus to begin with.  The idea for a collection had been gathering momentum for awhile now and especially a farm based collection.  The lynch pin of the collection is the prose poem A Ute Picnic and once this was in place the rest of the collection grew around it.

Do you have any tips for someone wishing to put together their own poetry collection?

Yes, try and be published in some different ways first- like journals to show a prospective publisher that you have done an apprenticeship and that your poetry can be published.  Read other collections and see what sections they have included- is the collection one theme or a conglomerate of topics?  Try and be known as a poet – enter competitions, go to workshops, submit work to magazines and journals. Read poetry, try different formats for poetry writing and be patient – poetry is a hard genre to be published in.

What was the most enjoyable part of putting together this collection?

Reliving surprising moments- being thankful that I kept a writing journal, telling myself that I need to continue keeping a writing journal.  Working with two editors who appreciated and understood poetry,  that was an immense bonus.

Poem from A Ute Picnic

What was the hardest part?

Keeping the momentum going. This project has been dangling for a couple of years. I had to be prepared to spend chunks of time on re-writing- making sure copyright was mine on the few poems that have been published elsewhere, and writing completely new poems from a journal entry; for example the joke poem in the collection.

Do you have any other tips for ‘would be’ poets?

Write as much as you can, even a few lines may later grow into a satisfying poem.  Read new and well established poets, enjoy the change from idea to tingling poem that mysteriously occurs. Don’t be hard on yourself, the more you write, the more your writing muscle will respond to the poetic demands.

Read your work  out loud- listen to its rhythm- even though I don’t rhyme- although please note there are rhyming poem in the collection.  I can hear inside my head now if the poem doesn’t sound right.

Many literary magazines in USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand- a haiku in Japan, Cricket in USA,  School Journal NZ, School Magazine NSW and Pearson magazine and of course many literary journals in Australia including Island, Southerly, Westerly, Overland, Going Down Swinging, Poetrix.

Thanks Dee for your wonderful questions- I hope many poets and writers find inspiration and encouragement from the answers- thanks for hosting me today.

Thanks Lorraine for so generously sharing your writing journey and your tips with us this week.

Your new book, A Ute Picnic is a beautiful collection and I’m sure it will be enjoyed by poetry lovers everywhere.



Lorraine Marwood and husband, Kel at London High Tea

Today, an extraordinary poet and writerly friend, Lorraine Marwood is visiting to share her poetry tips.

Lorraine, the author of two verse novels and numerous poems is on a blog tour to celebrate the release of her fantastic new poetry collection, A Ute Picnic.

So far she has visited the following blogs:

Janeen Brian’s blog

Natalie Marwood’s blog

Sally Murphy’s blog

Claire blog’s site today

Lorraine started out writing stories then someone suggested that her natural voice could be poetry and she began to write poems for small literary magazines. Her first published book was a collection of poems called ‘Skinprint’ published by Five Islands Press.  And one of her first published works as a teenager was a poem.

I never thought that I could be a children’s poet – was always initially a literary poet.  But I did want to write for children, always.

I love the fact that a poem can be finished – well mostly finished in one sitting- it seemed to fit into my busy schedule when I was on the farm and now also.  Another aspect is the concentration of emotion and senses that can be packed into a poem.

Lorraine gets the ideas for her poetry from things she observes, something someone says, a feeling or an emotion. Lorraine says she likes the way poetry is spare in words yet conveys so much, so that means there needs to be a different angle and another layer of meaning added to the poem.

I also like the way something ordinary can be the subject of a poem.

Lorraine's new poetry collection

There has to be that inspiration – an observed incident, an emotion that needs concrete expression, a jotting down of words and lines until that satisfied sigh comes- then I write yes beside the poem and leave it in draft form for a week, a month and then come back to it with fresh eyes.

A title can take as long sometimes as the writing of the poem itself.

I believe a title is an integral part of the poem and rounds the whole morsel into a tasty gulp.   A poem also needs a strong line to grab our attention and a strong line to leave us with a lingering after taste.

Its hard to de-construct the process, I just know that for many years I wrote up to five small poems a day and that discipline now  helps me. If I sit down (and I must point out that I need pen and paper to compose. I rarely write a poem straight onto the computer) I usually come away with a good draft, even three or four poems that are usable.

Now I compose strategies to get children and adults writing by scaffolding the process. I have a great strategy called images which I love using to encourage people to write. I use this in upper primary  school, secondary school and with adults. It works really well.

I’d really like to do a book on the strategies I’ve composed and refined over the years and many have been published over four years in Literature Base.

Star Jumps has been shortlisted for the 2010 Prime Minister's Literary Awards


Observe the world around you and keep a notebook; a journal of words, ideas, thoughts emotions and dip into them when you need some layers or an initial idea for a poem.  And of course read lots of different poems.

Lorraine has online resources on her website:

I have a section called resources and in  there are strategies for different ways of writing poems.  Also on Monday to celebrate the release of A Ute Picnic, I put a two word technique up online as a free download.

The Walker website has teacher notes for three books I’ve had published with them so far and each time I’ve written a different technique to write poetry and its included with the teaching notes.

I also have an e-course for poetry that I’ve written available from

After Lorraine leaves my blog, other places she’ll be visiting include:

Wednesday 11th August   Sandy Fussell’s blog

Thursday 12th August  – Lorraine’s coming back here to give us more great poetry tips

Friday 13th August  Sheryl Gwyther’s blog:

Monday 16th August ‘A Ute Picnic’ will be visiting Kat Apel’s blog:

We hope you’ll come back to DeeScribe Writing on Thursday to hear Lorraine talking about  how to put together a poetry collection.

CELEBRATING THE RELEASE OF “STAR JUMPS” – Lorraine Marwood’s compelling new verse novel released TODAY!

star jumps cover 1239062684026Star Jumps, the new verse novel from award-winning poet Lorraine Marwood is being released by Walker Books Australia today. 

Lorraine says about her story,

“I’ve always wanted to write about contemporary farm life – as an ex-farmer and watching my children grow up on the farm, I knew there was an untold wealth of detail and story waiting to be shared. So often the stereotype farm is presented as old-fashioned – there is so much modern technology on a contemporary farm also. So this book is almost a social document but also dedicated to the many hardworking farm children who learn so many skills at a young age.”

Here’s my review of Lorraine’s beautiful new book:


by Lorraine Marwood

Published by Walker Books Australia

RRP: $14.95

PB ISBN9781921150722


Ruby, Keely, Connor and their dairy farming family have made it through years of drought.  But while the kids continue to star jump their way through the paddocks, and frolic amongst the marshmallow weed, part of them knows that this year is different – that everything is about to change – that everything they know and love could be lost.

In this poignant verse novel, Lorraine Marwood conveys the feelings of  powerlessness of children facing the problems of an adult world. Despite the bleakness, there is hope in the form of the enterprising Ruby who devises a plan to keep the farm going.

Reading Star Jumps was like tunnelling into Marshmallow weed with Ruby and her family. On every page there are new discoveries and language delights.

Author Lorraine Marwood is a masterful poet who can convey the strongest emotion with the simplest description. ‘We look at the flat-as-a-pizza country with all the extra topping eaten away.’ In this simple sentence, she defines a drought in terms that her young readers can relate to and visualise.

Despite the hard times depicted, Star Jumps is also full of the joys of being a child, living in the country with plenty of space and freedom to be yourself.

Every word has its place in this story, yet despite the pared down style, the characters are realistically depicted through their actions and dialogue. Each character has their own unique voice – even the collie, Anteater, and the cat, Stinky.

Lorraine Marwood comes from a farming background, and this is clearly a story that’s close to her heart.

Star Jumps is an inspiring read for children aged 9-11 who refuse to just ‘let things happen’.

For more information about Lorraine and her work visit

You can find tips for young writers based on the writing of “Star Jumps” at and a classroom writing activity at

Thanks for sharing your wonderful book with us Lorraine.