Category Archives: Poetry

A magical poem anthology and a Christmas carol

Rebecca Newman holding Fire Burn Cauldron Bubble Magical Poems Chosen by Paul CooksonIn October I was thrilled to open a parcel and find a beautiful Bloomsbury anthology with one of my poems in it. The anthology is Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble: magical poems chosen by Paul Cookson. My poem is on page 97 and is called ‘Potion problems’. All the poems have a magical theme so it’s positively brimming with wizards and witches and spells and potions and dragons and more! (The perfect Christmas gift for the primary school bookworm in your life … ) The anthology was out in the UK in September 2020. It will be in bookshops in Australia from 4 December 2020.

Speaking of Christmas … This year I wrote lyrics for a Christmas carol. ‘Here is the Child’ has been set to music by amazing WA composer Joshua Adams. It will be performed as part of a Christmas concert programme by The Giovanni Consort in Perth on 11 December 2020. (Tickets are still available. Numbers are limited, due to COVID restrictions.)

And my last piece of writing news: I’ve had two short stories for adults accepted for an anthology of flash fiction, due for publication by Night Parrot Press in 2021.

In between all of that I’ve been growing loads of parsley and strawberries in my little garden, buying books at friends’ book launches and playing Irish fiddle tunes. And even playing Irish fiddle tunes alongside a cellist at a friend’s book launch. A wave of the wand and here we are at the end of November.   

Fire Burn Cauldron Bubble Magical Poems Chosen by Paul Cookson

Pandemics, poetry, and publication

Isn’t 2020 a WEIRD year? I’ve been very lucky, though — in between all the weird stuff I’ve had some wonderful happenings, too. After my Paper Bird Fellowship event back in January, I had a poem published in the March 2020 issue of The School Magazine. This one’s called ‘The Button Jar’ and has a fabulous illustration by Cheryl Orsini to go with it.

The School Magazine March 2020

Also in March: I was interviewed by author Nadia L King about poetry and poetry writing. You can read that interview here.

Then, when all the social distancing started to happen (thanks, COVID-19), Paper Bird Books started the Paper Bird Books Home Club. On weekdays they host a children’s writer or illustrator on Instagram Live. And in Episode 10 I found myself in the Home Club chair talking about my poetry, where to get ideas, and what to do with a poem. You can watch my 1/2 hour video on the Home Club YouTube channel.

Rebecca Newman at Paper Bird Books Home Club

Make sure you check out this Monday’s visitor, too (it’s the fabulous Kathryn Lefroy!). Head to Paper Bird’s Instagram (@paperbird_books) at 10.30am AWST on Monday to watch that livestream.

And my LAST piece of news: This week I was selected as one of 8 poets for the next postcard series by Poetry on Postcards. My poem is called ‘Indian Ocean’. You can read about Poetry on Postcards here.

Now I’m at home all day (thanks again, COVID-19) I’m trying to get a bit of work done on my children’s novel. I’ve also done a lot more gardening over the past few weeks. To sign off with, here’s a photo of an overachieving sweet pea seedling. It grew so quickly that it made me laugh. (The tiny seedlings beneath it are strawberry plants.)

Sweet pea seedling

Happy Easter!

Let’s Talk Children’s Poetry! (a Paper Bird Fellowship Evening)

If you follow me on social media, you might already know that I finished 2019 on a high note with a second place in Jackie Hosking’s rhyming poetry competition. The end of 2019 also heralded the end of my Paper Bird Fellowship. I was a Poet-in-Residence at Paper Bird for Term 4, and during my residency I was working on my children’s poetry collection, Rules for Sneezing.

Which leads me to this exciting news:

A Paper Bird Fellowship Evening: Let’s Talk Poetry!

Wed 22 January 2020 6 pm to 7.30 pm Come along to hear Sally Murphy and Rebecca Newman in Conversation at Paper Bird Fremantle. The evening will also include poetry readings by Sally and Rebecca.

I will be joining award-winning writer and children’s poet Sally Murphy at Paper Bird to talk about children’s poetry! And during the evening you can hear us read some of our own poetry. We’d love to see you there.

6 pm – 7.30 pm Wednesday 22 January 2020

Paper Bird Children’s Books & Arts,
42 Henry St, Fremantle, Western Australia

This event is FREE! But bookings are required via this EventBrite link.

The Paper Bird Fellowship is a partnership between Paper Bird Children’s Books & Arts, City of Fremantle Library, The WA Branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and the Australia West Branch of the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators. 

In which I become a poet-in-residence

The past few months have been busy! Here’s a quick recap:

This term I’m the recipient of a Paper Bird Fellowship. This means I have the use of a writing studio at Paper Bird during Term 4 while I work on my children’s poetry collection. The collection is tentatively called Rules for Sneezing. I’ve been writing some brand new poems and polishing up some old ones, and preparing the whole collection to be ready for submission to publishers. It’s been fantastic to be able to work on my poetry in such a creative space.

Day 1 as Poet-in-Residence at Paper Bird Books

Day 1 as Poet-in-Residence at Paper Bird Books

A huge thank you to Paper Bird Books, Australia West Branch of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) WA Branch, and the City of Fremantle Library for granting me this term’s Fellowship.

At the conclusion of the Fellowship I’ll be presenting at a public event, so stay tuned for info about that, because it would be nice to have an audience to present to!

October was a great month — I had my first playscript published in The School Magazine (published by the NSW Education Dept). The play is called ‘Back in Time to 2019’ and it’s about school students 40 years in the future who go on a historical excursion to 2019, when we still had plastic wrappers … and bees.

Here’s the cover of the magazine, and me with the play on the day my author copy arrived in the mail. (Illustrations by the fabulous Cheryl Orsini.)

In October I was interviewed by 12-year-old Imani for a series of interviews she was hosting for Booktober. You can check out the interview here, where I talk poetry, and writing, my favourite ice-cream flavour and how I don’t like the smell of books …

Still in October (a super busy month) I spent the month experimenting with different poetry forms. If you’re on instagram, you can check out my efforts over there.

And in between all that I took 33 primary school students on a bus to recite ‘Mulga Bill’s Bicycle’ by Banjo Paterson at a festival. The 33 kids belong to a Choral Speaking Club I run at their school once a week. Those kids are fabulous.

And that was enough, really! Now it might be time for a long nap.

Poetry magic

So, 2019 is off to a fabulous start! I sold a poem to Bloomsbury Education in the UK for their 2019 children’s poetry anthology Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble: Magical Poems Chosen by Paul Cookson. This is extra exciting news for me – I’ve had quite a few poems published by The School Magazine, but this will be my first poem in an anthology. I’m looking forward to holding a book in my hands later this year. (My poem is called ‘Potion problems’.)

Here’s a picture of me posting off my signed contract:

Photo of Rebecca Newman in a spotted shirt posting a letter into a red post box.

And, yes, I made one of my kids come along when I posted the letter just so they could photograph me with the post box. Nothing’s official until you’ve been photographed with a post box.

In totally unrelated news (unless you file it under ‘2019 successes’), I’ve been trying my hand at propagating succulents. And look!

Baby succulent plants

[Off camera: a pile of brown shriveled succulent leaves that were clearly not a success. Let’s not dwell on those.]

A magical poem and baby succulent magic … a good start to the new year.

A new studio and other exciting happenings

Lots of excellent happenings have been … happening … around here. A few months back  I said yes to a shared studio space at Paper Bird Books and Arts in Fremantle. There are three of us being creative in the studio space. It’s light and bright, and since I started writing here (about twice a week) I’ve finished three picture books and I’ve written a good number of poems, too.

Don’t you love this mat?

Paper Bird studio

Speaking of poems (and not so much about mats), The School Magazine has bought two more of my poems this year. And I’ve posted new poems to the Poetry Tag site. Here they are, and if you haven’t already, you should definitely zip straight over and see them in all their glory:




For my birthday, my very clever musical daughter composed a choral work based on ‘Sea Secrets’, which I might post to the blog once I figure out how. *ahem*.

And I’m now on instagram. Over there I’m @rebeccanewmanbooks. I post some poetry stuff, some booky stuff, some garden-y stuff, and some day-to-day-just-sort-of-noodling-about stuff.

In other (kitchen garden) news: this season we’ve planted a new passionfruit vine to replace the old one that’s not really thriving, cucumbers (which are thriving and already have flowers on them, go little cucumber plants!), watermelon, sunflowers, and lettuce. Everyone is thrilled to know that the succulents I planted earlier this year seem to be doing OK. But I imagine even I would have trouble killing those …

Thrives on neglect

New Years’ Resolutions — I have some.

Submit manuscripts to publishers.

I need to send more of my work out on submission. Shortly after coming to this conclusion: I submitted a short story to an anthology on 5th January. Pat on the back for me.

Turn my garden into a low-maintenance garden that has actual living plants in it.


Ready to plant …

I bought pots of succulents. Lots of them. I don’t love succulents — I prefer leafier sorts of plants that rustle when the wind blows (the same sorts of plants, it turns out,  that can be burnt to death by summer sun and desiccated by scorching salty winds). But, emboldened by my new resolve to stock my garden with appropriate flora, I bought a stack of succulents — in particular the ones with labels that said:





They are now planted in between my roses (because I can’t give up my roses). I’m still growing some edible plants, too. This year we have cherry tomatoes (with tomatoes on), cucumber vines (with no sign of a cucumber), passionfruit vines (with two passionfruit, hang in there!) and basil, thyme, rosemary and mint.

Draw something little every day.

I’ve always wanted to be able to draw. And so I’ll try to draw something little every day, even if it’s complete rubbish. Because I quite like drawing. Even if it’s complete rubbish.

In other news, I was very excited to find real mail in my postbox this week.

Rebecca with poem

It’s my latest poem ‘Body Beat’ in the February 2017 issue of The School Magazine (Countdown). The wonderful illustration is by Cheryl Orsini.

And I’ve had a couple more poems up at Poetry Tag (which were not written in 2017 but I thought I’d catch you up). Here they are:

2017 is looking good.

~ Rebecca








Happy World Poetry Day!

World Poetry Day

The School Magazine celebrating 100 Years.

Some of you more savvy readers will already know that this year The School Magazine is celebrating 100 years in print. To add to the excitement, today is World Poetry Day, and Jackie Hosking has talked a bunch(?)* of poets who’ve been published in The School Magazine into a poetry blog tour to mark the day. (Yay!)

My very first poem in The School Magazine was called ‘Odd Socks’, published in June 2014 — and that was the first time I’d been paid for a poem, too. The opening line of the poem came to me while I was at work one morning but I can’t remember if I had odd socks on that day. I do have a history of wearing non-matching socks. You would think that people wouldn’t notice socks … especially since I mostly get around in jeans. In fact, it’s surprising the number of Helpful Souls who will point out to you when your socks don’t match. Those same people are unfailingly astonished to discover it wasn’t a mistake, and that I left the house wearing clashing socks on purpose. Since June 2014, I can tell any Helpful Souls that my wearing odd socks worked out to be quite profitable, really.

The icing on the cake was that Kerry Millard illustrated my poem. As you can imagine, June 2014 was a truly wonderful month for me. (I am strongly in favour of The School Magazine continuing in print for another 100 years!)

You can read ‘Odd Socks’ on the POEMS tab of my website.

So — Happy World Poetry Day to you!

* Internet wisdom suggests ‘an iamb of poets’ but that doesn’t really trip off the tongue, does it? Oh, the irony. In my online wanderings I stumbled across someone’s vote for  ‘a jubilee of poets’ and maybe I should go with that …

Autumn and baking and more poems

Since we returned from the summer holidays, I have taught myself how to make fromage blanc (with the help of the internet, and a kit), and one of my lovely sisters-in-law taught me how to make sourdough bread.

Here’s my first attempt at fromage blanc:

Fromage blanc, made by me. Weird, huh?

Fromage blanc. Weird, huh?

And here’s my latest batch of sourdough:

Sourdough bread, made by me.

As you can see, my sister-in-law is a very good teacher.

I’ve also been busy poem-making, and you can see two of my recent poems over at Poetry Tag:

  1. Beneath the Backyard Lemon Tree and
  2. Cottesloe Beach Skipping Rhyme (with bonus instructions for skipping in a group). BYO skipping rope. And a large bottle of water if you’re in Perth and suffering through this heatwave.

Speaking of heatwaves, looking out of my window I can see my sad garden. Other than my brave rosebushes, there’s not much in it because we were away over the summer break. So, here’s a photo of some of my roses because I didn’t get around taking a shot of the cos lettuces … or the weeds.

Roses from my garden.

Roses from my garden. They smell like turkish delight.

~ Rebecca

A monkey skipping rhyme

Over the school holidays we visited friends in Europe. The landscape was so different, and I took lots and lots of photos (it turns out I have a thing for bare tree branches arching over streetlights in the gloom. Especially if it also involves water nearby and/or cobblestones).

More on that later.

Today I have a skipping rhyme for you in celebration of Year of the Monkey. (Happy Chinese New Year!)

You can share it with anyone and print it off — as long as you leave my name attached to it … and do find a rope and skip to it. Well, OK — maybe not today because it’s eleventy-hundred degrees in Perth and we are all wilting. (If you are in another Australian state, feel free to skip to it.)

I really loved skipping rhymes as a child, and I loved the skipping part too, especially in a big crowd with two people turning the rope.


Over in the jungle
it’s the monkeys’ time for lunch.
They like to eat bananas,
they eat them by the bunch.

Father likes the yellow ones,
Mother likes the brown,
and Baby likes the green ones
munching upside down!

Stay cool. Skip on!

~ Rebecca