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Poetry Verses Prose Workshop with Kathryn Apel by KR Clarry

One stormy Sunday afternoon, eager writers trudged into the Queensland State Library to exercise their minds and be brightened up by the art of words.


On Sunday 16th June 2019, Kathryn Apel shared her insights into “Poetry Verses Prose: Learning how writing in verse develops writing muscle and sparks creativity.” and her journey to becoming a published author.

Kathryn began writing verse novels when she found a gap in the market for engaging books for boys. They were enjoying the short sharp scripts of verse novels, yet the topics were more female oriented. So, Kathryn wrote books for boys in mind to reengage the reluctant readers.

Writing in poetic form, whether it be rhyme or free verse, can be more difficult than a traditional narrative structure. There are many benefits to writing in verse. The key points that were discussed were that writing in verse slows down the words so they are not lost in quantity, but rather the quality amplifies the emotion being conveyed.
Also, writing in verse allows words to be physically manipulated on the page as the location of the words add action to the poem and aids the flow of the narrative. Words can also be used to create a physical shape on the page to become artistic within themselves. Kathryn demonstrated how she used these within her own books “Bully on the Bus”, “On Track” and “Too Many Friends”.
“Words are powerful – but so is silence. White space gives your words strength.” ~ Kathryn Apel.
The traditional poetic tools (e.g. onomatopoeia, rhyme, alliteration, etc.) can be incorporated into a verse novel and the author can have more flexibility in their writing, bending the traditional rules often found with poetry.


When shaping a poem, Kathryn described her process in three stages. First, she’s a body builder: toning and tautening the words. Second, she’s a gardener: pruning and shaping the words. Third, she’s a clumsy clown: releasing the colourful balloons of relaxed fun and play throughout her work.

Then Kathryn put our writing muscles to the test! She demonstrated a range of different poetic styles, how she used them, how to write them, then gave us challenges for us to use our creativity and a lot of muscle power to write in each style. We explored Didactic Cinquians (only 11 words long!); Haikus (only 3 lines with less than 17 syllables); Solages (for a joke) and Zentangle Poems as a form of Erasure Poetry (using a pre-existing text, finding a free verse poem within, then creating zentangle designs to emphasize the poem by disguising the unused text).


The two hour workshop culminated with the exploration of how can be used to inspire writing through artworks. This tool can be used by writers alike, not just the poets at heart, by utilizing the stored illustrations and writing prompts to create new inspirations.

Once the sun had set and apparel had dried, the eager writers departed smiling with sparked inspirations and more tools of the trade in their kit to exercise their ever developing writing muscles.
​On behalf of all 21 poets-to-be in attendance, I would like to express appreciation to Kathryn Apel for sharing her time and knowledge with fellow authors and to BookLinks and The Queensland Writers Centre for coordinating and hosting a creative escape in which we got to further develop our professional writing skills.

For more information about Kathryn Apel and her collection of books, check out:
​For more information about BookLinks for future workshops and events, explore:

For more information about The Queensland Writers Centre, see:

Photography by Maria Parenti-Baldey and KRC Photography.


Author Bio of KR Clarry:
KR Clarry is an OP1 graduate of Logan and a Teacher of 14 years’ experience with a strong passion for life long learning. She has taught in State, Catholic and Independent schools as well as having roles with a University and an International Education Company delivering ICT professional development to school administrators, staff and students.
 KR loves to read, write and bring stories alive through modelled and shared reading and writing experiences. She is currently working on many exciting projects.
 When she isn’t lost in a world of creative imagination, KR likes to do ballroom dancing, bush walking and photography, as well as volunteering for a range of different community charities.
 KR’s ultimate goal is to make a positive difference in the world and works to inspire children to aim high to be the best versions of themselves that they can be.​
Photograph by Special Memories Photography.

Blog coordinator: Lucy McGinley


    August 7, 2020

    Great write-up Karla!
    Kathryn’s poetry workshop sounds both practical and inspiring,
    Karen Tyrrell author

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