"Old McDonald had a farm
he also had a dairy
he washed his beard in creamy milk
to make it long and hairy."
Sally, a mum, grandma and great grandma, has been writing since she was a child. She has had many poems published in anthologies and small presses, including a pamphlet called ‘Coal Dust and Confetti’.
Sally says: "The Wasamaroo poems are poems that have been written over the past forty odd years both for my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. They were thrilled to see them in print and enjoyed reading them again and brought back their childhood memories as they read them to their children. I like to use the ridiculous nonsense to stimulate imagination and make both children and adults laugh. I think they can be enjoyed by most age groups who have a liking for this kind of writing. I enjoy writing nonsense rhymes too. The Wasamaroo was one of those poems that came quite suddenly and was written very quickly with just a few tweeks and rewrites to get it as I wanted it."
For more, see interview below...
Sally has contributed to our anthologies, 'Another Time', 'Time', 'And Tide' and 'Wartime Tales' as well as being the author of the wonderful 'The Wasamaroo' book of poems and nonsense rhymes for children.
Interview with Sally James 24/03/2019
L: Hi, Sally, it’s a pleasure to be able to interview you about your gorgeous little book, ‘The Wasamaroo’. Perhaps you could begin by telling me all about the origins of some of the rhymes within.
S: The origins of some of the rhymes in Wasamaroo were sometimes just pure imagination but a few were about things that happened like the one about my children's pet cat that would sit on the dust bin washing his fur and a neighbour coming out and squirting water at him. The one about Spotty dog I made up when I was ironing one day just to keep the children occupied. They really loved this poem even though it was sad. I saw some Llamas in a field whilst out walking one day and the poem popped into my head about a Llama in pyjamas . Wasamaroo came very quickly for a creative writing exercise. I had to write a name with four syllables and write a poem about it thus the Wasamaroo was born.
L: Did any of your family members have personal favourites from the works within ‘The Wasamaroo’?
S:My grown up children liked Spotty Dog and My Pussy cat as they remembered them from their childhood. Depending on their ages one grandchild aged six liked Nosy People and a five year old great grandchild liked a Limerick to Make you sick. Grown ups have commented how they like Bongle Boo and a Martian Lament. My teacher daughter liked the one about the teachers stock room. All seemed to like The Wasamaroo.
L: What made you consider publication now?
S: I considered publication now as I am getting quite old and would like to see my children's poetry in print and for my family to enjoy. They were just gathering dust in files and I thought it would be good to share them in the big wide world and for people to make of them what they will.
L: I know you’re an experienced writer of many years standing and undertook an MA in Creative Writing, as well as specialist Lancashire dialect works. You still perform, don’t you? Would you mind sharing with us some of your writing history?
S: I started writing poetry when I was about twelve years old inspired by poetry I did at school. John Masefield comes to mind. At junior school I loved writing "compositions" as it was called in those days. Being the eldest I also loved making stories up for my young brother and cousins when I looked after them. When I had children and grandchildren of my own I told them bedtime stories that I made up as I went along my imagination working overtime.
I have had poems published in numerous anthologies small press magazines e-line magazines and read on local radio. I also along with my husband entertain with Lancashire dialect poetry we call ourselves The Tin Pot poets. I have a pamphlet of poetry "Coal dust and Confetti" about the harsh realities of mining which was published in 2014 by Thynks publications. A few of my short stories which are mainly about industrial Lancashire have won prizes and been published on line . My husband and I also have a cd called The Tin Pot Poets where we aim to promote the Lancashire dialect with our dialect poetry.
L: How would you describe your writing in five words? How would you describe yourself?!
S: My writing in five words Quirky funny serious thought provoking.
Describe myself? A mixture of happiness and sadness trying to make sense of the world I find myself in.
At the moment I am putting together a book of the short stories which I have written over the years.
L: What further writing ambitions do you still have? Are you working towards them at the moment?
S:My ambition is to write about my late husband's Channel Swim which he did in 1991. I am hoping to start writing this this year.
Thanks so much, Sally x