Write a Poem for Poetry Month!
By Karen L. Totten
Writing a poem can be fun!
Yes! It’s true!
How do you start?
With words, of course!
And a few short lists.
Beginnings: Invention and Inspiration
Begin by listing four or five animals you like. For example: Mice frogs dogs hamsters
Or, you might list some favorite foods: Examples: ice cream spaghetti tofu broccoli
Perhaps you love being outdoors. List a few nature words. Examples: Clouds maple trees rocks
Remember: any object or thing can be on your list. There is no correct answer. You are inventing and allowing yourself to be inspired. Let words flow.
Next, pick some action words. Like these: slide, float, churn, melt bark freeze wave shrink
Take a couple words from one of the object/thing lists and put it together with some action words. Caution: don’t put together two words that someone might expect.
Not: clouds float or skates slide
Instead: trees churn or dogs wave
You can also add some descriptive words, but use them carefully.
Remember, a poem is not a list of descriptions but a unique-to-you view of the world.
Again, here is a list of descriptors: green, bitter, sweet, lazy, grainy, plastic
Begin Your Poem
Write a line: green (color—describes ) ice cream (food--object) shrinks (action)
As you write, say why or where or how or when something happened. You can use “as” or “like”.
The green ice cream shrinks with each lick of my tongue.
Fill in the Details
Finally, go back and expand the poem by adding phrases or words that more specifically describe the ice cream, the shrinking, or licking the cone.
Break your lines into shorter chunks, as with a poem.
Like so: My mint ice cream cone
shrinks and shrivels
like a melting iceberg
with every lick
of my now numb tongue.
Voila! A poem. All it needs is a title.
Try writing one poem a day for a week during Poetry Month. 7 days.
Type them or get someone to help you. Staple the poem pages along with two blank pages for cover and back.
Or punch three holes along the left side of each page, plus cover and back. Tie together with yarn.
Give your book a name. Decorate with stickers, drawings, photos .
Congratulations! You’re an Author!
Here are some examples of Poems by students (from 10-Second Rainshowers, by Sandford Lyne)
A Taste of Poetry by Students
We march out of the classroom
like angels in front of the teacher,
but when we get outside onto
the soft earth we run and yell
and fight and scream.
We are no longer angels.
We are masters of childhood.
--Jennifer Edwards, Grade 6
The wind I can’t see
but I feel and hear
and it must be a spirit
for when it passes
I see trees
bow down to worship.
--Nello Caramat, Grade 5