Skip to main content

Some Considerations for Poets...

Consider Fragments

One way to approach poetry is to think in terms of ‘fragments’ Because a poem is an impressionistic form of writing, we need to view it as a chance to paint with words. We need to capture a single moment, an image. Fragments work like a small dab of colour applied to a canvas. When words are used in this way, they bring the writing to life.- they inject energy into the writing.

Michael, a fourth grade student wrote

The Subway
People everywhere
Pushing, shoving
Packed in like sardines
Can hardly breathe-

How different the poem would have sounded if Michael had written his poem in complete sentences:

There are people everywhere,
Pushing and shoving
We are packed in like sardines.
We can hardly breathe

It is therefore important to teach young poets how to pare back their thoughts so that they are capturing ‘fragments’ that will convey the energy that poetry requires.

Consider Shape

When you’re writing a narrative you don’t need to think quite as much about how it looks on the page. You just work down the page until it is filled with your wondrous words. Young writers need to be made aware that poetry is different. Writer and poet, Ralph Fletcher says that writing a poem is like building a word house. You have choices though.
You can make your house wide with lots of words on each line, or you make it tall and skinny with few words on each line. You may also choose to have a combination of line lengths, or create a recurring pattern such as a short line followed by a long line. The possibilities are many. The shape you choose, will affect the way your poem sounds when it is read aloud. You, the writer, must decide where you will place the line breaks. You might consider various forms of your poem each with different line breaks before deciding on the look and sound that best suits the poem.

Consider White Space

White space is a blank line in a poem. By using white space instead of a line of text, you create a moment of silence for the reader and the listener. White space can be used to highlight a wonderful line fragment or image, which may otherwise be lost in a dense part of your poem. The white space helps to draw attention to the words that follow, ensuring that those magical words get the attention they deserve.

Consider Endings

Endings are very important. That final line, that final image or idea should linger in the reader’s mind after the poem has been read. As a poet you need to consider what impression you are leaving the reader. The goal should be to end the poem with your best possible line. You might consider using white space as a way of highlighting the final line of your poem so that the reader’s attention is further drawn to it.

Consider...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Objects of Poetry

We can all write poems about objects, particularly those we value. You may be in possession of an object you cherish quite deeply, or simply find appealing. You may have an object given to you by a loved one. You may have an object which arouses curiosity or mystery. Something we call a curio. On occasions I have found myself writing odes to seemingly everyday objects.

Let's Consider Objects

Find an object of interest and place it in front of you. Now look at it closely. Bring all your senses into play and begin to focus on all its details. Check out your selected object from different distances and angles- close up with a magnifying glass, or from a distance.

Try speaking to your object. Ask it questions. I suggest you do this when you are on your own, otherwise people may begin to think you are a bit loopy. But do it. Think about what your object might say if it had a voice. What would it tell you?

Now, start gathering possible words:

Where did you find or receive the object?
Where di…

When Poets Ponder -Wordplay Emerges

I recently presented a poetry workshop for teachers in Hobart. Kate Neasy was one of those who attended. Kate followed up by emailing me one of her poems last week. It was a wow moment...

Kate Neasy, a.k.a Kathryn Rae has written a poem that really resonates with me. It deserves sharing. Such a cleverly constructed poem.

They say the best books -and poems to read are those that make us think. Well, this poem certainly did that. Kate's poem ponders commonly used idiomatic terms and begins to pose questions regarding their accuracy. Kate has kindly granted me permission to share her words. It gives me pleasure to present them on Poetry Friday.

SO NOT

Blue whales are not blue
New Town is not so new
Gold fish are not gold,
A cold war is not really cold.

A granny flat may be used by teens,
A bean counter rarely handles beans,
A silverfish does not swim,
Happy hour is often rather grim.

Daylight robbery can occur overnight,
Surveillance may result in an oversight,
Laundered money is never clean,
Green…

Opposite Poems

Opposite Poems


In his book, 'How To Write Poetry,' Paul Janeczko presents the idea of opposite poems. Paul suggests they could also be referred to as antonym poems. This is wordplay and it's fun to try.

Here are some examples Paul provides to help us see very clearly how these short little poems work.

I think the opposite of chair
Is sitting down with nothing there

What is the opposite of kind?
A goat that butts you from behind

Paul Janeczko

You will  notice the poems are written in rhyming couplets. They can be extended so long as you remember to write in couplets. Paul shows us how this is done.

What is the opposite of new?
Stale gum that's hard to chew
A hot-dog roll as hard as rock
Or a soiled and smelly forgotten sock

You might notice that some of Paul's opposite Poems begin with a question. The remainder of the poem answer the question posed.

Opposite poems are a challenge, but it is a challenge worth trying. Not every thing has an opposite and not every word has an easy t…