Skip to main content

The Box of Poetic Possibilities

Quite some ago I purchased an old wooden box from shop called Quirky Interiors. the shop specializes mainly in antiques pieces. The inside of the box was divided into eighteen compartments, equal in size.  I knew the box had potential for my writing, but I was not completely sure how I would use it. So I waited patiently for inspiration. 

Last week, the inspiration arrived!

I decided I would use the box to encourage brave young poets to explore poetic possibilities.

I labeled the box 'Poetic Possibilities.' Into each of the compartments I placed words and phrases I harvested and typed onto cards. The words selected were from poems previously published. 



Students were offered the challenge of selecting a card from the box. With that card, they were further challenged to use the word or words in a poem of their own creation. They could place the word or words anywhere within the poem- beginning, middle or end. They could also repeat the word/words.
However, once chosen the selected card could not be returned to the box. They were allowed however, to swap the card with a fellow writer if they so desired.


In a group of 34 writers, 28 took up the challenge. This pleased me. I watched them closely as they talked about connections to the card they had chosen. They discussed possibilities, made lists and began to compose their poetic responses. Fresh, raw words began to emerge on the blank pages of their notebooks. They paused to think and they persisted. No one gave up. No one said this is too hard. 

During share time they did admit it was challenging to begin, but they also liked grappling with the task as presented. They were brave writers. I reminded them that writing a was 'problem solving.' process.  I will return in two weeks time to see their polished pearls of poetry.


Apart from the poetry connection, this task extends vocabulary, the use of poetic devices and writing stamina. 

I see the potential for students to contribute their own words to the box. Words arising from their own reading. Words from Read Aloud sessions and words from their writing. 

For this activity I used an old wooden box. It could have just as easily been a jar, a tin, a small chest, a paper bag, and envelope- any container that arouses, mystery and curiosity among learners and brave poets alike.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

List Poems Are Easy To Like

A list poem is one of the easiest kinds of poems to write because it doesn't require a set rhythm or rhyme. But that doesn't mean you should write anything down helter- skelter.

Consider the inclusion of the following elements to make a list poem a poem instead of just a list:

• The writer is telling you something--pointing something out--saying, "Look at this," or, "Think about this."
• There's a beginning and end to it, like in a story.
• In other words, the poem needs to make sense and have some kind of flow to it.

List poems provide an easy and successful structure to get children feeling more comfortable with poetry. They are to be found in the poetry of many cultures and have been employed successfully by many contemporary poets.

Poetry is full of surprises. List also need to be full of surprises. Without the occasional surprise your list poems will have all the appeal of a supermarket shopping list on a day when you don't want to go shopping!

Here …

The Challenge Of Rhyming Verse For The Inexperienced Poet

Poetry is an extremely flexible writing form. It is easily weaved into our writing programs across the year as opposed to just being pigeon holed into a specific unit of work. Poetry offers a unique response to literature -fiction or non fiction. Such is the flexible nature of poetry. 

From an early age children have much exposure to a significant amount of rhyming verse. That our classrooms are filled with poetry that is enjoyable to listen to, or fun to read is important, but it may not necessarily provide the best starting point for inexperienced poetry writers.

When used skilfully rhyme can add to the lyrical nature of poetry. When it is used out a sense of expectation, it frequently serves to detract from the poem's intention. It weakens the words overall. If you listen closely you can hear the words clunking into place. They just sound like they don't belong.

Don't get me wrong. I am not anti-rhyme. In fact, I have to guard against over using it. It is a natural inclina…

Image Poem

Image Poem

This poem owes its existence to Georgia Heard's idea of the six room image poem where six elements are addressed in the writing that follows:

Image
Light
Sound
Questions
Feelings
Repetition

The challenge is to expand our vision of selected images by attending to each element when writing. The idea is to spend time considering each of the six elements by thinking about them as rooms we must enter in order to think more deeply about our word choice.


The Grandfather Clock

The Grandfather clock
Stood tall like a palace guard
Marking time in Nana's lounge-room
Against the wall
Avoiding the sunlight streaming through lace curtained windows
Tick-tocking as the pendulum swung in its unerring arc
Brass and chains and moving arms 
Encased behind a long glass face
The clock announced the passing of each hour
With blare and boom
The rowdy ringing out
Chased the silence from the room
Why so loud? the small ones asked
Why so tall? the small ones wondered
They kept their distance
Time moved on relentlessl…