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.



Popular posts from this blog

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…

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 Poet's Paint Palette

Canadian Poet and educator, Carl Leggo wrote, 'writers write their worlds in words. With the resources of the alphabet we explore and express who we are in the world. The alphabet provides the building blocks for constructing knowledge of our identity.' Carl Leggo shared this idea for growing a deeper appreciation of poetry:

Carl Leggo reminds us that these 26 amazing letters hold infinite possibilities, infinite combinations. How magical is that? Sound, shape and power combine to create shades of meaning we can share with an audience of fellow readers and writers, the world over.  

*Write down the 26 letters of the alphabet
*Circle your five favourite letters
*Write five words that begin with your five favourite letters
*Use these words to reveal some poetry

There exists in these 5 listed words much in the way of music. Opportunities abound for alliteration and zany connections. There is an energy in the words as well. We can begin to look at the alphabet with renewed respect.The a…