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Showing posts from September, 2013


List poems are an easy and successful way 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.

Here are some ideas that will assist you to be even more successful with this widely used poetic form.
Poems are frequently full of surprises and a list poem requires the same. It needs to be more than a shopping list.You need a variety of items and when considering what to include.Be specific!Use colorful names for people, animals and objects.Use varied syntax (sentence structure)Try leaving the title until the poem is completedBe prepared to rearrange the items in your list to obtain the best possible effect. A big list is more effective than a short one.These poems need to be read with feeling and rhythm If you like the idea of List poems, check out Douglas Florian. His work makes frequent use of the list poem structure and his illustrations are superb. 
A flood of childhood m…

NARRATIVE POETRY- Grandma Doesn't Understand Picasso

Amy, a former student, inspired this poem. We sat next to each other on a bus when I accompanied a group of students on an excursion to a local art gallery. Her opening remarks became the title for this poem. Ideas emerge when we least expect. We must be ready to catch them.

I don’t think my Gran likes Picasso His paintings leave her agog She is puzzled by Pablo Picasso - A dog should look like a dog ! Landscapes are more to her liking And portraits of luminous folk Or some beauty draped on a soft velvet couch Wearing a long flowing cloak
Gran can’t approve of Picasso His arrangement of line, form and size She stares at his paintings and mumbles Terrible !  triangular eyes?
Gran’s clearly not keen on Picasso But she’s no weeping woman you see For she takes me to all the galleries And that’s made some impression on me
One day I may be a painter And use an impressionist style But for now I like looking at paintings
And I’ll stay with Picasso awhile
Alan j Wright

NARRATIVE POETRY -Supermarket Sally

I have always viewed supermarkets as a necessary evil. The meeting place of the modern hunter and gatherer. I enter with trepidation. I gather and go. However, I am grateful to supermarkets for giving me this particular poem a few years back after witnessing certain supermarket events. Hope you enjoy it...

Aisle Be Seeing You Supermarket Sally I fell in love with a check out chick The girl from checkout three I fell in love with her Because, she spoke to me
She said, Do you want a bag with these? And held up my two tins of dog food and super hero motif underpants for everyone to see And I was all aglow As people stared at me
Her name was Sally Tanner She was a wizard with the scanner She zapped and zipped Zipped and zapped No item could evade her trap
She was supermarket Sally In her neatly pressed white blouse A goddess of the grocery store Oh, I could watch her zap for hours
But I saw her kissing Fabian Beside the fresh fruit stand And after work I saw them leave And they were hand in hand
She had been m…

Shining More Light on LUNES

Some years ago, while consulting with a Brooklyn school situated near the Naval Yards, I met an author by the name of Jack Collom. Jack had written a book with Sheryl Noethe titled,'Poetry Everywhere' (Teachers & Writers Collaborative.2000) and on that day was sharing some of his poetry experiences with students. It just so happened that I was carrying with me that day, my copy of the book, and Jack graciously signed it for me. 

Jack and Sheryl's book introduced me to 'LUNES' -a simple three line poetry form, providing probationary poets with lots of word fun. Lunes have just the right amount of challenge for young poets, and a supportive structure to encourage the writer to be brave. 

First line -3 words
Second Line - 5 words
Third Line - 3 words (usually with a twist or unexpected outcome)

Unlike it's ancestor, the haiku, it counts words not syllables, and it is not confined to nature or the seasons. It just needs eleven well chosen words, and the possibilitie…

Spring Into Poetry

'The key to teaching poetry isn't drilling the vocabulary into your students and having them practice how to recognize iambic pentameter -- the key is getting them motivated. Show them the poetry you enjoy, and explain with genuine enthusiasm why you like it. Let them see what drastically different authors have done. Teach children how to appreciate poetry, and they will understand it. Understanding will lead to their own love of poetry, and that love will carry them forward.' Gregory Webster
With these words ringing in my ears, I intend to set myself a challenge and post a poem everyday for the month of September. It's spring in Australia, so I'm springing into verse. Ironically, the first poem I ever recall writing way back in about Grade 2 was about spring...

Today, the sun is shining...
I AM THE SUN I am the sun I provide warmth Encouraging daffodils to bloom I warm your back And instantly you are dreaming of beach days
I am the sun I scorch the earth until it is parched …