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Showing posts from April, 2018

Inside This Pencil

“Inside this pencil
crouch words that have never been written
never been spoken
never been taught

they’re hiding”
W. S. Merwin
I’ve enjoyed blogging this month about poetry.It is a nice respite from my usual form, and I hope you have enjoyed our attempts at penning verses. To end this jaunt, you might browse your public library or a bookstore.Find the kind of poetry that speaks to you and add to your library. Buy a journal, something fun and inviting, and emulate the poems you enjoy, stretching your creative muscle and drafting a few poems. Read a poem or a Psalm from the Bible.Use them for meditation before the start of each day. Journal using words, phrases, verses that call to you. Introduce poetry to those around you. Besides those I referenced in my April 9, 2018 blog, try Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky or Ogden Nash for the younger people in your life. To explore the male or female point of view, read Judith Viorst, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, or Emily Dickenson; or Pablo Neruda…

The Six-Room-Poem: Flamenco

Writing poetry does not come easy for me, but that does not mean I don’t occasionally try my hand at penning a few verses. My poetry collection numbers close to 100 books.It intrigues me so some of those books are on the craft of writing poetry. This week’s “how to write a better poem” suggestion comes from Georgia Heard’s Awakening the Heart.It is a technique she uses with students called the Six-Room-Poem that I found amazingly helpful. You take a sheet of paper and fold it into six boxes and position the paper landscape, three boxes on top and three boxes on the bottom. In box 1: describe thoroughly an image or a memory you want to use as the subject of your poem. You are not writing a poem yet, so just fill this box with description. If you are stuck, hold on, since you might get more ideas as you fill the other boxes. In box 2: describe the quality of light or shadow or colors about your topic. In box 3: describe your topic/image using the following senses: smell, taste, sound or …

A Found Poem Using Psalm 91

In my previous two blogs for the month of April about poetry, I gave two suggestions: trying your hand with a “found poem” and imitating a favorite poem or poet by copying one example and substituting its form with your own words to practice “writing a better poem.”

To illustrate how a found poem works, I took a favorite Psalm from the Bible and did the following: 1.I copied words, phrases, or verses from the psalm that I really loved unto a sheet of paper, one example per line, then I cut them into movable pieces with a pair of scissors. 2.In a found poem, you are not allowed to add or change ANYTHING; you can only work with the words, phrases, or verses you have chosen. You cannot punctuate differently or add punctuation where it might be needed, but you can repeat words, phrases, or verses to create a refrain or make transitions or to emphasize images.It will look very “modern.” 3.I took my bits of paper and moved them into different positions, paring phrases down to single words if n…

Writing a Better Poem

Do you want to learn how to write a better poem? 1.Read poetry.Immerse yourself in it.Find and sift through until you find the poets and the poems you like and admire. 2.Imitate their poems.I do not advocate plagiarism; I advocate practice and study.Imbue yourself in the form, the spacing, the use of line and rhythm – all the elements that interest you. 3.Copy your poems into a journal or notebook, or copy and paste it into a digital folder, and also keep ideas, lines from favorite poems, figurative language, vocabulary, pictures, and practice, practice, practice.Keep finished and unfinished poems in one, easily accessible place. 4.Hunt, search, research for new poets and poetry.No need to spend money.Use libraries, bookstores, the Internet.Use recommendations from Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble.Remember there are thousands of novels available, but we only read the few genres we like; likewise, with poetry, there are thousands of poets and poetry out there waiting to be discovered…

April is Poetry Month: THE Found Poem

One of my favorite teaching units when teaching middle and high school students was The Poetry Unit. The kids would groan; the poet beaten out of them in elementary school, what with haikus, and tankas, and diamantes forced upon them by well-meaning teachers, year after year. I allayed their fears, promising them I would take their concerns to heart and maybe teach them something new, something innovative, something that would change their minds about April is Poetry Monththat would not be too painful. I started off by brainstorming on the white board everything everyone knew already about poetry. “It rhymes.” “It sometimes doesn’t rhyme.” “It’s short.” “It’s sometimes long.” “It follows conventions.” “It sometimes breaks conventions and rules.” And so it went until we had covered the white board with everything everyone offered.During lulls, I would ask questions to get more ideas. “Why do some poems rhyme and others don’t?” “How does a short poem get its message across?” “What are som…