Both my sophomores and seniors are in the midst of studying poetry. I like poetry. Lots.
However, I understand the deeper truth in the popular saying:
Truth is like poetry..most people hate poetry.
I suppose this statement is saying truth is found in poetry, yet while most people desire the truth, they really don’t want to hear it. Connect this epiphany to poetry. If poetry represents truth, then people don’t want to hear or read poetry.
Welcome to my world.
(Most of) my students don’t want to hear, read, and most of all, study poetry. I make them anyway. Yes, I’m that kind of teacher.
I do try to make it a bit more fun, (after all I did dress up like Mary Poppins for homecoming week) by adding clips and such that discuss the importance of poetry or I present poetry in an paradigm shifting way.
Do you know that if you write poetry you could become a famous award winning writer?
Beyond analyzing and writing responses to poetry, I have students create their own poetry. Here is a mini-poetry workshop from my Creative Writing I files:
1.Pick a word or short phrase for the first line
2.Add a word or phrase to it for the second line
3.Take the ending line to create the consecutive lines, adding a new word or phrase each time until poem reaches a satisfactory conclusion.
In the garden there is a tree.
And in that tree is thinking spot.
And in that thinking spot are my daydreams.
And in my daydreams are pathways.
And on those pathways are choices to make.
And from those choices to make I will decide.
And from those decisions will become my destiny.
And from that destiny I will live my life.
And I will live my life always dreaming, always thinking.
I am thankful for trees.
I have a
I have a nap
I have a nap hiding
I have a nap hiding in
I have a nap hiding in my
I have a nap hiding in my backpocket
I have a nap hiding in my backpocket and
It found me.
Take any word or concept or topic and define through a mix or poetical flow and concrete definition to better understand what it is all about, especially on a personal level.
Grammar is the spine
Of prose and all we know
That is called language,
Which can be spoken
Or written down.
And all those nouns
And modifiers that often dangle
And nominative clauses that
Are the vertebrae.
And without our vertebrae
There would be not enough spine
To stand us up.
So it is with language.
SECRETS REVEALED POEM
All of us carry secrets. Some should stay hidden and some can be released. Secrets Revealed poems help ease the burden of confession in a light-hearted manner. Secrets can be real (“I ate the last piece of cake and blamed it on my cousin Bobbie”) to creative (“I am Captain America’s favorite niece”)
Chocolate Cake Ache
It’s said secrets nestle in our stomach like tasty morsels,
yet, I don’t think that can be said for stolen chocolate cake.
For there it sat like a lump,
like a great big chocolate bump
Oh, it was tasty: fork-licking, hit-the-spot, lick-my-lips, glad-I-ate-it tasty,
until the realization settled down on top of that confectionary indiscretion.
“The last piece?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yeah, I think she did.”
For undisclosed penance I passed on dessert that night.
And I do like tapioca pudding.
“Sure, Bobbie—you can have mine.”
Unexpressed confession, even though it is rerouted through unexplained acts
of sudden generosity,
does not relieve the ache of stolen chocolate cake.
This I know.
INSIDE, UNDERNEATH, AND BEYOND
This is a poem of exploring matters contained within, or underneath, or beyond something everyday, or even unexplained. Choose something to explore and decide which direction of discovery to investigate: will it be to dive inside to see what makes it tick, or will it be a burrowing sense of exploration where layers are removed and examined, or does the exploration go beyond known boundaries?
Inside all poems
Is a question
And inside this question
Is a quest
The poet rides out
on a journey to find
or an answer–
or maybe to hear
an echo of reply
from one who seeks
an answer to the
same question quest.
is not a place I like to be
places especially not chosen
underneath our house–
dank earth of spider habitat
bug haven and perhaps where
the neighbor’s cat did hide and done died.
No, not under the house.
Not under the sea either–
All fishiness, and no way to breathe.
Sharks and stingrays and eels—oh, my…
And thanks, but no for caves.
In fact, anywhere it’s dark.
Dark is underneath and where the light
You’ll not find me.
The idea is to write with imagery and detail in a way that it places the reader in that particular moment of time. Actual photographs can be chosen for inspiration as can a reflective moment. Employing the senses, playing with figurative language such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, internal rhyme can help create a moment rich with remembrance.
The crowd swelled, receded, and swirled
Yet you did not pay heed
To the push and jostle
Of the nameless faces.
Anticipation’s scent lingered in the air.
Shuffle and adjustment of frustration, excitement
Mingled and settled
As the one face in a million became spotlighted
As he traversed the passenger-smoothed steps
Into your arms.