poetry writing exercises

poetry writing exercises

Enhancing Creativity Through Poetry Writing Exercises

1. Introduction to Poetry Writing Exercises

Many literacy researchers agree with these observations about the benefits of poetry historically offered to students to develop their voices as writers. Yet few educators today make classroom time for poetry writing, partly because they are themselves unsure how helpful it is to young people and partly because they themselves have not written poetry since they were students. Our hope is to show educators how to write and share poetry with students in a “no big deal” manner that retains the clarity and power of expression that made poetry appealing to young people in the past.

In our college classrooms, we teach our students many lessons about writing from how to find a topic, research that topic, and craft a thesis statement to how to organize the details in their essay into a clear format with a strong, well-argued conclusion. These lessons on writing tasks associated with producing academic papers are valuable, but their emphasis on analysis, argument, and formal organization make them less likely to enhance students’ confidence in writing a more creative form of discourse. Even in creative writing classes, students are frequently reluctant to learn to write and share poetry. Yet learning some rules of poetry writing can inspire students to write in rich, descriptive detail and experiment with new ways of expressing their feelings and ideas. The finished product achieves a unique blend of thought, feeling, imagery, and emotion that engages both the writer and the reader.

In this section, we will present easy instructions for writing poetry. Specific exercises are included for writing traditional verse forms such as sonnets, haiku, and quatrains. Students are encouraged to share their poems with one another when they believe their poems are ready for class critiques.

2. Exploring Different Forms and Techniques

Form and rhyme and meter and personality in every poem do not necessarily make good poetry. This is one appellate truth teachers have a job to construct before they offer students the magnificent reward of writing which touches on the condition of being human. They frequently want good relations with their students, and they ask them to pour out their hearts, reveal all to them while hiding little. Language used in original ways creates this intimate experience. Otideminnen invites mimicry, true. But it teases dissent from the reader. The writer shows the reader a situation uniquely but finds a magic key in traditional forms and subjects. When teaching, the easy is not necessarily the best.

Returned to my old high school some months ago; entered a class I knew there was poetry in, for I could feel it the moment I walked in. During the high school years, among peer pressures, all the changes at the end of adolescence, the writing impulse goes dormant. I tried, politely, to uncover some of the impulses that were covered up and told them freely about the impediments that persist, because I remembered them.

In their endeavors to steer the students away from grave creative problems, teachers often require them to try out a variety of forms. They may want to first offer a basic structural framework so that students are freed to concentrate on details – the substance rather than the form. They may wish to limit the scope of a topic so that students do not feel overwhelmed. Then, to let the writing impulse off its leash, to let it run, they might demand an exact word limit or rhyme or meter pattern.

3. Using Prompts and Constraints for Inspiration

3. Using prompts and constraints for inspiration Using poetry prompts and constraints can challenge beginning and advanced poets to find new ways of expressing themselves, to find an impetus for writing poetry, to write and revise poetry drafts, or to point out new aspects of their craft and review their work. In this section, you will find several types of poetry prompts and constraints. The difference between a poetry prompt and a poetry constraint is simple. A prompt is intended to get you started, and a constraint, as its name would imply, is intended to force you to begin a poem with an interesting structural condition. If you are just getting started in poetry or uncommon methods for doing so, or if you are an advanced poet looking for a challenge, you may find a purpose for one of these suggestions. Whether you are accomplished or just getting started, you should at least seek out good prompts, persuasive constraints, and choices that you find interesting and fun on occasions when you just aren’t feeling inspired.

Using poetry prompts and constraints can challenge beginning and advanced poets to find new ways of expressing themselves, to find an impetus for writing poetry, to write and revise poetry drafts, or to point out new aspects of their craft and review their work. In this section, you will find several types of poetry prompts and constraints.

4. Collaborative and Interactive Exercises

Once the poetry is written and read in class, it forms a meaningful bridge between conversations about different worldviews such as what we know, how we think, and what we believe, and an obligation to understand, respect, and celebrate diversity within the classroom and beyond. We need a civil society that keenly respects and celebrates not only the great power and diversity of dance, music, and poetry, with strength analysis and pursued with an eagerness to write and read about all things in and related to world literature. Writing can be one way in which we can participate in the vibrant ferment at the intersection of literature and science. In addition to enabling writing students to grow in the ability to comprehend complex, difficult, and challenging challenges, and to use their judgments, skills, and understanding in the context of complex conversations, writing has the potential of opening the classroom to the life of the imagination in a manner that can lead students to deeper intellectual aspirations and better reflect about and comprehend the world from many different worldviews.

In the exercises discussed in this chapter, it is recommended that the teacher first conducts all of the exercises by participating along with the students in the class. This participation can serve as a demonstration. Furthermore, the spoken text in these exercises can then be recorded and transcribed. Once this is accomplished, the procedures outlined in this chapter can be easily followed by any teacher. Poets have a set of names for many concepts, themes, structures and styles of writing and revising: Ars poetica, persona, theme, allusions, sonnet, aubade, enjambment, chiasmus, the volta, call and response, repetition, allusion, tonal word choice, image associations, associative imagery, connective tissue, off rhymes, assonance, tone, aspects or the voice of the speaker, and pyrotechnics. After holding poetry readings, the students and teacher write poems collaboratively, beginning with a prompt. They pass the poems back and forth, line to line, and text to text. Or they collaborate not as writers but as members of the audience.

5. Reflecting on and Sharing Your Work

King for a Day – Write a poem that describes what all you would do if you were crowned king/queen for a day.

My Personal Weatherman – Write a poem that describes what a fun Saturday would be like but only use weather-related imagery.

Dr. Doolittle – Write from the point of view of a pet about what he/she would like to be able to say to his/her owner after a really traumatic day.

Tag Team – Write a poem about the first superhero/superheroine duo and the conflict they have trying to fit into modern society.

More than Words Can Say – Write a poem about a book or a movie you absolutely love in such a way your poem tells the most about it.

Sing for Your Supper – Write a poem about a band or a singing group that had a disastrous career.

Young at Heart – Write a poem about a cartoon character as if that character were an ordinary, middle-aged man/woman.

Autumn in the City – Try to capture October with a poem that conveys the breezes that chase leaves, the haunting echoes of Halloween, and the vibrant fading of tree leaves both in city parks and on tree-shaded city streets.

Best Friends – Write a poem to and/or about the person who is your best friend.

Piece of Cake – Write a poem about a baker as viewed through the eyes of a child.

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