Playing with Poetry
Poetry comes in many different styles. No matter what your taste is, there is a poem for you. Poetry can be serious and thoughtful, or humorous and fun. Poems can be in the form of ballads, sonnets, light verse or free verse. Poems often rhyme, but they don't have to. Poetry can be interesting to read, and enjoyable to write. In celebration of National Poetry Month, I am devoting this page to reading and writing poetry. Read the short poems on this page, then try writing some similar ones of your own.
Let the rain kiss you.
Once there was an elephant,
-Laura E. Richards
The fog comes
I think mice
What is Pink?
What is pink? A rose is pink
Poetry is an art form, just like painting or singing. There are poems in all of us just waiting to be coaxed onto paper. Are you a poet and don't know it? Try these activities and find out:
Haiku is a short Japanese verse that contains three lines. Lines 1 and 3 contain five syllables; line 2 contains seven syllables. Haikus are usually descriptive word pictures about nature or seasons.
1. Spotted ladybug (5)
Turn a haiku into a tanka poem simply by adding two more lines of seven syllables each.
1. Spotted ladybug (5)
Acrostic poems are also called title poems. First, decide on a title for your poem. Write it across your paper, then write it downward on your paper. Use each letter in the word as the first letter of a line. You can write down your name and use adjectives that describe you, or write one using a friend's name, or use any subject and write a poem using the letters of that word.
Poems can be riddles. Try writing a poem in which the reader has to figure out what you are describing.
His bill an auger is,
(What is it? A woodpecker!)
A limerick is a five-line nonsense poem with a specific meter. The rhyme scheme is usually a-a-b-b-a. The first, second, and fifth lines have three stresses; the third and fourth lines have two stresses. Limericks often contain internal rhyme and alliteration.
1. A tutor who tooted the flute (a)
Diamantes are seven-line poems that make a diamond-shaped pattern and shift in meaning from top to bottom.
Follow these directions:
A cinquain is a five-line poem.
1. On the first line, write down a noun-a person, place, or thing, idea, or quality.
Alliteration - repetition of a consonant sound in a line of poetry ("sing a song of sixpence").
Figurative language - use of words in which the writer says one thing and means another.
Free Verse - a poem that does not follow any regular rhyme or rhythm pattern.
Imagery - descriptive word pictures that are appealing to the senses.
Metaphor - an implied comparison without using the words "like" or "as" (rosy cheeks).
Meter - a poem's recurring pattern of rhythm.
Onomatopoeia - words that imitate a natural sound (bang, boom, tinkle, pitter patter).
Personification - giving human qualities to non-human things (referring to a ship as "she").
Rhyme - repetition of similar sounds, often at the ends of lines but may also be internal within a line of verse.
Simile - a stated comparison of two things using the words "like" or "as" (cheeks like roses).
Symbolism - use of an image or object to represent an idea or something else larger than itself.
Tone - the characteristic emotion or attitude in a poem.
Every household should own at least one anthology of famous poems. If you like to write poetry, a rhyming dictionary and thesaurus are very useful. I also recommend the following poetry books and websites:
A Child's Anthology of Poetry, edited by Elizabeth Hauge Sword. (A timeless collection of poems, both modern and classic, for the whole family to enjoy.)
A Child's Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson. (A classic collection of poetry based on the wonders of children's imaginations-poems about playing, daydreaming, singing, seasons, gardens, toys, pirates, fairies, and faraway lands.)
How To Write Poetry Scholastic Guides, by Paul B. Janeczko. (Covers rhyming poems and free verse; with writing exercises, tips, and sample verses by well-known poets as well as student writers.)
Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, by Paul Fleischman. (A Newbery Medal book; read these poems aloud with a partner, and make the different insects come to life.)
Perfect Poems for Teaching Phonics (Grades K-2), by Deborah Ellermeyer and Judi Hechtman. (Delightful poems, lively lessons, reproducible activities, and word games for use at home or school. Don't let the word phonics in the title fool you-these poetry activities are fun!)
Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry, by Myra Cohn Livingston. (This detailed handbook covers everything from mechanics to terminology, with a wide range of examples.)
Poetry for Young People Series, edited by Frances Shoonmaker Bolin, et al. (A series of beautifully illustrated books, each featuring the works of a different famous poet: Emily Dickinson, Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, and more; with commentary and annotations.)
Poetry From A to Z: A Guide for Young Writers, by Paul B. Janeczko. (An excellent beginner's guide to creating and understanding poetry, with examples.)
Quick Poetry Activities (You Can Really Do!) (Grades 2-5), by Jacqueline Sweeney. (A unique selection of poem models and instructions-name poems, weather poems, crazy titles, headline poems, "if" poems, word textures, and more-with lots of samples written by children.)
Read-Aloud Poems for Young People, edited by Glorya Hale. (An introduction to the magic and excitement of poetry, featuring a wide variety of classic and contemporary poems organized by subject, some of which are annotated. This book is meant for adults to read aloud to children, and parents will most likely find their own cherished childhood poems included in this volume.)
www.rhymezone.com - Look up rhyming words, synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and more.
www.loc.gov/poetry/180/ - Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High School Students, from the Library of Congress and U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins.
www.bartleby.com - With thousands of poems by hundreds of authors, Bartleby.com offers one of the largest free collections of verse on the web.
www.poets.org - Visit their Online Poetry Classroom "For Educators" which offers free access to poetry curriculum units and other resources, or start with Poetry 101: Resources for Beginners. See also: Reading Poetry with Children and Poetry Resources for Teens. From The Academy of American Poets, originators of National Poetry Month.
www.okcom.net/~ggao/P/poems-2.html - Read classic poems from around the world, arranged by nation and by genre such as ballads, odes, sonnets, humor, children's rhymes, etc.
http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets_by_nationality.html - Famous poets and poems from around the world, listed by nation and author.
www.poetry4kids.com - Children's poet Kenn Nesbitt provides helpful advice for kids on how to write funny poetry and shares some of his own humorous poems online.
http://home.freeuk.net/elloughton13/scramble.htm - Unscramble the words of some short poems or write your own creations; works just like refrigerator magnetic poetry.
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