Thursday, March 13, 2014

Expect the Unexpected: Seeing With the Eyes of Your Soul Part II

Telling your story in poems is easy. We can model the poet William Stafford who did not always create great works by special revelation but by carving out time in his day to simply reflect and to write (National Council of Teachers of English, 2014).

Poetry comes in all forms. My rub off poem was free verse. You don't have to be concerned with rhyming nor do you have to be concerned with line spacing. Some poetry is even void of capital letters and punctuation.

If you want your poems to rhyme, try using a rhyming dictionary, which is set up for you to search for sounds such as um: come, Christendom, succumb, and the like.

Another great companion for poetry writing a thesaurus. You can look up an ordinary word and find a list of extraordinary words with which to replace it.

Some poems tell a story. And one such amazing poem, which was published in a book, is Marilyn Nelson’s A Wreath for Emmett Till. Nelson tells Emmett Till’s story--a true story of an African American teenager who was brutally murdered for whistling at a White woman. But she tells Emmett's story in a creative way--in the format of a heroic crown sonnet—a collection of 15 sonnets, and the 15th sonnet is composed of the first line of each of the previous sonnets (Nelson, 2005).

Write about yourself by telling your story in a poem.
  • Start by pondering. Ask yourself a question: What makes you who you are?
  • Then write a paragraph and erase some of the words to create a poem.
  • Or answer the question by writing brief phrases.
  • Use a thesaurus to locate interesting words.
  • Or use a rhyming dictionary to locate words that rhyme--you decide on a rhyming pattern.
  • Develop your own interesting style by indenting some lines or even placing only one word on one line.

Visit your public library to read a variety of poetry books. When you find a style you like, model it.     

So, what makes you who you are? This is the story in you. Share it.


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National Council of Teachers of English. (2014). William Stafford: His poetry was a way of teaching. The Council 
     Chronicle. March. 1-3. Retrieved from

Nelson, M. (2005). A wreath for Emmett Till. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company

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