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Poetry Month Ideas: Try Something a Little Different

blackoutpoem1 Poetry Month Ideas: Try Something a Little DifferentDon’t look now but it’s Poetry Month.  Yup.  It kind of snuck up on me too.  For a lot of librarians Poetry Month is that blessed time of year when our Dewey Decimal #811 books start flying off the shelves.  The time of year when we can start to seriously recommend those titles that might have been pooh-poohed at previous times of year.  It is, in short, a glorious month.

In tandem with Poetry Month are assignments where kids have to write poems of their own in a variety of well-established styles.  Haiku is the most popular, but sometimes you’ll get the occasional limerick or even sonnet.  This year, I suggest that we take a look at some of the new poetic forms out there.  Want your kids to get into poetry?  Consider the following odd ducks:

Newspaper Blackout Poems – As creator Austin Kleon puts it, “Newspaper + Marker = Poetry”.  This form is a kind of forced found poem.  The poet’s job is to find a newspaper article or horoscope and to blackout everything except the words in the poem.  Intrigued?  Read a whole swath of them here.  Failing that, you can just buy this screenprint:
blackoutpoem2 Poetry Month Ideas: Try Something a Little Different

Could you imagine anything cooler in a high school English language classroom?

Fibonacci Poems – Children’s literary blogger Greg Pincus is the creator behind this particular form.  In fact, it proved so popular when it was introduced back in 2006 that Motoko Rich even went so far as to write the New York Times article Fibonacci Poems Multiply on the Web After Blog’s Invitation.  Greg explains how to make such a poem on his blog GottaBook saying, “I wanted something that required more precision. That led me to a six line, 20 syllable poem with a syllable count by line of 1/1/2/3/5/8 – the classic Fibonacci sequence. In short, start with 0 and 1, add them together to get your next number, then keep adding the last two numbers together for your next one.”  Math meets poetry.

Twenty Consonant Poetry – But only if you’re REALLY dedicated to doing something new.

Epulaeryu – Not sure if this one’s new or old, actually.  I love the idea, though, since the subject matter is right up my alley these days.  In an Epulaeryu the poem must be about delicious, scrumptious, yummy food.  According to Poetry Soup, “It consists of seven lines with thirty-three (33) syllables. The first line has seven syllables, the second line five, the third line seven, the fourth line five, the fifth line five, the sixth line three, and the seventh line has only one syllable which ends with an exclamation mark. Each line has one thought relating to the main course.”  You can see a whole bunch of examples here.

Need more ideas?  The blog Poetry Tag Time Tips has some clever ways of utilizing poems in the classroom.

Finally, to inspire you, let us sit back and watch an adorable child as he recites Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Eagle in the appropriate garb.

Thanks to Finding Wonderland for the link.

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Elizabeth Bird About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently New York Public Library's Youth Materials Collections Specialist. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of NYPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.

Comments

  1. marjorie says:

    There’s a blog devoted entirely to turning press releases, statements, blog posts and tweets from the Westboro Baptist Church (aka Fred Phelps’s family, AKA the folks who picket soldiers’ funerals with “God Hates Fags” signs) into blackout poems. I’ve reblogged some of my favorites, but here’s a sweet one from an 11th grader:

    http://godlovespoetry.com/post/4528021594/perfect-standards-occupy-your-hearts-and-minds

    I liked this too:

    http://godlovespoetry.com/post/3944981870/99-percent-agree-bible-says-luv-neighbor-fo

  2. Karen Gray Ruelle says:

    Of course, if you really like cool and unusual forms of poetry, you should totally check out Travis Jonker’s gallery of book spine poems at 100 Scope Notes. (Yes, I do have a few of my own submissions in there, I admit it. It was great fun!)

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Yeah, I remembered the Spine Poems too late. Felt kinda stupid that I hadn’t included them. Well, there’s always next year, right?

  3. Janet Wong says:

    I love those blackout poems! And thanks for pointing the way to the daily tips at the PoetryTagTime blog!

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