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You may wish to start with a class acrostic poem about a word, historic figure, or person that everyone in the class will know. Then have students write poems about their classmates — keeping the descriptions positive, of course!

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Students can also try writing acrostics about everyday objects, places, feelings, or ideas. This format can be used by students to describe themselves, or to describe a figure from history, literature, current events, or anywhere else! Another auto biographical form is the name poem. While many name poems use acrostics, another common format uses this line structure, which encourages students to think about themselves, their family, and what matters to them.

A bio-poem is a poem that a student writes about herself. Not only does it give students a chance to reflect about their own lives, it allows the class to get to know each other better! This format is a great tool for teaching students about the 5 W question words Who? As you can see below, students can get pretty creative with something very simple!

This is a take-off on the magnetic poetry people have on their fridge. Students receive little cards index cards cut into smaller pieces with known vocabulary words on them, and then work in pairs to create a poetry message. The cards can be saved and used throughout the year in a little box, or you can cut magnets such as the kind you get from a store or restaurant into little pieces and gluing them to the back of the cards to play with on the white board or file cabinet.

Free form or free verse is exactly that — free from grammar rules or conventions of writing. This is definitely a type of poetry that students should see a few examples of so that they understand just how free it is! Students choose an idea or theme and create vocabulary words that evoke the emotions and visual they want to share.

Then they string the words together in short sentences or in vocabulary sequence to create the poem. Students may even wish to experiment with the layout of the poem on the page. If students need a structure to start with the teacher can show a model with a three word refrain at the beginning and end. Students can also be told to keep sentences to six words or less so it doesn't become a story. I enjoy teaching Cinquain poetry because of the easy format and the opportunities for developing the nuances of vocabulary. My students of all English levels were able to create a wonderful selection of poetry — funny, sad, and beautiful.

I really loved introducing this poetry form to my students because they could put so much of themselves into it and they worked well with the format. The outline follows:. Depending on the English level of the students, the format could be changed to fewer lines.

Students can work in pairs to review each other's poems and suggest some options of different vocabulary words. Students can also write cinquains about themselves or each other. A shape poem or concrete poem describes a familiar object, and is written in the shape of the object.

You may wish to start with an object that the whole class writes about before having students write their own poems. Shape poems give students a chance to brainstorm words and ideas connected with the object, and to delve deeper into the associations we have with everyday objects. This form of poetry is essentially a list that uses very concise language to describe something such as an emotion or a familiar object. It allows students to explore a single idea while at the same time practicing an economy of language.

For students who are more comfortable with poetry forms and have a higher level of English I recommend the following forms as they require enough proficiency in English to be able to hear syllables and rhymes and enhanced descriptive vocabulary. This is the Japanese poetry form that relies on a pattern of syllables: The trick for ELLs is to be able to hear the syllables and get the wording right.

Writing Poetry with English Language Learners

If a student mispronounces a word they will not represent it correctly in the poem. Here is an example of a Haiku written by a student :. Rhyming poems seem like they would be very simple. Everyone has recited the poem, "Roses are red, violets are blue. However, ELLs may not have a strong rhyming concept depending on their first language and literacy skills and they may not hear they rhyme of English words — not to mention the fact that you have to know quite a few vocabulary words to be able to come up with a rhyming word that makes sense.

To introduce a rhyming format I recommend starting with something simple and then increasing difficulty as students work. For younger readers, many of Jack Prelutsky's poems have very accessible rhymes and rhythms. Older readers may enjoy the more lyrical verses of Langston Hughes. Feeling and Place poems are really themes for any poem, although they lend themselves well to free form poetry. These poems require students to have an advanced vocabulary and the ability to describe emotions and places in detail.

Students can start by brainstorming all the words they relate to a feeling, for example. If the word is, "Sad," they might make a list that includes depressed, tired, crying, missing, lost, father, distance , etc.


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Once they have the list of words they can choose some of them to begin creating metaphors, such as, "Crying is like you're turned inside out. Throughout the process students can review each others' work and offer suggestions and feedback. In this lesson plan , teacher Glori Chaika describes an activity in which students invented their own poetry form at the end of the year, and then had to describe how to write poems in their form to their classmates. While form is important when writing poetry, there is much more to it.

Poetry offers the opportunity to explore an idea and emotion, to describe a special place or object that we take for granted, and create an image that others will be able experience. For this reason, I think it helps to incorporate some instructional strategies that will help students develop these skills. It may help get those creative juices flowing by doing some activities such as the ones suggested by teacher Faith Vicinanza. One of the activities involves students imagining that they are something else such as "a drop of rain, the color blue, a school bus, or a stalk of wheat.

Another good way to begin warming up to writing poetry is to ask students to close their eyes and go through a guided visualization. Instruct the students to think of a place. Is it indoors or outdoors? What do you see and hear? What colors and sounds? Are people there?

What are they doing? How do they feel? How do you feel? When the students open their eyes they can draw the picture they formed in their head and then explain it to a partner. In this exercise, students begin to practice focusing on the process of visualization, and formulate the vocabulary they will need to add description and emotion to their poetry. A quick warm-up for students before writing is the box toss.

Make a little box and write words on all the outside surfaces of the box. Even the most sincere critique of her work can slide from healthy debate into vicious attack at the turn of a page. Frankly, the literary world is saturated with white male voices of dubious quality. Facebook Twitter Pinterest.

Topics Poetry Books blog. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Most popular. It goes further than that.


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    LUCY 72 is a haunting, gorgeously written, and absolutely necessary book for our times. When Lucy speaks, we should all listen closely. Mixing fable and fact, extraordinary and ordinary, Jennifer S. Moon explores bewilderment and shelter, destruction and construction, unthreading as it rethreads, shedding as it collects. Animated by a restless inner questioning, these poems meditate on the forces that moor the self and set it in motion, from immigration to travel to estranging losses and departures. The sensual worlds here—colors, smells, tastes, and changing landscapes—bring to life questions about the self as seer and the self as seen.

    An experimental epic poem or novel, SCREWBALL the indispensable deficit follows a huntress-gatheress from home in the icy north on a journey to the other side of the world. Along the way it explores questions of aesthetics, gender, language, and love. Half poems, half prose, Dear Angel of Death braids intimate and public thinking about forms of togetherness.

    What imaginary and real spirits are her guides? Corral, Chen Chen, and more! Landia excavates literal and figurative borderlands—redrawn boundaries, architectural palimpsests, underground transport systems—to reckon with the historical and cultural forces that shape our cities and our intimate lives. Echoing tensions in social research, Landia is also a reflexive project, questioning documentation as intervention. Present everywhere, they are sources for a rebalancing in human relationships and for new forms of grace and healing.

    They are at first modest and then spit truths. Here, stillness ruptures the domestic hum. Here, rooms are animated principles haunted by dreams and revisitations. When every room in the house leads to a road inside a cloud under a lake, we wake in the double-take as we walk through the doorway again.

    After her suicide in , her innovative, mythic, and dreamlike poetry has greatly influenced subsequent generations of writers.

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    At Your Feet was originally published as a poetic sequence and later became part of a longer hybrid work— sometimes prose, sometimes verse—documenting the life and mind of a forcefully active literary woman. Cesar, who also worked internationally as a journalist and translator, often found inspiration in the writings of other poets, among them Emily Dickinson, Armando Freitas Filho, and Gertrude Stein. At Your Feet includes both the English translation and original Portuguese. These poems are steam punk on steroids.

    These poems describe the world as it should be, as we want it to be, as we fear it will be, as it is every morning between and when our dreams are invaded by Godzilla, Tarzan, Wonder Woman, King Kong, Sinatra. This bilingual edition of the selected poems of Mostafa Nissabouri brings together writings from throughout his career, from early texts that initially appeared in Souffles in the mids to selections from a current, unfinished manuscript— Divan de la mer obscure [ Dark Sea Divan ]—still unpublished in the original French.

    It concludes with a lengthy interview with the poet. Only it subverts that political tool by blacking out in these testimonies all that is—finally—anodyne, to expose the most sensitive information, or rather, to let the abusers expose themselves. We need such radical poetic methods to change the discourse around sexual abuse.

    This is a spectacular debut trying to puzzle though the insurgencies, context, and kinesis of our present, from the workplace to the pop charts but most of all to the politics of struggle. Not My White Savior is a memoir in poems, exploring what it is to be a transracial and inter-country adoptee, and what it means to grow up being constantly told how better your life is because you were rescued from your country of origin.

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    In which ways was the journey she went on better than what she would have otherwise experienced? An almanac, a logbook, a devotional, a witness statement, poetry. A documentary not in the sense of capturing but in the sense of being a creature paying attention to the world we already live in. At times notes, at times lists, or run-on sentences, or poems, or things that want to be poems, but always plants, and always animals. The words are offered up with no correction or with the revision exposed. We hold so many questions about love and attention and violence.

    These urgent, exciting poems ask us how we mediate the distance between the person at a computer watching the war on the news and the person who is in a war zone. How do we mediate language when one is writing about war that happens elsewhere but is intimately felt? The muscular sound and syntax of these poems jostle and pull us uneasily into its fragmented, tension-filled world. This is a necessary work in a difficult time. Here is a miraculous poet made of music.

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    She writes what the world needs to hear—what I needed to hear. She takes on our greatest mysteries and inheritances: love, desire, loss, family, activism, art, justice—and every poem changes the air we breathe. This debut reworks the mind as it breaks the heart with its beauty. To be fully alive, in the face of devastation, grief, and longing, a poet must make a song that could be eternal. Willa Carroll is fearless in the face of that challenge.

    Her music deserves to be sung everywhere—in the church of our earth, in the peace between lovers, in the halls of our learning, in the quiet places of illness and death and mourning. Hers is an art of perpetuity, and she is a genius whose words I hold my breath to hear more clearly. In the length of this gap , Kristen E. Nelson does the trembling work we so often try to avoid. Here she makes eye contact with the abyss — seeking to understand how we metamorphose in the moment of and days, weeks, years following inexplicable loss.

    This is a book of great courage, striving to put the world back together with long lists of what now is and can become.