KidPoWriMo Day 10 ~ Haiku Part 2

When you think about poetry, what comes to your mind?

Poems can be small, like haiku, or smaller. Have you ever heard of a one word poem? I remember one that made the news because it won a contest and was only one word in length (and that one word was misspelled). Some poems may have a few dozen words, or a handful of stanzas. Epic poems can be larger than chapter books or novels.

I think of an epic poem like a blockbuster movie. Spoken word poems that take up a few pages, I think of as television shows. Sonnets, pantoums and other poems that fit on one page are like a music video. And haiku are like a snap shot or photograph. Comparing them to another genre of art helps me when choosing how much detail I want to add to my poems.

One third of the way through the month, we have lots of tools we can combine to write hundreds of poems. And there is so much more we can add to our poetic tool chest.

On Day 3, we learned about 17 syllable haiku, the one that has 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the middle line and 5 in the final line. With respect to the poets who prefer to write haiku that is smaller than 17 syllables, I decided that we would take some time to do that, too.

When writing a poem that must be a certain number of syllables, we sometimes have to add words that may be unnecessary or remove words that we thought were important to the message we want in our poem. When writing smaller haiku poems, a poet can make a message without worrying about counting syllables. No extra words have to be added and no important words need to be taken away.

Poetic word of the day: “succinct” (Click here to read the definition on YourDictionary.com)

Haiku, loosely defined, is a small poem. The #haiku hashtag is very popular on Twitter. Another popular hashtag is #sixwords. People use it to write poems, stories, sayings or whatever they like.

PROMPT: Write a 6-word poem / haiku. Put two words in each of 3 lines. As a story has a beginning, middle and ending, give your poem a beginning, middle and end. After the reader finishes reading the first two lines, they may think they know where the poem is going, but you may surprise them with the last word.

I will use  an example from my own daily haiku project:

Haiku #150 (May 21)

green thumb
long weekend
container garden

by Cheryl Crockett

Notice, small words, such as “a”, “the”, “if”, “is”, are missing from this poem. Still, my message is clear.

PARENTS OF YOUNGER CHILDREN: One at a time, have your child(ren) say a word that comes to mind, a noun. Then have everyone else add a word. They do not have to be favorite words. Go around the room a few times. Add adjectives to the nouns, using a different color ink or crayon. Instead of writing the words on a piece of paper or in a notebook, an older person can write them on 3 x 5 cards.  Put the cards on the side of the table, a pile near each person. Have each person put one word in the center of the table and read the word pairs you see. If anyone likes a word pair, leave those two words in the center of the table and take away the other word cards. Say and write more words to complete a six word haiku. Do this again and again. This is not a game where someone wins and someone else loses. It is an activity where everyone works together to make a poem. Save the cards you make for future poetry activities.

KidPoWriMo Day 8 ~ Personification

Have you ever read a story or poem with objects that do things that humans do? But, you know that if you were to hold that object in your hand, it probably wouldn’t do anything like the way you read it.

When you write about something that is not human but make it behave like one, your are using a poetic device called: “personification”.

Poetic word of the day: “personification” (click here to see the definition on Merriam-Webster’s Word Central)

Personification is my favorite thing to do in a poem when I want to be funny. It helps me make the humor happen and it helps readers look at the topic from a different angle.

When you use personification in your writing, you can make anything you write about do anything you want. All you need is your imagination (and maybe pencil and paper). If you have a game you haven’t played in a long time, you may imagine it whispering to you, “When can we play again?” or it might say loudly, “You’re too old for me! Let me go  to your cousin’s house.”

Personification doesn’t always mean making things talk. Anything a person does can be used to personify something that is not a person.

If you decided to wait until tomorrow to do some work you were supposed to do yesterday, all of the work you have to do in one day may keep you from having any fun. Using personification, you may write about this:  “my chores are ganging up on me” or “my chores have gotten so big, they could try out for the football team!”

PROMPT: Write a story poem using personification. Make it at least 8 lines long.  See if you can combine one of the previous lessons and write with iambs, rhymealliteration or maybe simile’.

FOR PARENTS OF YOUNGER CHILDREN: Personify some items your child(ren) will use in their poems. For instance, a lamp that lights the page on which poems are written can be personified when you make it talk about that. The pen or pencil can add how they shape the words and make them appear on the page. And the notebook can talk about how it feels to hold the important poetic words your child writes. Finally, the three could have an argument about which one of them is the most important, and why.

When riding in a car or on a bus, your child(ren) can personify different things seen through the window. “The blue car is moving slowly because ‘he’s lost…” or “he’s sad” or “he is hungry… where is the gas station?”. “The sun keeps playing hide and seek with your child and the clouds.”

You probably already use personification when you pretend to give a teddy bear a voice  that sings a lullaby or when a forkful of broccoli “asks” your child to eat it. Maybe an empty room in your home “gets angry” if the light is left on or the bathroom sink “cries” if dirty hands pass by without being washed (feel free to use any of these).

Let me add one caution: Consider setting a boundary around this poetic device. When poetry or creative time is over, make sure your child knows they need to stop playing with personification for now. There is so much of it on television, in books and games, they could just as easily stay in personification mode all day. They might even flip it and use it on you when they want something from you or if they don’t want to do something that needs to be done. There is a time to be poetic and a time to understand that cars don’t really get hungry and lamps, pens and notebooks do not have arguments.

My computer and I now bid you “good-bye”.

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KidPoWriMo Day 5 ~ Writing backwards

For most people, Friday is a fun day because it is the start of the weekend. Feeling free of school or work for the two days ahead can make Friday the happiest day of the week. Finishing a week that also included a federal holiday can lift the happiness level to a fever pitch.

To keep the fun in our Friday, today, we will focus on being creative. Writing backwards is a technique you can use to make rhyming words work together. When we write in school, the words in our sentences go onto the page in the same order as we would speak them. When we start to write backwards, we are not sure what our finished sentence will say. Not knowing for sure where we are going helps us be creative.

Now, did you notice something about my opening sentences today? I used a lot of words that began with the same letter.  I will confirm the letter later.

Poetic word of the day: alliteration (click here to read the definition on Merriam-Webster.com)

“Alliteration” happens when you begin two or more words in a phrase or sentence with the same consonant sound or blend. Tongue-twisters are very good examples of alliteration: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” and “She sells sea shells…” are two you might know. They are poems, too.

PROMPT: 1. Pick a pair of words that rhyme and write one of them on the right side of  your paper. Write the other word below the first word a line or two down the page. Nouns are what I recommend for this exercise. These words will end your poetic phrases or sentences.

I will create my example lines below. As I write this, I do not know what my poem will be about. For my rhyming words, I chose:

robe and globe

2. Next, put an adjective before the each word: I chose

cozy robe

spinning globe

3. Add words, one-by-one, to the beginning of your word pairs to build poetic phrases or sentences. Try using alliteration with two words that are side-by-side.

comfy, cozy robe  (…see where I used alliteration?)

dizzy, spinning globe

My finished pair of rhyming lines are:

Lounging in my comfy, cozy robe,

I think about the dizzy, spinning globe.

The two lines make sense together and I can continue to write more lines, backwards or forward to complete my poem.

4. Finish your poem by adding more lines that make sense with the first two. Add as many lines as you like.

FOR PARENTS WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN: Think of some letters and the sounds they make. Say some of them aloud with your child(ren). Pick one of the letters and make a new tongue twister out of words that begin with that letter. Build one of the poetic lines backwards. The lines do not have to rhyme. Write down your new tongue twister poem. Have your child(ren) recite it for your video camera.

*At the beginning of this post, I used lots of words that began with the letter “F”.

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