KidPoWriMo Day 17 ~ Tanka

Our Wednesday haiku adventures have led us first to 5-7-5 (17 syllable haiku) and then to six word haiku. I would rather not use the word “haiku” to describe poems that are much larger than 17 syllables because there are larger forms of poetry. These poems could fit into these other descriptions. Tanka is one of these slightly larger poetic forms.

Poetic word of the day: tanka (click here to see this word defined on Dictionary.com)

The easiest way to describe tanka is to add two 7-syllable lines to the American 5-7-5 haiku format.

So, you will have five lines and the syllables per line will be in this order: 5-7-5-7-7.

Although this is 14 syllables larger than haiku and you get to say almost twice as much as you can say in a 5-7-5 haiku, I encourage you to make the most of all the syllables you have just as you would be when writing haiku.

If you have any haiku that you think need more words to be the poem you want it to be, try remixing it into a tanka.

You may start by moving the lines around. The five syllable lines can switch places and the seven syllable line can go in one of three places in the tanka. You may also add two syllables to one or both of the five syllable lines. Then once you write whatever lines are missing, you will have a tanka.

Let’s go through this creative process together. I will create as I write.

PROMPT: Write a tanka poem by remixing an existing haiku by you or someone else.

I am going to remix a 4-line haiku poem entitled “Bad Morning” by Langston Hughes into my own tanka (the title and author’s name link to the poem on the All Poetry site). I like his haiku because he sneaked in a rhyme.

Pick your haiku or write one to get started.

Here is my version of Langston Hughes’ 17 syllables. I have reworked them into 3 lines:

(5) Oh, Lord have mercy!

(7) I’m sitting here frustrated

(5) Shoes are mis-mated.

Next, I will write an original haiku poem inspired by this one:

(5) No tissues in sight,

(7) I need to suppress a sneeze!

(5) Heaven help me please!

by Cheryl Crockett inspired by Langston Hughes’ “Bad Morning”

Notice, my haiku has a different topic and is unique and original.

Next, I can take take one or both of my 5 syllable lines and make them into 7 syllables by adding two.

(7) THERE ARE no tissues in sight

(7) OH LET heaven help me please!

As I build my tanka, I can use these lines in either of their 5 or 7 syllable forms, edit them again or write new lines.

Now, my haiku has a complete message, but as a tanka, it needs more information. I will think about other things that accompany a sneeze and a need for tissues or a substitute for tissues. This will help me create a word list that I can expand into phrases.

(1) Cold

(1) Flu

(1) Dust

(2) Shirt sleeve

(2) Paper

(2) Towels

(2) Pollen

(2) Disease

(3) Allergies

(3) Infection

(3) Contagious

(4) Toilet tissue

Now I can finish my tanka by expanding my haiku:

(5) Pollen fills my lungs.

(7) There are no tissues in sight.

(5) But with all my might,

(7) I need to suppress a sneeze!

(7) Oh, let heaven help me please!

by Cheryl Crockett

How did your tanka develop? If you would like to share it, feel free to do so as a comment below this post.

FOR PARENTS OF YOUNGER CHILDREN:  Read some haiku that you have written using the prompts earlier during #KidPoWriMo, or find some on the internet. You can do this by typing “HAIKU” into your favorite search engine. Talk to your child(ren) about each haiku and ask them what else might have happened before, during or after the story or message in the haiku. Help your child(ren) to create 7 syllable lines based on the details they imagine. Add these lines to the haiku to make a tanka.

With each of these exercises, because your children may need help writing from an older person, make sure to tell them that you are “making poetry together“. This tradition will stay with them and they will understand that poetry is important to you and it will become important to them, too.

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KidPoWriMo Day 9 ~ Four by four

Last Tuesday, we learned about iambs and feet in writing poetryUsing this, today we will write the first four lines of a poem. Each line will contain four iambs.

REVIEW OF DAY 2: One iamb is also known as a foot that has two syllables where one is stressed and the other is unstressed. I suggested that we name an iamb with the first syllable stressed a: “left-foot” and one with the stress in the 2nd syllable a “right-foot”. An iamb can be one two-syllable word or two one-syllable words.  For this exercise, stressed syllables will always be next to unstressed syllables. In other words, alternate the unstressed with stressed syllables.

The following example will use “right-feet” and the stressed syllables will be in UPPERCASE letters.

The 2nd line of a favorite children’s rhyme has three right-foot iambs:

the MOUSE ran UP the CLOCK” (from “Hickory, Dickory Dock”)

The line has six syllables (3 feet or iambs) where the even-numbered syllables are stressed (2nd, 4th & 6th).

Each line of the poem we will write today has an added iamb for a total of 4 iambs per line.

Poetic word of the day: “stanza” (click here to see the definition on Wikipedia)

A stanza is a part of a poem. It can contain as few as two, up to almost as many lines as you like. Similar to a paragraph, which can contain any number of sentences and is a section of a written work, a stanza is a section of a poem.

When putting your words together, feel free to use the whisper-shout exercise, from Day 2,  to make sure you have put the stresses in the right place.

Pick your topic and write it down. I am creating as I write this post. My topic is “snacks”. I will write my whole creative process. Let’s write together, shall we?

I am going to write backwards so I can put my topic word at the end of a line and because I know it will be easy to find other words that rhyme with it.

SNACK

The word “HEALthy” is a “left-foot” iamb, but when I put a one syllable word after it, I can make it work in my line. But, because we are only using right-feet iambs, I will try something else. My strategy will be to use as many one-syllable words as I can.

to GET my SNACK

I have two iambs and I put my topic word at the end of the line. Next, I will think of words to go in front of them:

i JUST can’t WAIT to GET my SNACK

Now, I have a line! I could use it to open my poem as the first line, or it could be at the end of my poem. Where would you put this line among the four? I will figure this out as I write the next lines.

my CHOICE is ONE that’s GOOD for ME

OK, a second line came quickly. Now, for a third. As I start my third lines, If I am going to use rhyme, I need to keep “ME” and “SNACK” in mind.

some GRAPES

my SACK

inSIDE

i PUT

This is the order that the iambs came to my mind. When I put them together into a line, I get:

i PUT some GRAPES inSIDE my SACK.

And I have rhymed SACK with SNACK. Knowing that I still need to rhyme something with ME, the word “AGREE” came to my mind and it is a right-foot iamb! Yay!

do YOU aGREE

don’t YOU aGREE

if YOU aGREE

I wrote a few options of phrases for my fourth line.

that’s WHAT i THINK do YOU aGREE

i’d LIKE to SHARE if YOU aGREE

These almost work, but I am not happy with what I have written so far. Should I think of another word or phrase that rhymes with ME?

you SEE

a TREE

the BEE

my KNEE

for FREE

with GLEE

(from “A”) to “Z”

OK, I will start my fourth line over again writing iambs that go with “for FREE”

mySELF

i PICKED

each ONE

them ALL

them FROM

a VINE

I have more iambs than I need, so I will put some together to make my fourth line:

i PICKED them ALL mySELF for FREE

Let me try another combination:

i PICKED them FROM a VINE for FREE

Now, I have four completed lines that I can put together into a stanza.

I just can’t wait to get my snack.

My choice is one that’s good for me.

I put some grapes inside my sack.

I picked them all myself for free.

I can reorganize the lines so that the line I wrote first is somewhere else in my stanza:

I put some grapes inside my sack.

I picked them all myself for free.

I just can’t wait to get my snack.

My choice is one that’s good for me.

I can put my lines together is many different ways. I can pick the one I like best and put it in my poem. When you read my lines, you can feel the rhythm as you say the stressed and unstressed syllables.

How did your stanza take shape? Notice in my creative process, shared above, some ideas seem good at first but later don’t work the way we thought they would. It is OK to take a couple of steps back and write a few more ideas to see which ones you like best.

Now do this again to make your 2nd stanza and at least a 3rd. Write as many as you like to finish your poem.

 FOR PARENTS WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN: Play with iambs made from one syllable words. Start with the example line “the MOUSE ran UP the CLOCK” and use it like a template. Take one of the stressed words out of the line and replace it with another word chosen by your child(ren).  Then pick any other word and replace it. Do this one word at a time until you have written a new original line. My example: “my PUP went OUT to PLAY”. Let the whole family help change the words. Write down each line, try to make pairs of lines rhyme. Finally, put them together.

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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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KidPoWriMo Day 1 ~ Words Are My Toys

FAVORITE WORDS & RHYME

Ever since I learned to read and write, I have played with words. From the first day I learned about poetry, I wanted to write my own. I have been writing poems ever since that time.

To have the most fun with something used for play, you learn everything about it. Just like you would know the secret places to earn extra points in your favorite video game, or whether the doors on your toy car open/close, or how a doll’s arms and legs move, if words are your toys, you know a lot about them. If you know how to pronounce a word, you can rhyme it with another word. If you know a word’s part of speech, you know how to use it in a phrase or sentence. And if you know that a word has more than one meaning, you can play with it using either or both of the definitions.

Words are like the jigsaw puzzle pieces the poet puts together to make poetry. And just like the finished puzzle is a picture, your finished poem will make an image appear in the minds of those who read your poem. You may use any word you want in a poem. And you can create new words and give them meaning through your poem.

Poetic Word of the Day: “RHYME” (click here for the definition on Dictionary.com)

Rhyme is one of the most popular tools a poet uses. Most children’s books have rhyme on every page. Lyrics to most popular songs, from Country to Rap to Pop and Rock, contain rhyme.

PROMPT: Think of your favorite word and write a poem about it (or that contains it). Use rhyme at the end of the phrases in your poem. You may rhyme two or three lines with the same sound at a time and then use another sound for the next two or three lines. Your poem should be at least four lines long.

If you are new to rhyming, vowel sounds are often easiest to rhyme:

“E”: me, see, tree, plea, clearly, disagree, ordinary…

“O”: no, glow, snow, dough, throw, rainbow, below, regrow…

“A”: day, say, may, clay, hey, re-play, portray…

“I”: hi, pie, lie, die, cry, dry, try, high, reply…

“U”: do, new, blue, stew, clue, untrue, achoo…

You can find a rhyming dictionary at your local public library. You can use it to look up a word and all those that rhyme with it. You may discover rhyming tools on-line, also.

PARENTS OF YOUNGER CHILDREN: If your child(ren) cannot yet read or write by themselves, when you have story time, point out the rhyming words on some of the pages of the book. See if you and your child(ren) can think of other words that rhyme with those you read. Some kids may want to finish the book first. Others won’t mind thinking of rhyming words before you turn the page.

I have made words my toys. I look forward to seeing how you play with them.

Thanks for coming to play with your favorite words and rhyme on Day 1!

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