Saturday, September 20, 2008

poets who don't know it

Yesterday was our first 'real' day of the Poetry unit in Freshman English. For many, it was extraordinarily painful. I tried to ease them into the whole thing by generating a discussion about our favorite words on Thursday - how they sound, what they mean, the way they feel coming out of our mouths. That went well [meaning, not disastrously inappropriate].

Friday, then, I handed out pictures I'd cut from magazines along with strips of interesting words. Each person had to choose at least 8 words that remotely matched the picture (they could trade amongst themselves or pull different ones from the bowl). Then I had them create a poem incorporating the words they chose.

The drama. The moaning. Groaning. Gnashing of teeth.

I assured them that they could do it; no one, in fact, had ever died/exploded/imploded/suffered an aneurysm from putting together a poem. (As far as I know). I encouraged them to move the strips of words around on their desks, group them together in a variety of ways, even write a few sentences about the picture first. I drew tall narrow rectangles on some people's papers to help them structure their poems - putting only a few words on each line to get away from writing short stories (that's the next unit).


The graceful butterfly flew into the silver
painted mailbox and got himself trapped.
He was all alone in a distant delirious place.
~ Christopher

The sickly polluted smoke silently
slithers through the air in a
black cloud. It pollutes our earth
as man does nothing to save it,
courage is what we need, for this
disaster to go away, or else
we will all crash and burn.
It is like the seasons are
giving us a warning.
~ Anthony

The breeze is pure
The voice is pure
The zebras stare
Quietly in the bleary picture
It looks stormy
A hidden desert
Is hard to endure
~ Taylor

It has always been reality
that women are devoted to
Love, intense obsession, ridiculous
purses are overrated
There's dark ones bright ones
they're dreadful
the ugliest one I've seen
had a rose on it
~ Lauren

What a pleasant & promising way to end the week, wouldn't you say? (Unless you're the poor purse with a rose on it).