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B Draft 5 Creating a Poem Together

B Draft 5 Creating a Poem Together

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Published by bmadden714
Explanation of the exercise of writing a poem together
Explanation of the exercise of writing a poem together

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Published by: bmadden714 on Apr 10, 2013
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04/11/2013

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Creating a Poem Together
 To demonstrate the process of what goes into creating a poem, thewhole class collaborated to write a poem together.In the previous lesson, the “revising” lesson, using the dandelionpoem, we talked about rhyming patterns. From that, we devised ourown rhyme scheme. As we started developing the scheme, I noticed itwas a loose form of a sonnet (a form whose parameters have beenmuch loosened in American poetry in the last 40 years.) As a result, wemade up our own rhyme scheme for a sonnet.
 About Sonnets
Sonnets are usually 14 lines long, have an introduction of an idea, a volta (a turning of events) and then aconclusion. That’s the basic structure. There are many types of rhyme schemes (Petrarchan,Shakespearan, Spenserian) or you can use no rhymepattern at all.Different rhythmic patterns can apply as well, such asiambic or anapestic. Rhythm is a more challenging aspectto teach to younger students, so I just talk about keepingthe “flow” of the poem going. If most of our lines aremedium length, we don’t want to have one that is veryshort, unless it is for a specific purpose (and not justbecause we can’t think of anything!)Often the subject of a sonnet is a pastoral scene, or love,or love in a pastoral scene, but it doesn’t have to be aboutthose things, either.14 lines is a good length for a class collaboration because it isn’t tooshort, ensuring everyone can contribute, but it isn’t too long, so itwon’t take more than two days to complete. The students had their commonplace books open so they could writedown the lines as I wrote them down on the overhead projector. I likedoing this in old fashion marker and paper/OHP so that students cansee the crossing out, the rearranging, the scribbling, the doodling, etcthat goes into drafting a poem.I asked them all to think of a starting line then chose one person toshare theirs. We built our poem off of that one line.
 
Things that came up as we wrote:
Someone would come up with a good line, but it didn’t rhyme with thepattern we set out to follow. This is a great opportunity to show students how to work with theidea so that it fits with the poem. If we think of the paintingmetaphor, it’s like a painter saying “there should be a treethere” and starting to sketch a pine but realizing a maple wouldlook more elegant with the colors. The student came up with agood image, of say, the hunting bear in line 6 now being full butthe line doesn’t rhyme. So I say something like, “Good image,but we need the last word to rhyme with lake” and someone elsesays, “Belly ache!” so we come up with “Bears are now full andhave a belly ache.”Someone would come up with an interesting line, but it doesn’t fit withthe scene we developed.We had a forest scene going with butterflies, wolves, shrews, andbees. Suddenly someone wants to have a monkey swinging froma tree. So I asked him to take a look at the other animals in thepoem and think about where this poem takes place. It doesn’ttake place where monkeys live. So, I told him to write that linedown in his commonplace book and use it for an idea for his ownpoem, perhaps one about a jungle or a zoo, for later. Then Iasked him to think about what else might be in a tree in thisscene. He said a bird. I asked what kind, someone else said acardinal and then we had the beginning of line 9.I don’t want to discourage ideas but I do want students to takecare of their poems and not think of the easy way out of a writingpredicament. I want them to do justice to their poem so that theyare really choosing the best words in the best placesWe stopped about half way through the beginning and let the poem“rest” for a day. When we went back to it the next day, we re-readwhat we wrote and wrote down things we noticed in the poem. I asked:What was there already? What was missing? Which way did wewant to go? What could we add? What literary functions, likesimiles and alliteration, could we use?From there we finished up, addressing the same issues of rhymescheme and theme as we wrapped up our poem. We used the rhyming

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