Ready, set, rhyme (or not)! April is National Poetry Month and it is time to celebrate (even if you are a non-poet). With spring flowers peeking through, what a great time of year to let nature inspire you or just express yourself. I have to confess, though, that it has been almost 15 years since I have written a formal poem. I am not worried as I have found that there are so many different ways to celebrate the month, especially with friends and your kids, without too much stress on formal poetic structure.
1) Get Lost on Poets.org
2) Play a Game
Exquisite Corpse is a game dating back to the 1920’s where only pen and paper are required and everyone is a winner. Play with your friends and family where each person writes one word – and each person’s contributed word is placed together with the other words to form free-form poetic verse. To help give the game some structure, you should first agree on the word sequence (e.g. adjective + noun + verb + adjective + noun). The only rule is that the participants don’t know what words are being written by the others before combining them together. This is reminiscent of Mad Libs without any book required.
An example using the sequence above would be: Woolly flip-flops dance in the slimy moonlight
3) Create a Word Wall
The X-Acto blog is full of fresh ideas and they are also highlighting National Poetry Month. They suggest creating a word wall. Start with a wall (or refrigerator) full of words. Pick a word a day to be the focus for a new poem or combine the words to form poems. Create rhyming or word combining challenges. How fun! You can create your own batch of words (hint hint to my crafty maven co-blogging sister) or find this set on Amazon.
4) Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day
My daughter has participated in this activity through her school, but did you know there is an official Poem in Your Pocket Day? This year, Poem in Your Pocket Day is Thursday, April 18th. Pick your favorite poem, carry it around in your pocket and share it with your family and friends. You can share it on Twitter, too, by using the hashtag #pocketpoem. If you don’t have a favorite poem, poets.org has a page full of printable pocket poems. I can already picture my 10-year old tween trying to see how small she can write a poem to hide in her pocket.
5) Read Tween/Teen Poetry
Whether you are a parent or educator (or tween/teen) – check out remarkable poetry written by talented tweens and teens. Be prepared to be inspired, moved by emotion and to gain insight into young minds. Check out Teen Ink, New Moon Girls, and iTwixie.
6) Re-Learn How to Write Poetry
O Magazine presents a unique approach to breaking through your thoughts and translating them into poetry with their “12 Ways to Write a Poem“. For an quick but extensive reference to different poetic structures (explaining the difference between and acrostic poem vs. a limerick), I recommend referring to “The Basic Forms of Poetry” from Poem-Making.
7) Listen to NPR
NPR has posted a touching segment on youth poetry called “Who I Am: Poetry Not Wasted on the Young” covering a book of poetry on topics of discovery, especially for tweens and the growth experiences they are facing. The segment specifically covers a book that has gone to the top of my book wish list, “Poetry Speaks Who I Am: Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence and Everything Else” sharing topics such as friendship, loving your mother, hating your mother and other poems of tween discovery.
Find the poetry in your life this month and share it with someone special. Do you have any special poems or ways to celebrate poetry? We would love to hear more. Please share below!
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