It’s also Poetry Month, and here at Teacher Dance on Tuesdays I plan to share a poetry lesson I've used in the past.
To the right of this page lists the writers for Irene Latham's progressive poem during the month at Live Your Poem.You can read the lively and interesting poem that was created last year here.
And, if you’ve followed along with the March Madness Poetry competition, it is coming to an end. Soon, you can vote for your favorite poem of the Finals! Here’s a link to the site.
Finally, you’d like to see more of the spectacular happenings occurring in April, check out Jama Rattigan’s blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup. I think she’ll be adding to the list as she finds out more, so keep checking in.
I found a quote that fits the lesson I'm sharing today about revision.
"Wanted: a needle swift enough to sew this poem into a blanket." - Charles Simic
As I worked with my student poets, we discussed poetic devices in various ways, what poets do to communicate meaning, how they look at the writing of the words, the white space of a poem, too. One part of revision I wanted my students to work toward understanding was line breaks. We had examined more than one poem's line breaks, speculating why the poet might have moved to a new line. Could it be for emphasis, or to slow down? Several reasons are shared. I used the Eve Merriam poem "This Face In The Mirror" to do this.
But first, I gave them the following on a page with the group of words from the poem randomly mixed. They were free to use them as they chose and write a poem, working to give good line breaks. It was a big challenge to make the words fit, and some did, but created a different poem. That was okay; I didn't expect them to completely replicate the poem, but given the words, to make a meaning they thought was good. It's a fun exercise that can be done with many short poems.
and and in the mirror
stares my me cringe agree
demanding who are you what
taunting you don’t because will
chastened I and this at
then face even know you
I’m young become I out
tongue stick still
After everyone shared his or her poem, we then examined Eve Merriam's work, discussing why she might have changed to another line, made some longer than others, etc.
This placed emphasis on poets' choices, again making meaning with deliberation.
The Merriam poem begins,
This face in the mirror
Stares at me
demanding, Who are you?
You can find the rest here.