Writing poetry | Teaching poetry to Kids | Poetry | Poetry Tips
Where do you find poetry?
Not surprisingly when people are asked this question – they often suggest books. Yes, that is correct however think outside the box and look around you. Poetry is intertwined with the music industry, cards industry, television adverts, football chants, and newspaper headlines, to mention but a few. Some academics go as far to describe poetry as an Art; a personal expression of an individual inspired by their very existence within the world. Poets and artists look at the world in a different way to many people, they don’t look at the environment as an inanimate object, rather a well experienced individual. This outlook is the poetic voice within a person, which some say – can’t be learned. I would be inclined to disagree as I believe the poetic voice is a way of thinking, and people are taught how to think through educational learning environments. There is also a viewpoint of poetry being visual, which doesn’t even include words – that is for another day.
What is Poetry?
Poetry is very often associated with rhymes and rhyming couplets, and rightly so – poetry is very easy to define and understand when it rhymes. Many children’s poems rhyme and at a young age this is how we are introduced to the world of poetry. Poetry is much more than rhyming couplets; poetry at its core is a pattern in language and a collection of words placed together in a rhythmic manner (iambic pentameter). The pattern can be a rhyme, syllables (meter) or even reoccurring words or phrases.
What is Iambic Pentameter?
Iambic pentameter is a phrase often associated with poetry. Shakespeare often used iambic pentameter in his sonnets (each line was 10 syllables in length). It refers to the particular rhythm of the poem of which there are five unstressed syllables and five unstressed syllables. For example:
for YOU / forSAKE / the BEAT / of LOVE / toDAY
da dum / da dum / da dum/ da dum/da dum = rhythm (pent =5 )
Tips for writing Poetry
- Read contemporary Poetry, much of the older poets i.e. Kipling, Burns, Shakespeare etc are not connected with the contemporary readers and are consequently out of context in today’s society. Modern poets include: Sylvia Plath, Mark Strand, Adrienne Rich –check out some of their work.
- If you are writing poetry for children you can avoid stalemate rhymes by researching words that have no rhyme i.e. purple, orange etc. A good technique for a stalemate rhyme is to change the order of the words.
- Write and re-write you work; imagine each line is a headline in a newspaper – you have to be very articulate with your words and ensure no words are wasted.
- Read your poetry aloud – by reading your poetry aloud you will discover whether or not the rhyming and syllables are effectual.
- Pick a topic that is close to you, remember poetry is based upon an expression of yourself and can be very therapeutic – regardless of the topic.
Write visually – describing your surroundings and feelings can make reading or listening as powerful as seeing – perhaps even more so.