Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Sonnets

Let’s write some poetry!

The next two Tuesdays we’ll be learning about sonnets!

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A. Introduction to Sonnets:
Why on earth would you want to write a sonnet?

I’m so glad you asked! It’s easy to hear the word “sonnet” and the phrase “iambic pentameter” and be thoroughly unimpressed. So here’s a list of why sonnets are a fantastic poetry form:

       Why sonnets?

  1. Because Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote pages and pages of sonnets, all in this magical meter called iambic pentameter (which I’ll explain later). Shakespeare, who wrote bucket-loads of plays, knocking the socks off theater-goers in England in the 15-1600’s, is still entertaining us today even after his death (although I’ll keep my socks if-you-don’t-mind).
  2. Because writing sonnets will help us appreciate sonnets. There are countless sonnets out there to enjoy. They also connect us to poets of the past and help us recognize the nuances of their creativity.
  3. Sonnets are like a puzzle to solve. They are the poetry version of  a crossword puzzle or a word search, except that you get to express yourself as you try to find just the right words that fit.
  4. They’re fun! You’ll have to experience this one for yourself. So, are you ready to dive in?!

B. Sonnet Example

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed;
But they eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st:
    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
~William Shakespeare

C. About Sonnets

Note to Beginners: I recommend starting with “What is a sonnet” below. The goal is fun exposure to poetry and a chance to practice writing. Once you’ve got that first set down, try the next section!

As I explain all the parts of a sonnet, look at the example above to help you process.

What is a sonnet?

  1. Sonnet means “little song.”
  2. A sonnet has exactly 14 lines.
  3. For simplicity sake, we’ll divide our sonnet into four groups, or stanzas:
    1. Four lines
    2. Four lines
    3. Four lines and
    4. Two lines.
  4. The example below is actually in one big stanza, which is the way William Shakespeare wrote. (It’s actually called a Shakespearian Sonnet. Hmm, wonder where it got that name!) Since we’re beginners, breaking up the stanzas will make it easier.
  5. Sonnets have a rhyming scheme. Within each stanza…
    ~The 1st and 3rd lines rhyme and
    ~the 2nd and 4th rhyme.
    ~The last two lines in the whole sonnet also rhyme.
  6. This rhyme scheme is often expressed this way:
    1. ABAB
    2. CDCD
    3. EFEF
    4. GG

(Are you lost yet? If it’s really confusing, this Youtube video I found explains it pretty well.)

What is a sonnet (part 2)?

  1. Many sonnets are written in something called iambic pentameter.
  2. Iambic words have a short sound followed by a stressed one.
    For example:
    exIST, beLONG, preDICT, aWAY, aBOVE.
  3. A group of words can be iambic as well:
    the ONE, we PLAYED, you KNOW.
  4. From our example:
    “Rough WINDS do SHAKE…” and
    “SomeTIMES too HOT
  5. Pentameter means 10 syllables per line. Every single time.
  6. (What’s a syllable? A syllable is a whole sound within a word. The word “Cat” has one syllable. Apple has two: “Ap-ple”. “Pine-ap-ple” has three! You can usually tell how many syllables a word has by how many time your chin drops when you say it!)
  7. Look at this line and count to ten: Shall I com-pare thee to a sum-mer’s day?
  8. Try reading through the poem and counting the syllables! Each line has 10.


D. Write your sonnet
Do you feel ready to write your own sonnet? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try four lines and then take a break. You can pick it back up after the break and write the next one!

Pleased with your poem? Share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!


Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Five Senses Poem

Poem Study:  Summer in the South by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Tuesday! August 7

Hello! Welcome to Poetry Tuesday: the day we dip (or dive) into the lovely world of poetry!

Each Tuesday from June 19 to August 21, 2018, I’ll share a Poetry Activity, a Poem Study, plus an Advanced Poetry Lesson. Feel free to enjoy one, two, or all three of these fun resources! (Click on the title links)

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Limerick fill-in-the-blank

Poem Study The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks, Week 2

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Activity: Limerick Fill-in-the-blank

Hello! Welcome to Poetry Tuesday: the day we dip (or dive) into the lovely world of poetry!

Edward_Lear_A_Book_of_Nonsense_01
Edward Lear’s Illustration of his Old Man with a beard

Interested in poetry?
Construct a limerick in this activity for kids, adults, and everyone in-between.

A.  Introduction to Limericks
Have you ever read a limerick? They sound a little like this…

The Jibbericky
There once was a poem named Limerick,
Who thought everything was a gim-er-ick.
It started to giggle,
Which made the words jiggle,
And mixed them all up into jibberick.
~Hannah Spuler

(Written in complete and utter silliness three minutes ago. The birds in my back yard are wondering what’s so funny)

Limericks are (often) silly poems that follow a certain pattern of beats (stresses) and rhymes. If you’re looking for a poem to make people laugh, a limerick fits the bill. No one is quite sure where the limerick started, but Wikipedia.org seems to think it’s as old as the early 1700’s. Oh, and there’s also a town of Limerick in Ireland which seems to have nothing to do with the poem. (Didn’t you want to know that?)

B. Limerick Example

Here’s an example from Edward Lear, master of the limerick. He wrote a book called A Book of Nonsense that’s full of all kinds of silly… nonsense. (Hm! Imagine that.) His book was full of limericks, which is actually what made the limerick a popular form today.

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!–
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”
~Edward Lear (Book of Nonsense, 1)


C. Fill-in-the-Blank!

Now it’s time to write your own Limerick! To make it easy for you, I’ve made a form so you can just fill in the blanks.

Details in case you get stuck:

  1. A limerick has 5 lines.
  2. The 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines rhyme
  3. The 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines all have 3 beats and 7-9 syllables
  4. Need help understanding syllables? Think of how many times your chin drops when you say a word. Lim-er-ick has three syllables. Li-on has two. Cat has one. Still don’t understand? Ask an adult to help!
  5. The 3rd and 4th line rhyme
  6. The 3rd and 4th line have 2 beats and 5-7 syllables
  7. They’re as silly as you want them to be. So don’t get too caught up in the details!

Form poem: Limerick

  1. There once was a ____________ named __________
  2. Who wanted to ________________________.
  3. He/She/It (sat/stood/laid) on a _________________,
  4. And said, “What a ______________!”
  5. And then ___________________________________.

Still feeling stuck? Go back to the Edward Lear example and follow it as a model.

Note to parents: Limericks are fun for the whole family to write together! Small children like to come up with the character in the poem but might not be able to rhyme or do syllables on their own yet. That’s perfectly fine! Let them help as much as they’re able! By 4th or 5th grade many children will be able to contribute quite well.

Pleased with your poem? Share it in the comments or post it on my Facebook page so we can all read and enjoy them!

 

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poem Study The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks, Week 2

 

Poetry Tuesday

Poem Study: The Owl and the Pussycat

Let’s read a poem and study it together!

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Edward Lear’s Illustration of The Owl and the Pussycat

Not sure how to study a poem? Here are some ideas! Choose one or all of these:

  1. Read aloud and enjoy the poem
  2. Neatly write out your favorite stanza for handwriting practice or…
  3. Copy and paste the poem into your word processor and print it out
  4. Draw a picture about the poem
  5. Circle or color-code the words that rhyme!

  6. Read more about the author’s life
  7. Share with someone you love <3

Since we read one of Edward Lear’s limericks in the Poetry Activity, I thought it would be fun to read another one of his famous poems!

The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
    In a beautiful pea-green boat;
They took some honey, and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the moon above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love!
What a beautiful Pussy you are,—
You are,
What a beautiful pussy you are!”

Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!”
    How wonderful sweet you sing!
Oh, let us be married,— too long we have tarried,—
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away for a year and a day
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a piggy-wig stood
With a ring in the end of his nose,—
His nose,
With a ring in the end of his nose.

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one willing
    Your ring?” Said the piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined upon mince and slices of quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon,
And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon,—
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

~Edward Lear (1812-1888)

 

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Limerick fill-in-the-blank

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks, Week 2

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks, Week 2

Let’s write some poetry!

Edward_Lear_More_Nonsense_06
Edward Lear’s Young Lady in White

The next two Tuesdays we’ll put on our creative caps and write some Limericks!

A. Introduction to Limericks
What’s a limerick? They sound a little like this …

Let’s all try to write a new limerick.
I bet you can all learn it really quick!
Just try to engage
As you read down this page
And soon you’ll be writing them— pretty slick!

B. About Limericks
Here are some facts about limericks:

  1. A limerick has 5 lines.
  2. Limericks rhyme:
    The last words of lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme
    The last words of lines 3 and 4 rhyme
  3. They have set syllables:
    Lines 1, 2, and 5 have 7-9 syllables
    Lines 3 and 4 have 5-7 syllables
  4. Fun fact: There’s a town in Ireland named Limerick that probably has nothing to do with the poems
  5. They’re usually kind of silly and often start with “There once was a…”
  6. Edward Lear made them popular in his book: A Book of Nonsense

C. Limerick Examples

There was a young lady in white,
Who looked out at the depths of the night;
But the birds of the air,
Filled her heart with despair,
And oppressed that young lady in white.
~Edward Lear

There was an old person of Brill,
Who purchased a shirt with a frill;
But they said, ‘Don’t you wish,
You mayn’t look like a fish,
You obsequious ol person of Brill?’
~Edward Lear

Hickory dickory dock.
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
And down he run.
Hickory dickory dock.
    ~Unknown

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!–
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”
~Edward Lear

D. Write your own Limerick
Feel ready to write your own limerick? Great! Follow the guidelines above and see what you can create! 

Happy with your poem? Remember to share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!

 

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Limerick fill-in-the-blank

Poem Study The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Tuesday! July 31

Hello! Welcome to Poetry Tuesday: the day we dip (or dive) into the lovely world of poetry!

Each Tuesday from June 19 to August 21, 2018, I’ll share a Poetry Activity, a Poem Study, plus an Advanced Poetry Lesson. Feel free to enjoy one, two, or all three of these fun resources! (Click on the title links)

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Analyzing Poems

Poem Study:  The Arrow and the Song by Henry W. Longfellow

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks (Week 1 of 2)

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Activity: Analyzing Poems

Hello! Welcome to Poetry Tuesday: the day we dip (or dive) into the lovely world of poetry!

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Interested in poetry?
Analyze a poem using this activity for kids, adults, and everyone in-between.


A.  Introduction
Today we will dive a little deeper into the poetry pool. Sometimes poetry can be a little tricky to understand, but with the right tools, you can draw quite a bit of meaning off the page!


B. Read the poem aloud
Little Things

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

Thus the little minutes,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.

Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Help to make earth happy
Like the heaven above.

~Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney


C. Respond
Write down or share aloud your response to the poem by answering these questions:

  1. Who or what is the poem about?
  2. Is the poem about something/someone real or pretend?
  3. What’s the mood of the poem? (Emotion: Funny, serious, silly, sad, excited, thoughtful, or something else)
  4. Does the poem rhyme?
  5. Does it have a steady meter? How many beats (stresses) per line? (See About Meter)
  6. How did the poem make you feel?
  7. Where is the truth in the poem? Is there anything that’s not true?
  8. What do you know about the person who wrote this poem? Where can you find out more?
  9. Would you recommend this poem to a friend?


C. Additional Poetry Challenge
Write your own version of the poem, replacing some of the words, or rewriting the whole thing but making it similar to its mood, meter, rhyme scheme, or subject.

Pleased with your poem? Share it in the comments or post it on my Facebook page so we can all read and enjoy them!

 

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poem Study:  The Arrow and the Song by Henry W. Longfellow

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks (Week 1 of 2)