Poetry Tuesday

Poem Study: Bear in There

Let’s read a poem and study it together!

edit polar-bear-404314_1920

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 underline the alliterations!

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


Bear in There

There’s a polar bear
In our Frigidaire–
He likes it ’cause it’s cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish,
He’s nibbling the noodles,
He’s munching the rice,
He’s slurping the soda,
He’s licking the ice.
And he lets out a roar
If you open the door.
And it gives me a scare
To know he’s in there–
That polary bear
In our Fridgitydaire.

by Shel Silverstein

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

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

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Ballads, (Week 1 of 2)

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Ballads

Let’s write some poetry!

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

walrus and the carpenter
Lewis Carroll’s Walrus and the Carpenter

A. Introduction to Ballads
I love ballads. When I learned about ballads for the first time, I had already been writing them for years without knowing it. They’re regular, repetitive, and musical. Most songs you hear on the radio would be considered a ballad of one kind or another.

     Fun fact: Did you know that rap is actually a contemporary ballad?

B. What is a Ballad?

  1. It often has four lines per group, or stanza. (The example below actually has 6 lines per stanza, and that’s okay too)
  2. The 1st and 3rd line in each stanza has four accents, or stresses
  3. The 2nd and 4th lines have either 3 stresses or 4 stresses, but it needs to be the same throughout the whole poem. (see example below)
  4. Ballads rhyme. Often the 1st and 3rd lines rhyme and the 2nd and 4th lines rhyme. (This is called an ABAB pattern). This is flexible, but again, the pattern needs to be the same throughout the whole poem!
  5. Repetition is important in a ballad. Sometimes a poet will make the last line of each stanza the same.
  6. Ballads often tell some kind of story, often a story about how someone died.
  7. Example of stresses: (Read the capital letters in the lines below a little louder than the other letters.)

The SUN was SHINing ON the SEA
See how there are 4 stresses?
SHINing with ALL its MIGHT
And then 3? 

C. Ballad Example

Walrus and the Carpenter
(lines 1-18), from
Through the Looking Glass

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright —
And this was odd, because it was
 The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done —
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun.”

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead —
There were no birds to fly.

~
Lewis Carroll 

D. Write your ballad!
Are you ready to write your ballad? Great! Come up with your story and write it in verse form, following the guidelines above. If you’re happy with it, 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): Alliteration Poem

Poem Study: Bear in There, by Shel Silverstein

Poetry Tuesday

Poem Study: The Brook

Let’s read a poem and study it together!

the brook scenic-787617_1920

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. (Learn about rhyme here!)
  6. Read more about the author’s life
  7. Share with someone you love <3


The Brook
(excerpt)

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river;
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeams dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses.

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river;
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

By Alfred Lord Tennyson


Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

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

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Odes, Week 2

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Odes, Week 2

Let’s write some poetry!

This week and last, we’ve been learning about Odes!

tuna in the market

A. Introduction to Odes:
An ode is a poem that celebrates or appreciates something or someone.

For example…
John Keats wrote an Ode to a Nightingale.
Pablo Neruda wrote an Ode To Sadness.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote an Ode about France.
There is an Ode to Silence, by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
William Wordsworth wrote an Ode to Duty.
There’s even an Ode To My Socks by 
Pablo Neruda, who’s known for writing odes to unusual subjects.

Here’s part of an ode written by Pablo Neruda about a large fish in the market:

Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market
(Translated by Robin Robertson)

“Surrounded
by the earth’s green froth
—these lettuces,
bunches of carrots—
only you
lived through
the sea’s truth, survived
the unknown, the
unfathomable
darkness, the depths
of the sea,
the great
abyss,
le grand abîme,
only you:
varnished
black-pitched
witness
to that deepest night.”


B. All About Odes

  1. An ode is about loving, appreciating, or celebrating someone or something
  2. An ode is full of emotion, strong images, and descriptive words
  3. An ode can rhyme
  4. An ode is usually quite serious but it can be silly if the ode is more of a joke

C. Reading Odes
As you read the following excerpts, ask yourself:
~What is the poet celebrating or admiring?
~Does the poem rhyme?
~Does it have strong imagery?

The (Brooklyn) Bridge
(excerpt)

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty—

Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
As apparitional as sails that cross
Some page of figures to be filed away;
—Till elevators drop us from our day…
~Hart Crane

The Fire of Driftwood
(excerpt) 
We sat within the farmhouse old,
Whose windows, looking o’er the bay,
Gave to the sea-breeze damp and cold,
An easy entrance, night and day.

Not far away we saw the port,
The strange, old-fashioned, silent town,
The lighthouse, the dismantled fort,
The wooden houses, quaint and brown.

We sat and talked until the night,
Descending, filled the little room;
Our faces faded from the sight,
Our voices only broke the gloom.
~Henry W. Longfellow

D. Writing An Ode
Your turn to write an ode!

~Think of something or someone that you love and want to celebrate!
~Try writing a short one to start (5 lines or so) and then grow it to 7 or 10 as you have more to say.
~If you’re a more experienced writer, see if you can make it 15-30 lines!
~If you like rhyming, go for it, but remember that not every ode has to rhyme.

E. Advanced: More About Odes:
For the purposes of this quick, fun, introduction, I’ve only talked about odes in general, but if you’re interested, look into the specific kinds of odes:
Pindaric
Horatian
Irregular

There are also different  ode parts:
The strophe
The antistrophe
The epode

Pleased with your ode? 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): Fill-in-the-blank poem

Poem Study: The Brook, by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Poetry Tuesday

Poem Study: My Shadow

Let’s read a poem and study it together!

edit shadow little-2176130_1920

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. (Learn about rhyme here!)
  6. Read more about the author’s life
  7. Share with someone you love <3

My Shadow

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close besides me, he’s a coward, you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nurse as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

~Robert Louis Stevenson


Hungry for more? Check out…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Write Your Own Nursery Rhymes

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Odes (Week 1 of 2)

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Odes

Let’s write some poetry!

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

socks

A. Introduction to Odes:
An ode is a poem that celebrates or appreciates something or someone.

For example…
John Keats wrote an Ode to a Nightingale.
Pablo Neruda wrote an Ode To Sadness.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote an Ode about France.
There is an Ode to Silence, by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
William Wordsworth wrote an Ode to Duty.
There’s even an Ode To a Large Tuna in the Market by 
Pablo Neruda, who’s known for writing odes to unusual subjects.

Here’s part of an ode written by Pablo Neruda about a pair of socks (Translated by Robert Bly)

Ode to My Socks (lines 47-52)

“…The moral
of my ode is this:
beauty is twice
beauty
and what is good is doubly
good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool
in winter.”

B. All About Odes

  1. An ode is about loving, appreciating, or celebrating someone or something
  2. An ode is full of emotion, strong images, and descriptive words
  3. An ode can rhyme
  4. An ode is usually quite serious but it can be silly if the ode is more of a joke


C. Reading Odes

As you read the following excerpts, ask yourself:
~What is the poet celebrating or admiring?
~Does the poem rhyme?
~Does it have strong imagery?

Ode to the West Wind (excerpt)
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts form an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow…”
   ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

The Blue Swallows
Across the millstream below the bridge
Seven blue swallows divide the air
In shapes invisible and evanescent,
Kaleidoscopic beyond the mind’s
Or memory’s power to keep them there.

“History is where tensions were,”
“Form is the diagram of forces.”
Thus, helplessly, there on the bridge,
While gazing down upon those birds—
How strange, to be above the birds!—
Thus helplessly the mind in its brain
Weaves up relation’s spindrift web,
Seeing the swallows’ tails as nibs
Dipped in invisible ink, writing…”
~Howard Nemerov


D. Writing An Ode
Your turn to write an ode!

Think of something or someone that you love and want to celebrate!
Try writing a short one to start (5 lines or so) and then grow it to 7 or 10 as you have more to say. If you’re a more experienced writer, see if you can make it 15-30 lines! If you like rhyming, go for it, but remember that not every ode has to rhyme.

E. Advanced: More About Odes:
For the purposes of this quick, fun, introduction, I’ve only talked about odes in general, but if you’re interested, look into the specific kinds of odes:
Pindaric
Horatian
Irregular

There are also different  ode parts:
The strophe
The antistrophe
The epode

Pleased with your ode? 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): Write Your Own Nursery Rhymes

Poem Study: My Shadow, by Robert Louis Stevenson

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Haiku

Let’s write some poetry!

This week and last week we are learning the ancient art of Haiku!

edit haiku water-lily-1857350_1920 copy

Have you ever heard of a Haiku? Sometimes you just have to dive into to a form in order to appreciate it.

A few things to understand about Haiku:

  1. Haiku are Japanese
  2. Haiku are short, only having 3 lines
  3. They have no rhyme
  4. Each poem captures a moment
  5. Haiku poems show the world like it is (concrete, rather than abstract)
  6. They usually contain something from nature
  7. They often leave you feeling thoughtful

Great! So… how do you write them?

Let’s talk about the structure of the poem! It’s hard to build a building without structure, isn’t it? It would just fall over. So what is the structure of a Haiku?

A. Syllables
1st line: 5 syllables
2nd line: 7 syllables
3rd line: 5 syllables

For example…

Whitecaps on the bay:
A broken signboard banging
In the April wind.
— Richard Wright

B.  Two Images
Haiku are often made of two different thoughts or images. One thought or image is across two lines and the other is across one. For example:

new pond—
the first tadpole
wriggles over clean stones
—Christopher Herold

“New pond” is one thought, and “the first tadpole wriggles over clean stones” is the second thought. See how the second thought takes up two lines?

C.  A Cut
Another aspect of Haiku it that they usually contain a cut, or break, somewhere in the poem. For example:

summer grasses—
all that remains
of a warriors’ dreams
—Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

See the cut after the first line?

Okay, ready to write a Haiku?

I suggest finding a quiet place and thinking about your surroundings. If you can go outside, great! Try to describe, using a haiku, what you see, hear, smell, feel, or taste in two different images. It can be a little tricky, but the result is surprisingly lovely.

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): All About Meter

Poem Study: The Violet, by Jane Taylor