Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Sonnets

Let’s write some poetry!

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

edit summer pretty-woman-1509956_1920 (1)

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

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

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks

Let’s write some poetry!

Edward_Lear_More_Nonsense_03
Edward Lear’s illustration of his Young Person in Green

 

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 person in green,
Who seldom was fit to be seen;
She wore a long shawl,
Over bonnet and all,
Which enveloped that person in green.
    ~Edward Lear

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

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

There once was a kind man named Terry,
Who’s manner was jolly and merry.
He made lots of bread
Then sat down and said,
“Oh dear, I’ve forgotten to marry!”
~My children (with a little help)

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

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): Analyzing Poems

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

Fun List Mondays

Fun List Monday, July 30

What are Five Things You Like to Do With Friends?

Isn’t it striking how much your interests change as you get older? Playing with “My Little Ponies” in the sink, swimming, eating candy necklaces… these are all activities I enjoyed with my childhood best friend. Now I prefer hanging out in a coffee shop, laughing till I cry, taking walks, or playing music with my friends.

What about you? What are up to 5 things you like to do with your friends?

friends EAS

Write a list with me! Every Monday I will post a fun list. Fill out your list and enjoy it by yourself, share it in the comments or on my Facebook page. Not convinced? Read about how lists encourage better writing here.

Like this activity? See other Fun List Mondays here!

Poetry Tuesday

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Ballads Week 2

Let’s write some poetry!

This Tuesday and last we’ve been learning about Ballads!

woman-2887280_1920 (1)

A. Introduction to Ballads
Ballads are regular, repetitive, and musical. Most songs you hear on the radio would be considered a ballad of one kind or another.

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

Bridal Ballad

The ring is on my hand,
And the wreath is on my brow;
Satins and jewels grand
Are all at my command,
And I am happy now.

And my lord he loves me well;
But, when first he breathed his vow,
I felt my bosom swell—
For the words rang as a knell,
And the voice seemed his who fell
In the battle down the dell,
And who is happy now.

But he spoke to re-assure me,
And he kissed my pallid brow,
While a reverie came o’er me,
And to the church-yard bore me,
And I sighed to him before me
(Thinking him dead D’Elormie),
“Oh, I am happy now!”

And thus the words were spoken,
And this the plighted vow;
And, though my faith be broken,
And, though my heart be broken,
Here is a ring, as token
That I am happy now!—
Behold the golden token
That proves me happy now!

Would God I could awaken!
For I dream I know not how,
And my soul is sorely shaken
Lest an evil step be taken,—
Lest the dead who is forsaken
May not be happy now.

~Edgar Allen Poe

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): Acrostic Poem

Poem Study:  The Sun Has Set by Emily Jane Brontë, or Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson

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

Fun List Mondays

Fun List Monday, July 16

What are 4 Feelings You’ve Felt in the Last Week?

Have you been encouraged lately? Sad? Angry? Embarrassed? Tickled Silly? Our brains work hard every day to help us feel and experience the world. Sometimes it helps to name the emotions we experience and even share them with others. As someone who used to struggle to express my emotions, I understand how important it is. So let’s share! How have you been feeling in the last week?

edit feelings IMG_1093 copy

Write a list with me! Every Monday I will post a fun list. Fill out your list and enjoy it by yourself, share it on my Facebook page or on Twitter (with the hashtag #FunListMondays). Not convinced? Read about how lists encourage better writing here.

Like this activity? See other Fun List Mondays here!