Reading, Writing, and Reciting Poetry: Bringing Back Lost Arts!

• Use pauses to improve the meaning and/or dramatic impact of the piece.

6. Diction

• Speak clearly and distinctly.

• Practice any words you have trouble pronouncing so you do not stumble over them.

• Know what the words mean.

7. Volume

• Speak loudly enough to be heard by all audience members during the entire presentation.

• Be sure not to let your voice trail off at the end of lines or at the conclusion of the piece.

8. Enthusiasm

• Your facial expressions and body language should generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic.

• If you look bored, your audience certainly will be.

• Have fun!

Why Write Poetry?

There are numerous good reasons to write poetry. Here are just a few of them. You will:

• Better appreciate poetry when you have an understanding of what goes into creating it.

• Increase your vocabulary by looking for just the right words to use.

• Look at the natural world with a more observant eye.

• Delight in using words in new, creative ways.

• Possibly find that you are a natural poet!

Not everyone is a naturally gifted writer, and not everyone wishes to write poetry.  However, acrostics, bio-poems, and “shape poems” are all appealing, easy-to-learn forms. Gather everyone around the table and give these a try!

Tips for Writing Poetry

• Use interesting words.

• Use a variety of words.

• Use words with strong images.

• Have a thesaurus and dictionary on hand.

The Acrostic Poem

The word acrostic comes from the Greek words acros (“outermost”) and stichos (“line of poetry”). This is a form of poetry in which the first letters of the lines, read downwards, form a word or phrase. For example, in the following short acrostic, the vertical word is CAT.

Cool kitty

Always jumping, pouncing, playing

Takes naps in the sun.

Did you know that the acrostic style of poetry originated in ancient times and was commonly used in the Psalms of the Bible? Psalm 119 is not only the longest chapter in Scripture, but it is also the longest acrostic in the Bible, using every letter of the Hebrew alphabet. (Unfortunately, the lines do not translate into English as acrostics.)

First, write your name (first, middle, last, or nickname) down the left-hand side a piece of paper. Your chosen name must be at least five letters long. Here is an example:

M

A

G

G

I

E

Now, find three or four words that begin with each letter of your name and which describe you. Here is my example:

Messy, moody, mischievous, melancholy

Always active, always adventurous.

Gregarious, gifted, gabby,

Generous and genuinely germophobic.

Illuminated, idealist, idiosyncratic.

Easily distracted, and that’s the End.

Try to avoid selecting the simplest words or the words that first come to mind. Take time to look for options in the thesaurus and dictionary. Think about what you really want to say. It’s also amusing to switch this one up a bit by writing it in the negative:

“Maggie Is Not”

Malicious, malevolent, morose . . . etc.

If you work carefully on word choice, you probably will get the idea of how poets must work hard to find just the right words to express their thoughts. Consider this: In these acrostics, we did not attempt to add rhyme or rhythm, stanzas, alliteration, metaphors, or any number of poetic devices. Just imagine now how much a writer might need to consider while crafting a more complicated poem!

The Biography Poem

Another form of poetry is often called either a biography or a “Who Am I?” poem. Many different formulas exist; you can even make up your own. Think of it as playing the word game called Mad Libs, except the end result will be a poem.

My Biography Poem (Give this poem your own title.)

 Line 1: Your first name

Line 2: Four words that describe you

Line 3: Child of . . .

Line 4: Builder of . . .

Line 5: Who dreams . . .

Line 6: Who needs . . .

Line 7: Who gives . . .

Line 8: Who wonders . . .

Line 9: Who fears . . .

Line 10: Who wants to see . . .

Line 11: Resident of (your city)

Line 12: Another name to describe yourself

The Diamante

Another appealing form of poetry is the diamante. It takes its name from the Italian word for diamond and is written in a diamond shape. It doesn’t need to rhyme, but each line does have certain requirements, as follows:

Line 1: Title topic (noun)

Line 2: Two adjectives related to line 1

Line 3: Three action words related to line 1

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