Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 30, 2014


1. Keep working on your short story rough draft through the end. This is due next class period. Make this a priority. Remember. This is the rough draft. You will revise and revise after this so don't be so concerned about getting it RIGHT. It won't be right until after several revisions. The important thing is to get a rough draft written so you have something to work with, and written in a timely way so that you have time to work through the revision process. Don't procrastinate!

2. If you liked where your tree poem was going in class, finish it up and post on your blog.

3. Make a list of specific poignant experiences you've had: such as walking in the rain, reaching the summit of a mountain, the death of a loved one, a time you were disappointed or felt heartache, a time when beauty has touched you deeply. Choose one of these expereiences and write a poem about that experience.


  • poems don't have to rhyme
  • poems use powerful words that say just what you mean
  • show don't tell
  • poems don't have to have a "moral lesson"
  • poems don't have to be about beautiful happy things
  • poems DO need to express experience and emotion
  • Poems say the most in the least amount of words
  • Use imagery

4. Read through several poems from your Writers Workbook. Take your time. Reread them. Let them sit with you. Come prepared to talk about how the poem affected you. What worked in the poem for you?


5. Read and THOUGHTFULLY COMMENT on each other's blogs. Writer's don't write in a vacuum - we need inspiration and feedback.

Here is the process for writing a poem that we tried in class:

Remember: there is no right or wrong process for writing a poem, but here is one approach you can try. (From Creative Writing Now, Essentials of Poetry:

1) The first step is to observe your subject -- in real life, or in your imagination. Let's say you're writing about a tree. Explore this tree, get to know it. What does it look like up close, far away? How does it move in the breeze? What does the bark feel like under your hand? What different smells does the tree have? What kinds of shadows does it make?

  • Consider your subject in different ways. Try to find out its secrets. What insects or other animals are living inside that tree; what do you think the tree would look like from the inside? If the tree had dreams, what would it dream about?
  • By paying close attention, you become an expert in this tree, or whatever the subject is of your poem. You can discover aspects of it that no one has ever described before.

2) Now, your task is to capture the subject on paper. The trick here is to keep your mind focused on the subject the whole time you write. As Ted Hughes explains in POETRY IN THE MAKING, "When you do this, the words look after themselves, like magic."

  • Don't worry yet about choosing the right words. Don't worry about sounding "poetic." If you start worrying about what's happening on the page, you'll take your mind off the tree, and the magic will stop working. Concentrate on your subject and let the words look after themselves for now.

3) The creative process is delicate, and if you start editing too soon, you can cut off the flow of ideas. So give yourself time to get everything down on paper. You might decide to live with the poem for a while, writing down more ideas as they come to you.

When you feel like you've gotten everything down, then you can start revising. Be sure to read your poem out loud as you're working and listen to how it sounds.

  • Are there words that don't seem quite right for what they're describing? Are there words that don't serve a purpose? If you can remove something without hurting the poem, it's usually better to remove it.
  • Is there anything there that doesn't feel genuine, that's only there because it seems "poetic," to impress the reader? Remove or replace anything that is just "showing off."
  • Are there parts of the poem that you like better than others? Are there parts that don't quite fit, that should be cut out or integrated better? Is there a particularly interesting part that might suggest taking the poem in a new direction?

4) Experiment with the poem. Try putting the ideas in a different order. Try dividing the lines in different ways. Try different forms, different approaches.

***Save each version of your poem that you write. Compare versions; see what works better. You might decide to combine parts of one version with parts of another. Work to come up with the ideal version of your poem.




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