Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Six rooms

"For behind all seen things lies something vaster,
everything is but a path, a portal, or a window
opening on something more than itself."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I would as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down. -- Robert Frost

That's an odd introduction to free verse ;-) But like Robert Frost I find structure freeing and this is a way to narrow the possibilities of what could go into a poem to something manageable. (This can also work for an important object from a scene in your current story to add some richer imagery to its description.)

Fold a piece of paper into 6 parts or "rooms".
  1. Picture the most amazing, beautiful, interesting thing you've seen or something that has stuck with you. Notice the details. In the first room, write down what strikes you. (It needn't be poemish. These are scraps and tidbits you're collecting.)

  2. In the second room, focus on just the quality of the light. Bright, dull, shadows, sparkling. Colors.

  3. In the third room, focus only on the sounds. Are there voices? Leaves rustling? Rain pattering? If it's silent, what kind: empty, lonely, peaceful?

  4. In the fourth room, write down any questions you have about the image.

  5. In the fifth room, write down any feelings you have about the image.

  6. In the six through, look over the other rooms and pick out a word or phrase that feels important and repeat it three times.
Now read through what you wrote and see if you can create a poem. Feel free to rearrange, eliminate, change tenses.

You can have more rooms in you poem house of course :-) Some other ideas for rooms are:
  • Think of 3 different similes or metaphors to describe the image.
  • Describe any smells -- earthy, sweet, damp.
  • Describe what the image might feel like.
  • Describe what it might taste like.
  • Put a favorite line from a poem or book or movie into one of the rooms to weave into your poem.
  • If your image could speak, what would it say? How would its voice sound?

This is from Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School by Georgia Heard.

Georgia Heard is in love with poetry :-) The first half of the book is about creating a poetry environment and reading -- savoring :-) -- poetry. The second half is several different ways to craft poetry.
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