April is National Poetry Month! Each year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poets and their craft. Various events are held throughout the month by the Academy of American Poets and other poetry organizations. In honor of National Poetry Month, introduce your kids to variety of poets, poems, and poetic forms.
National Poetry Month Ideas
1. Poet of the Day
Head to the library and take out some poetry books. Either read to, or have your children read aloud, poetry from a given author. Below is a list of suggestions to get you started. Each day you can choose a different poet to sample.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Edgar Allen Poe
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry David Thoreau
2. Getting To Know You
After you have created a list of poets for each day, let your children pick a poet or two they would like to know more about. Have them do some research about the poets they chose. You can have them answer questions like:
What is their full name?
Where were they born? Where did they spend most of their life?
What was going on in the world during their lifetime? (wars, specific movements, etc.)
Type(s) of poetry they were famous for
Names of famous poems
3. Try Creating Different Forms of Poetry
Poetic “form” is a set of rules for writing a certain type of poem. These rules can include the number of lines or syllables the poem should have, the placement of rhymes, and so on. Here are some examples of different forms of poetry to try out with your children.
4. Poem Starters
Try using some of these poem starters to get the creative juices flowing.
Poetry is a distinct form of literature, one that offers a different perspective and voice than other types of writing. By definition poetry is, “literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.”(Google Definition)
Poetry is vital language. Poetry relies on the writer’s feelings, history and perceptions. Poetry draws on the senses and the senses give deep access to memories and feelings which makes poetry writing relevant and interesting.
There are many different types of poetry ranging from ones with very specific guidelines such as haiku, limerick and acrostic to poetry with more free form such as free verse, lyric and narrative.
Poetry Prompts to Get You Started
Pick three words that you absolutely love the sound of and set out to use them in your poem.
Write a poem that involves an animal.
Write a poem about a whistling teapot, or a whirring freight train.
Write a poem to tell someone special what they mean to you.
Write or rewrite a greeting card poem so that is has meaning to you, or at least is funny.
Write a poem based around an emotion, and connect it to a type of weather. Like, rain – sadness; joy – sunshine; pain or fear – thunder.
Write a poem about your favorite flower.
Ask your friends to give you five random phrases. The phrases can be fragments or sentences. Write a poem that incorporates these five phrases.
Use the first letters in a word to create lines of poetry. This is called acrostic poetry.
Write a haiku about the current season (spring, summer, winter, fall) Haiku is a Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. A traditional haiku contains a season word that symbolizes the season in which the poem is set.
Listen to a song you really enjoy. Focus on your most favorite part of the music. Write a poem about all the sensations, images, and feelings that song evokes for you.
Write a poem in which a similar or identical phrase is repeated three or more times throughout the poem.
Open a dictionary and pick 5 words at the top of pages and use them in a poem.
Write a poem about an inanimate object such as your toaster, a chair, hat, boat, etc.
Just the Facts: Understanding Literature: The Elements of Poetry
Figurative language, meter and rhyme, simile, and metaphor — these are a few of the many topics explored in this lively video tour through the genre of poetry. Other elements illustrated in the program include: Oxymoron, assonance, alliteration, imagery, understatement, hyperbole and more…
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