Learning Poetic Forms

Slice of Life 2019: Day 20

This week in Creative Writing, my high school students were given the assignment to research various poetic forms and then return to class ready to teach the class about one specific type.

We had such a fun day learning about various types of poetry and then hearing each student’s exploration with that particular genre. I gave them several poetry websites to peruse. Then, they were to select one poetry type, study it, write a poem in this type and teach us how to do it. I provided links to every kind of poem from Spenserian Sonnets to Limericks.

I was the student today and it was marvelous. The students chose wonderful forms… not all haiku. We had students teaching the class how to write villanelle, acrostic, haiku, tanka, odes, sonnets, and simple rhyme poetry. Their examples were solid and thoughtful. After the presentations, everyone selected their favorite and wrote that type during workshop.

Since I had never experimented with tanka poetry, I decided today was the day.

Tanka is a traditional Japanese form like haiku, but with two additional lines. The tanka includes the figurative language of simile, personification, and metaphor in just five lines, each with alternating syllabic lengths of 5, 7, 5, 7, 5. Nature is usually the topic of tanka poetry. Below is my first try:

Pink Dogwood

Blooms blushing in March

Taking instructions from the sun

A flush of fuchsia

Like cotton candy at a fair

Disappears quickly

SPRING Acrostic

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