This is a framework for teaching students to write poetry. It’s fun. It has worked multiple times. It’s here if you want to use it. When I want students to write, I tell them to write poetry. If you haven’t tried that, do it. Most children will happily write poetry for hours. Even older students, as old as graduate students, still write poetry for themselves or to share. In fact, many adults write too, though most of them keep the poetry private. The younger they are the less likely the students have been introduced to the Critic who says they cannot write. If they have, I tell them that they CAN. And I will show them how. For this framework I introduce types of rhetorical devices they can use in their poetry:

  • similes
  • metaphors
  • alliteration
  • onomatopoeia
  • hyperbole

I give them examples of these and talk about them. (I like to read them poetry with these in them.) Then as a class we come up with as many similes and metaphors as we can

  1. remember and
  2. create.

After that the class works on creating each of those different devices for a particular category. We do this together. Older students may be less likely to share what they feel are their best ideas. If that is a problem, I explain that even with the exact same simile, two people come up with very different poems. Their assignment is to come up with one simile and one metaphor (other devices are optional for me) that they like on something in this category and put them into a poem. They don’t have to cover the whole category, just one piece of it.

If you’d like a published writer (both poetry and nonfiction) to come to the class and do this exercise with your students, I am available for a reasonable fee.