February 01, 2011

A Week of Poems

A short list of what emerged while we wrote daily poems with The Poem Farm last week:

Attention to Description

Choosing the best word to capture something, the emotionally charged word, the word with the right sound

Efficiency of Expression
Words like turgid and cogent and concise came out while we talked about how a poem might express in one exact word what we might usually say in ten.


One of our kids hears meter easily. The other struggles to tell how many syllables are in the world struggle. But both could hear four strong beats in a line, and—at least some of the time—aimed for it.

Rhyme Schemes
The children did some rhyming instinctively. Then we looked at Amy's poems and old favorites from Shel Silverstein, and they experimented with trying to imitate more structured rhyme.

A new word. And triplet and quatrain.

What it means to assume the voice of a hermit crab's shell.

Some Scientific Observation
Nathaniel did try to stay awake all night to watch his crabs. (Like me, he's an early-to-bed personality, and I don't think he lasted much past 10:00.)

A Little History
I'm not sure why Jessica is so interested in the first Fourth of July celebrations from Philadelphia in 1777, but we read about them together.


The satisfaction of seeing your work improve. Jessica was utterly pleased with herself when she sneaked references to red, white, and blue into her Saturday poem. "Isn't that clever?" 

Nathaniel, who invariably resists editing, worked hard to hide his pride after he changed "I'm only one out of a lot of shells" to "the sea of my kind blankets the sand."

What a delight this was. And how grateful we all are to Amy at The Poem Farm for sharing her own work and encouraging us.