Friday, November 7, 2008

Poetry Friday: A Kick in the Collection

I enjoy writing poetry, and, over the past several years I have been working on two themed poetry collections. Recently, I went back to an old collection and tried to figure out how to revise it. My wonderful critique group (Thanks guys!) pointed out that my poetry had grown a lot since then. But, since this was an older collection, every one of my poems had an ABAB rhyming pattern. They encouraged me to add variety in my poetic forms and rhyme schemes.

I immediately went to a wonderful poetry resource, Paul B. Janeczko's "A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms".

I knew the ideas I wanted to express in my collection, and since I had decided to greatly expand the number of poems, I was ready to begin experimenting. Of course, I had fun with some classics like Haiku. But I also have experimented with several triolets (what a neat form), an ode, some persona poems and a couple of riddles. I have also fallen in love with the idea of writing a pantoum (what a challenge!), but haven't managed to write one that pleases me yet.

If you're interested in trying to write any of these kinds of poems, I highly recommend you read Janeczko's book. Even if you just want to learn what some of these forms are, I highly advise you to check it out!

For me, it was wonderful to find a book that helped take me out of my "comfort zone" in such a fun and informative way. I would love to know what writing resources have helped you to stretch yourself as a writer. Thanks for sharing! :o)


  1. I must check this one out. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for sharing this resource.

    Happy revising!!!

  3. The Paul Janeczko book is an excellent source. It makes your poetry brain sizzle.

    I'm also fond of Myra Cohn Livington's "Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry." It doesn't cover as many poetry forms as Paul's book, but has good chapters on sound, rhythm, consonance, assonance, and the different "voices" of poetry.

  4. Thank you so much for that recommendation! A few years ago I wrote a themed poetry book, but all with the same form (AABB), in the last month I have been revising and adding different forms, too!

  5. So glad to be able to share a useful resource!

    Gale, I have heard many positive comments about Livingston's book. I will definitely need to check it out.

    New poems for the first half of the manuscript have been flying out of me, bu the second half is proving to be more challenging. All inspiration is gratefully accepted! Thanks! :o)

  6. Every time I'm on the ledge of "I Quit" all I need to do is open Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott and it gets me listening to my broccoli again.

    You sound really jazzed to work on your revision Brianna! Can't wait to see what magic you work.

  7. Hi Brianna,
    Welcome to poetry Friday! It's wonderful to have new folks participating.

    In April I wrote poetry book reviews every day. I included this title along with at least one other you may find helpful. It's called Immersed in Verse. It's written for teens, but I found a lot of the prompts helpful.

    You can find the review at:

  8. Robin-- Thanks for the reminder about Bird by Bird. Definitely have to put it on my read it again soon list. (And I don't know if I'm working magic. But at least I'm feeling creative again, which is fantastic! Morning sickness and exhaustion took it all out of me for quite a while.)

    Tricia-- I'm really excited to be participating in Poetry Friday. I've checked out the links for a while. It's neat to feel part of it all. Thanks so much for recommending "Immersed in Verse". I actually picked it up a while thinking it could be a resource for some of my writing students, but I will need to go back and use it to inspire my own writing!

  9. I am sure this book is a great resource, but it would take more than a book to make me a poet!

    Three cheers to all of you who do it so well.

  10. If I ever dare to dabble in verse, it's so nice to know I don't have to go in blind!

  11. I'm not a great poet, but I like this book. It's good for even non-poets like me ;)

    Good luck experimenting with poetry forms for your collection!

  12. I think children could be a delightful poetic resource. Playing Rhyming word games with my children and grandchildren are some of my happiest memories.