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Poetry Unit

Page history last edited by Mrs. T. 12 years, 4 months ago





In this unit, you will learn about the art of poetry. You will learn that poetry is not just about rhyming words; it is using words to paint a picture, express emotion, and enrich our understanding of the world around us. You will learn that...


without poetry, we wouldn't even have a favorite song to sing.

poems can be visual.

poetry can be musical

poetry has rhythm and sound

poetry uses our language artfully.

poetry is for everyone, in all cultures, and of all ages.

anyone can be a poet.

there is poetry inside you!


Bio Poem activity (download)




Lesson One


Poetry Survey  



Written Assignment--Different Kinds of Rhyme



Bob's Byway




Lesson Two


What is imagery? Imagery is a word used to describe writing which appeals to the five senses. When sensory imagery, or sensory words are used in writing, it appeals to the reader's imagination and makes writing come alive.


Written Assignments (download/view)




Five Sense Poems



Lesson Three


Poems often have a very obvious rhythm. Basically, this is due to the choice of words and they rhymes chosen by the poet. This lesson focuses on those rhythms and rhymes---otherwise known as rhyme scheme.










Rhyme Scheme/Original Poetry activity (download)


Write your own limerick activity (download)



Lesson Four


Do you like music? What is your favorite song? What is that song about?  Chances are that your favorite song actually tells a story. Such poem-stories are called ballads. In medieval times, minstrels went from town to town to entertain the villagers. Obviously, there were no movie theaters or television--not even radio had been invented yet, so these minstrels were a big hit.


Read some information more information about ballads and minstrels here.


Click to read the following ballads:

Lord Randall 


Listen to Mrs. Taylor's "Lord Randall" audio podcast.


Danny Deever



The Cremation of Sam McGee



Ready for some music? 


Listen to The Ballad of Jesse James (Springsteen)

              The Ballad of Hollis Brown (Dylan)                          


...and how about a video?


Watch and listen to "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" 



Lesson Five


Narrative poems are a lot like ballads. They tell a story and are usually about something fairly dramatic, as you will understand when you read


Casey at the Bat (click on the radio on the bottom of the page to hear an audio version). 


"The Hangman" is a famous narrative poem. It's an oldie, but it's a goodie.

Take special note how the gallows undergo a transformation.


    Click HERE to view the film.




Another very famous narrative poem is "Paul Revere's Ride"  by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It tells the story of Paul Revere and how he and another on his team helped to warn everyone in the towns about the oncoming attack from the British. It was written approximately one hundred years after the event it describes, and has remained popular even today.  


To more easily understand the poem, first view a short film.   CLICK HERE  


As you read "Paul Revere's Ride," try to envision the scene. Also, pay close attention to the punctuation. It isn't necessary to stop at the end of a line. Instead, pause where the punctuation is placed. It will be an easier story to understand that way.



Schoolhouse Rock and Paul Revere right HERE!

Listen to the poem, "Paul Revere's Ride" HERE!



Other famous poets have written narrative poems, too. Check out this one by Robert Frost, entitled, "Mending Wall."  What do you think the poet is trying to tell us? Does he think walls are good things or bad? What questions does the poet ask himself about walls?


                                         "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost


Before we move on to another type of poem, one not-to-be-missed poem is called "The Blind Men and the Elephant." Although it is humorous, it has a very important point. Can you figure out what it is? (Here's a hint: I'll bet you have a very strong opinion...) Notice the use of simile in the poem (simile-a comparison of two unlike things. The comparison as stated uses the words like or as).

The Blind Men and the Elephant 


Lesson Six


Blank Verse Poetry


    Blank verse, also called free verse, is poetry without rhyme at all. So, why write it if it doesn't rhyme? The answer is simple: free verse poetry uses words in lines or stanzas as a form of artful expression. The poets who write in this style are trying to paint a picture in our minds, reveal an emotion, or tell of an event, just as an author would in a story. The difference is in the placement of the words and the placement of the lines.  

     This special placement of words and lines is very plain to see in "Private Hurricane" and "Waiting."  You can see interesting word and line placement in "Nora" and "Living While it May," as well. Each poem is about something very personal and each is completely different. What are the moods of each poem? What is each one about? Can you tell how the poet is feeling? 

So, how does someone who is not a professional poet write blank verse? A good place to start would be to write your poem down on paper, and then read it over several times. Which words, phrases, or images do you want to have special attention and emphasis? Which parts are the most important? 

In this poem by Joy Kagawa, what images do you see? What do you find noticeable about this poem? Notice how the poet has placed her words and lines...


    "If Your Mirror Breaks" by Joy Kagawa 



What flower do you think May Swenson is writing about in her poem?


       "Little Lion Face" by May Swenson


Lesson Seven



You've become acquainted with different types of poetry, and now it's time to become acquainted with a poet. Your assignment is to choose a poet and research biographical information about him or her. Then, choose a poem written by that author. 

After you have taken notes on the poet's life and rehearsed the poem, you will present it to the class. 

Check out the poets listed. If there is one that you are familiar with who is not on this list, ask if he/she can be included. Check out the scoring guide so that you know what is expected from you.




Lesson Eight


This lesson is about another type of modern poetry called concrete poetry. Concrete poetry is, simply put, poems which take on the shape and form of their subject. This is easily seen in the following examples, as well as the videos posted below. 


Visual Poetry (a website) by Jennifer Phillips


Be aware, though, that concrete poetry is not always put in motion on film. Some concrete poems are perfectly still and perfect as they appear on a page...


To completely understand the poem "400 Meter Freestyle," watch world-class athletes swim the 400 Meter Freestyle race. Notice how the swimmers move across the water in continuous lines. Watch how they turn around and kick against the wall without stopping, and how their movement is continous and fluid, without ever stopping. How does the poem reflect this movement? 



Now, take a look at




Acrobatic Macaroni 



Slow Train




Creation and Destruction



And now try to create some of your own concrete poems.

Click HERE for the instructions.   


Shape Poetry or Concrete Poetry--It's the same thing. Check out this resource!



     Concrete Poetry Maker 1

Concrete Poetry Maker 2




    Acrostic Poem Online Generator


For more poetry exploration on your own, here is

an AWESOME Interactive Poetry site HERE




Figurative Language Arcade!


Poetry and Figurative Language SPACE INVADERS!!!







Play an AWESOME game HERE...Rock, Paper, Scissors!




Coat of Arms resource page

Coat of Arms creator 1


Coat of Arms Creator 2


Diamante Poems


What is a diamante poem? Here is a hint: poems can take any form. Poetry is truly word art...so...a diamante is a poem in the shape of a....you guessed it...a diamond! Try this cause and effect diamante

 poem generator.





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