Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Poetry-writing game

We really enjoyed playing a group poetry writing game this week.  I got the idea from this wonderful teacher  and tweaked it so it would work for us.  I thought our "group" of three might be too small, but it wasn't.

I chose four subjects - two photos from books, one photo hanging in my room, and a musical instrument - and gave each of us strips of paper with numbers that corresponded to each item.  Then we spread out and spent time writing words about the pieces. My request was that we shoot for having at least one noun, one verb and one adjective. Then we folded the pieces of paper up and shifted to a new object. 

Number two

When we were all finished, we each chose one of the objects by number.  Ani chose number two, and we gave all of the number two strips to her.   It was her task, then, to put the words together - some or all of them - into a poem about the object.

poem for #2, titled "Wooden Music"

Eliza's poem for #4:  Fancy sisters, content & happy.
                                  Loving friends, old company.
                                  Chairs, slippers, caring.
                                  Old holding.

Dan fishing in Alaska

Words for #1:  Proud, fishing, heavy, bloody, Daddy, grinning, yummy, BIG

Ani's poem:  Big Fish. Daddy fishing.
                     Heavy fish. Proud, grinning Daddy!! 
                      Yummy, big fish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Eliza's poem (using the same group of words):  Proud, huge grin, bloody and heavy.
                                                                           Daddy, Dad, fishing.
                                                                            Sushi. Big!!!!!

 Number three was a photo by Duane Michaels, words arranged by Eliza:

                                                       Pecking mustache, proud, chicken.
                                                       Staring, tense, hungrily, chicken.
                                                       Hungry lunch, Chicken!

Great fun for our first go at it!  We will definitely do this again, and next time I think we would talk about looking at art first, finding ways to connect to something deeper in the image.  I loved that there was some freedom in leaving words out or repeating words as it worked for the sound of the poem, and I was happy that Ani chose the instrument.  She is so sound-focused and she explored the whole piece and not just the way it looked. Noisy! Noisy! Clack! Clack! Clack!  There is also room to explore rearranging words for different effect, or altering the punctuation.

We've had quite an immersion into poetry this late winter, with weekly poetry teas together, and a weekly writer's group with a beloved local poet, Wendy McVicker.  Both beg their own posts, but I think some of the enthusiasm for this game was generated by a growing love for and comfort with word crafting.


sarah in the woods said...

Saving this idea - love it!

alissa said...

Those are so great! That's a fantastic idea.

merry said...

What a fun way to stretch your brain and see words and descriptions from different angles.

Kerry said...

Fun! I like the idea of wooden music. So cool.