English – 8 Larson
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same –
Table of Contents
(Use this as a guide)
How do read a poem? 2
General Instructions 3
Table of Contents 4
Sample Poem –(How do I do This?) 5
Figures of Speech 6
Cinquain or Take Five 8
Five Sense 11
I Am 14
Metaphor (“Life is…”) 16
Rhymed Verse 21
5 ways of Looking 22
Free Verse 26
Favorite Published Poem 27
Evaluation Score Sheet 29
Places to Publish your Poetry 30
Sample Poem – use this as a guide!
“How to Eat a Poem”
Don’t be Polite
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.
You do not need a knife or fork or spoon or plate or napkin or tablecloth.
For there is no core
To throw away
Figures of Speech
Personification – giving human characteristics or qualities to a non-human object.
The trees danced in the breeze.
“My heart jumped when I heard her name”, said the rock.
Simile – two unlike or different things compared using “like” or “as”.
The car is as red as a rose.
Her eyes shine like stars in the midnight sky.
Metaphor – two unlike or different things compared using “is”.
The snow is a blanket on the Earth.
Narrative – tells a story; has a plot, setting, characters, dialogue, and theme.
Rhyme – repetition of sounds in words that appear close to one another.
Symbol – an object that represents another object.
Lyric – Expresses poet’s thoughts, feelings, through vivid images and musical
Tone – attitude the poet takes toward the subject or audience.
Imagery – Poet use of concrete details that appeal to the senses.
Stanza – A paragraph in Poetry.
Onomatopoeia - the formation of a word, like zig-zag, by imitation of a sound.
Verse – A line in Poetry.
Basic Types of Poetry
Each line of an Acrostic Poem begins with a letter in its title. To write one:
Focus on the subject of your Poem – A friend, family member or teacher.
Make the subject your title.
Write the letters of your title in a vertical row (downward).
Write the lines of your poem starting with the letters you have chosen.
Each line can be a word, phrase or a sentence.
Breaking through the bars, the
At the charging tiger,
Straining to break
The chains around its feet.
Cinquain or Take Five
The Cinquain or Take Five is a form free verse consisting of five lines arranged in a very
special way. If you follow the directions, you will have written a cinquain of your own.
On the first line, write down a noun – a person, place, thing or idea.
On the second line, write down two adjectives –words that describe a
On the third line, write down three verbs that tells what the noun on
the first line does. Separate the verbs by commas.
On the fourth line, write down a thought about your noun. A short
phrase will do.
On the fifth line, repeat the word you wrote down on the first line, or
write down a synonym of the noun.
Think of a title and write it down at the top of your poem.
“Churning” “The Game”
The Sea Football
Placid, Angry Rough, Tough
Helping, Crashing, Killing Run, Block, Tackle
A beast of changing emotions A very stern coach
The Ocean Crunch!
Cold Winds Mountain Path
Look, the Chestnut Sun Rising
Vivid green Plum scent
These short poems were written by Matsuo Basho, a Japanese poet that lived in the 16th century. He was
a traveler - often would he just take his trusty staff, some food, and set off on a journey. No matter how long the
trip was, or how harsh the conditions were, he'd keep going because he loved to travel, he loved the nature and
what it provided him.
His poetry contains an intense bond with nature, and radiates beauty he sees in even most ordinary parts
of the surroundings. Often, in his travels, after he'd reach the top of a hill, or when he'd pause to take a rest, he'd
stop and look around. He'd see beautiful energy flow around him - the golden sun bathing a valley, blooming
trees by the path. But he'd also find the same beauty in much smaller things - tiny purse weed flowers under a
bush or honey-bees occupied collecting nectar from flowers. This intense feeling of total awareness that often
lasts just for a short while, he made permanent by describing it in his poems.
o the form: 3 lines, 5-7-5 syllable form
o the content: traditional subjects of haiku are usually nature or the environment, but
many other topics comprise the content of contemporary haiku poetry
o creating images: poets use the senses, imagery, vivid word choice, comparisons
(often two very different images or things are related through the choice of words)
o history of haiku: popular form of Japanese poetry
o Traditional and contemporary poets: who are they?
Concrete poetry involves arranging the letters or words that describe an object into a visual
image that also describes the object. It is a kind of painting with letters or words as the medium.
Look around for objects that have interesting forms or the patterns they create. Think about
what you want to say or convey about your subject. What is interesting about your subject, is it
the shape, smell, or taste?
Make lists of words you might use to describe these different characteristics. Now play with the
words to form a picture.
Think about varying the words you use, the shape and sizes of letter forms and how to position
them on the page.
The 5-sense poem allows the writer to use his or her imagination and then express the idea by
using the five senses! Sight, Sound, Taste, Smell, and Touch are a common bound that we all
possess and allow us to understand each other better. Here is how you create one:
Line 1: Write down a color that describes an emotion or an idea.
Line 2: Write down what the emotion or idea tastes like.
Line 3: Write down what the emotion or idea sounds like.
Line 4: Write down what the emotion or idea smells like.
Line 5: Write down what the emotion or idea looks like.
Line 6: Write down how the emotion or idea makes you feel.
Fall is red and yellow,
And it tastes like chicken soup.
It sounds like the wind through the trees.
Warm wood smoke is how it smells.
It looks like when you see when you get your new glasses,
And it makes you feel energetic!
-Mary Scott Hagle-
The Me poem is very similar to the 5-sense poem. Once again, it focuses on the senses, but this
poem allows the poet to create an image of who they are. Please follow the line by line
direction and create your own Me poem:
Line 1: “If I were a color, I’d be…” answer with a color.
Line 2: “If I were a sound, I’d be…” answer with a sound.
Line 3: “If I were a smell, I’d be…” answer with a smell.
Line 4: “If I were a taste, I’d be…” answer with a taste.
Line 5: “If I were a surface to touch, I’d be…” answer with an object.
Line 6: Write down how the emotion or idea makes you feel.
Create a unique title for YOU!
“If I could be the Ocean”
“If I were a color, I’d be the blue of the ocean glistening in the golden sun.
“If I were a sound, I’d be a seagull singing a happy tune.
“If I were a smell, I’d smell like freshly baked lobster.
“If I were a taste, I’d be the salt from the ocean spray on my lips.
“If I were a surface to touch, I’d be sand slipping through my toes.
The Bio Poem allows the poet to choose a person and describe him or her using images and
memories from the past. Have fun with this and choose a person who you really admire but
were afraid to say anything or use your sense of humor and have fun with a friend, (please be
kind!). Follow these directions and create a Bio poem.
Title- “Use the person’s nickname or title!”
Line 1: A person’s first name
Line 2: Write four adjectives describing this person – (one hyphenated adjective required)
Line 3: _________ of ___________ (See line 3 in the example)
Line 4: Loves (likes, or lover of)____________, _____________, and _____________.
Line 5: Who feels ____________, ______________, and ____________.
Line 6: Who fears ___________, _____________, and _____________.
Line 7: Who would like to see ___________, ___________, and ______________.
Line 8: Resident of __________________.
Line 9: Person’s last name
Tall, athletic, friendly, brown-haired
Brother of John;
Lover of sports, Italian food, and rich desserts;
Who often feels bored, hurt when things go wrong, and pained when my brother acts grumpy.
Who fears school, crabby teachers, and heights.
Who would like to see school closed, a lot of different states, and a lot of money!
Resident of Oakdale
A poem by you about YOU!!! Begin by describing two things about yourself, special things
about yourself. Avoid the obvious and the ordinary, such as “I’m a 14 year-old boy with brown
hair.” There are millions of things about you that are distinctive. “I’m a girl who bruises easily
and believes in astrology – when the stars are right.” That’s better because it gives a sense of
the speaker and how she is different from other people. Don’t be afraid to be different!
Here is a line-by-line guide you can follow:
I am…(two special characteristics you possess)
I wonder…(something you are actually curious about)
I hear…(an imaginary sound)
I see…(an imaginary sight)
I want…(an actual desire)
I am…(repeat the first line)
I pretend…(something you actually pretend to do)
I feel…( a feeling about something imaginary)
I touch…(an imaginary touch)
I worry…(something that really bothers you)
I cry…(something that makes you very sad)
I am…(repeat the 1st line of the 1st stanza)
I understand…(something you know is true)
I say…(something you believe in)
I dream…(something you actually dream about)
I try…(something you really make an effort at)
I hope…(something you hope for)
I am…(repeat the 1st line of the 1st stanza)
Note: the best “I AM” poems are honest and reveal information, feelings and ideas that many
people are not willing to reveal. Do you have the courage to write about how you feel? Do you
have the inner strength to write about your dreams and hopes? If you can share yourself with
others, others will help you obtain what you want! Good Luck!
A poet named William Carlos Williams created a poem that celebrates the ordinary,
those things in our lives that we tend to take for granted. To create an imitation
poem, choose an everyday object that seems insignificant but is, in reality, very
important in your life. Something you realize you would have difficulty living
After you have chosen a topic, copy Williams’ first line: “So much depends
Then, follow the form exactly: three (3) more stanzas of two (2) verses each.
Three (3) words in the first verse, one (1) word in the second verse.
So much depends
A smooth gray
serenely sitting without
beside the critical
Remember, a metaphor is direct comparison of two normally unrelated things,
objects, or ideas. Your task is:
Make a metaphor out of life; to compare life to something you feel is
appropriate or sums up your thoughts and feelings about life as you know it.
Start with the phrase, “Life is…” and finish the line. Answer the question,
what is life to you? In order for the poem to be a metaphor, you must
compare it to an unrelated object or thing. “Life is hard” does NOT work
because “hard” is a describing word (adj.). You need a noun!
“The Ride of your Life”
Life is a roller coaster
It starts off really slow,
Full of anticipation.
You watch the person next to become anxious
The people below look so far away!
Then, suddenly, it has a tremendous drop
That creates a ton of excitement!
You cannot stop the ride until it is over,
Even if it makes you sick to your stomach,
And then, of course, you want to do it again!
From the definition of personification, the writer is trying to create an object that
normally cannot move or communicate, yet has human qualities. Now, it’s your
turn to practice the poetic technique of personification. Be anything you’ve ever
wanted to be; let your imagination run free. Follow these guidelines!
1. From the five (5) suggested topics below, choose one (1).
2. Write a ½ page, describing the chosen topic, making sure it possesses human
3. Have fun and be creative!!!!
Object – Pick an object that fascinates you. Try to imagine what would
the object say if it could talk? Where would it go if it could walk?
Animal – This is easiest choice because the animal already can move and
many animals are pets. Does your pet communicate with you? What
would it say if it could speak English?
Idea – What is fear and what does it look like? Love is another strong
emotion; if it were human, what would it eat? Does it ever get sick?
Plant/Flower – Do plants really respond classical music? Does a garden
flower feel pain when it is cut? Do dandelions gag on Chemlawn?
Building – Does a church holy? How would your house feel if your family
What an ignoramus, what a maroon!
Many people love reading stories, stories of adventure, love, family, etc. And,
some poets were able to tell a story within their poetry. This type of poem is called
a Ballad. There really isn’t any line-by line instruction, but if you look at the
example, you’ll see how you too can write a ballad!
Now somewhere in the black mountain hills of Dakota
There lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon
And one day his woman ran off with another guy
Hit young Rocky in the eye Rocky didn't like that
He said I'm gonna get that boy
So one day he walked into town
Booked himself a room in the local saloon.
Rocky Raccoon checked into his room
Only to find Gideon's bible
Rocky had come equipped with a gun
To shoot off the legs of his rival
His rival it seems had broken his dreams
By stealing the girl of his fancy.
Her name was Magil and she called herself Lil
But everyone knew her as Nancy.
Now she and her man who called himself Dan
Were in the next room at the hoe down
Rocky burst in and grinning a grin
He said Danny boy this is a showdown
But Daniel was hot-he drew first and shot
And Rocky collapsed in the corner.
Now the doctor came in stinking of gin
And proceeded to lie on the table
He said Rocky you met your match
And Rocky said, Doc it's only a scratch
And I'll be better I'll be better doc as soon as I am able.
Now Rocky Raccoon he fell back in his room
Only to find Gideon's bible
Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt
To help with good Rocky's revival.
An Ode is a poem that praises something. Express yourself by letting the reader
know how special something is to you. Here are some examples:
Ode to Caffeine
Caffeine, my love, you give me such a rush!
Until I found you in the coffee,
My body felt like mush.
You always lift my spirit,
And make me feel so good.
I’d have you more often…
Only if I could!
Some say that you are bad for me,
But I don’t think it’s true.
How can you be bad for me,
You are my Mountain Dew?
Sometimes you make me hyper,
Sometimes you make me shake,
I know you’re always real with me,
I’ve never liked a fake.
The Limerick takes it name from the city of Limerick, Ireland, although no one
really knows how or where the form originated. The limerick is a humorous,
nonsense verse consisting of a triplet and a couplet that creates a five line poem,
(this means you have to rhyme). Covering a wide range of subjects, the first line of
a limerick often begins with “There once was…” or “There was a…” and ends with
the name of a person. Often the humor in a limerick comes in the last line and is a
Exactly Five lines
Lines 1, 2, and 5 must rhyme and must have the same amount of syllables in
length, usually 8-10.
Lines 3 and 4 must rhyme and must have the same amount of syllables in
length, usually 5-7.
There once was a student at school. ______/syllables
Who would not conform to the rule. ______/syllables
He used all his time, ______/syllables
To write funny rhyme, ______/syllables
And limericks he used as a tool ______/syllables
Now that you have written a limerick, rhyming should come fairly easy to you. In
this poem, you’ll need to choose a topic that interests you and write a minimum of
five (5) couplets or ten (10) lines about that topic. See the examples and you should
get some ideas that will help you.
The fanciest dive that ever was dove,
Was done by Melissa of Coconut Grove.
It was noon and was a bright, sunny day.
Alone by the pool in the middle of May.
She bounced on the board and flew in the air,
With a twist of her head and a twirl of her hair.
She did thirty-four jackknives, back flipped and spun,
Quadruple gainered and reached for the sun.
Then she somersaulted nines times and quarter,
And looked down and saw the pool had no water.
5 Ways of Looking
The way a person sees something can decide how they interpret an image they see.
A person’s point-of-view or perspective can totally different from another person’s
perspective. Time of day, time of the year, weather, etc are just a few factors that
can change a person’s understanding of an object. In this poem, you will follow the
directions listed below.
Choose an common object
Describe the object in 5 different ways
Title your poem, “5 ways of looking at _______________”
Use this example as a model that may help understand the poem.
“Cirrus, Stratus, and Cumulus”
The grayish-white fluff, soft as a marshmallow made into a giant pillow against the
A white dove flying across the sky dropping its downy feathers as it goes.
A cotton ball that someone has dropped against the blue field.
A white rabbit jumping across the sky and loses its fluffy, white tail.
When my grandmother starts knitting and she leaves a ball of yarn.
A famous poet once said, “A picture is worth a 1000 words”. It the image means
something to the viewer, a person may stare for over hour at a picture. For this
poem, you’ll need to find a photo that means something to you. Follow these
directions and you will have created your own Photo poem.
Find a photo of someone you care about, and sometimes, it helps to have you
in the photo. If possible, find a photo of someone that you’ve known for
awhile and your relationship has changed.
Now, create three stanzas that describe the image. Who is in the picture?
Where are they? What is the season and time of year? What are they doing
and why are they doing it?
Finally, create three stanzas that describe how you feel when you see the
picture. Make sure you focus on your relationship with this person.
Note: If you are going to raid your parents’ photo album, ASK first.
Memory – (12 line minimum)
As we get older, we develop memories of the past that will suddenly appear in our
mind. Why do we think of these things? Have you ever wanted to write them
down or wanted to pick up the phone and call someone from an old memory?
Here’s an opportunity to write down these thoughts! Follow this guideline and
create your own memory poem.
1) __________________________ was someone who….
Describe your memory and the person:
2) I remember…
List some thoughts about your memory below:
Create a concluding thought about the person:
“Prison is a place”
Prison is a place where you go for years
Without feeling the touch of human hands.
Where you go for months without hearing a kind word.
It is a place where friendships are shallow, and you know it.
Prison is a place where the flame in every man burns low,
For some it goes out; for most it flickers weakly.
Sometimes flashes brightly but never seems
To burn as it once did.
-Jeffrey Kenneth Jones-
1) Use “Prison is a place” as a model for your poem and select a topic:
2) Topic ideas- (if you have a better one, use it!)
a. A friend is someone who…
b. Love is when you feel…
c. America is…
3) Gather ideas about how you feel about your topic; write down images that
connect you to your topic.
4) Organize your thoughts and arrange them into stanzas. (minimum of 12 lines)
5) Finally, write a first and last stanza that expresses how you feel about your
topic in general.
The Free Verse poem is the hardest and the easiest poem to write. It has no rules or
guidelines so many students will struggle without any guidance, while many others
will thrive due to the lack of obstructions in their way. So, go ahead, express
yourself and write about anything you wish, (make it appropriate!) and enjoy!
Spring when the world is mud
Luscious the little lame ballonman
Whistles far and wee
And eddiandbill come
Running from marbles and
Piracies and its spring
When the world is puddle-wonderful
The queer old ballonman whistles
Far and wee
And bettyandisabel come bouncing
From hop-scotch and jump-rope and
Ballonman whistles far and wee
-e. e. cummings
There are many famous poets throughout the history of humankind, Shakespeare
and Tennyson from England, Foster and Dickinson from America and many others.
Who is your favorite poet and what is your favorite poem? Your assignment is to
print out your favorite poem with author AND write a paragraph explaining why it
is your favorite. Here is one of my favorites, (I have many!) and I hope you enjoy
as much as I do.
The Rings of Power
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone
Nine for mortal men doomed to die
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.
- J.R.R. Tolkien
This is one of my favorite poems because it symbolizes and foreshadows
why I became an English teacher. I hated to read and write until I found the
power in the written word through Tolkien’s work.
More than any other form of writing, poems need to be rewritten!!!
1) What you first write down on the page is not likely your finished poem.
You need to consider this first attempt as an unfinished piece of work
that now requires your best conscious and patient appraisal.
2) You need to think of your poem as if it were someone else’s; you need
to separate yourself from it! This is essential for good revision!
3) Your must make good sense. Your poem must say everything you
want it to say without assuming your reader knows what you are
4) Poetry comes naturally for some, but not for others. However,
everyone needs to work at revision and this is hard work. Put some
time into your effort and you’ll see the results are well worth it.
5) Here are some clues that may help you revise your work.
a. Look at the number of lines in your poem. Does your poem read
easily? Does your poem have lines that contain information, or
are they just repeating your thoughts? Does it say enough? You
may omit and add lines when needed.
b. Word choice is crucial. Look carefully at your word choice and
decide if this is what you are trying to say. Use a thesaurus and a
Poetry Evaluation Sheet
(Make sure you hand this in with your poetry book!)
Name____________________ period__________blue/gold Date________
Use this as a checklist and make sure ALL requirements are correct!
Type of Poem Points Earned Points possible
1. Acrostic x 2 ____________ 4
2. Cinquain x 2 ____________ 4
3. Haiku x 2 ____________ 6
4. Concrete x 2 ____________ 6
5. 5-Sense ____________ 5
6. ME ____________ 5
7. Bio ____________ 10
8. I AM ____________ 10
9. Ode ____________ 10
10. Imitation ____________ 10
11. Metaphor ____________ 10
12. Personification ____________ 10
13. Ballad ____________ 10
14. Limericks x 2 ____________ 10
15. Rhymed Verse ____________ 10
16. 5-ways of Looking ____________ 10
17. Photo ____________ 10
18. Memory ____________ 15
19. Expressive ____________ 15
20. Free Verse x 3 ____________ 15
21. Favorite Poem ____________ 10
22. Illustrated Cover Page ____________ 5
23. Title Page ____________ 5
24. Table of Contents ____________ 5
Extra Credit ____________ 10 Max.
Class worktime_________/40 + ____________Total / 250
Remember: Each Poem must contain:
- An illustration or image that represents your poem
- A Title in quotation marks
- A label according to type
- Appropriate grammar
(Ì -X -X
ÿÿ ÿÿ ÿÿ
ˆ - - -