Form It is a prompt that focuses on exploring our topic through form poetry. This time, we’re going to “form” a little lamb.
Prompt Guidelines and Options
1. Consider how you are feeling today, as you approach your topic. Are you sorrowful? Overflowing with joy or good humor? Maybe you’re in a snarky frame of mind. Or feeling perplexed. Perhaps you’re just in the mood to tell a story or express gratitude or awe. You could also consider the nature of the topic itself. Think on these things before you…
2. Choose a form that either matches or purposely works against how you feel as you approach your topic, or that matches or purposely works against the nature of the topic itself. Options:
Acrostic (good for creating puzzles and mystery or dedications)
Ballad (excellent way to tell a story)
Catalog Poem (useful for building intensity, praise, or a sense of magic)
Cinquain (a good form for creating a sense of focus on a single experience, possibly with a twist ending or a terse ending)
Ghazal (helpful for emphasizing “longing” or for exploring metaphysical questions)
Haiku (good for creating immediacy or focusing in on emotion)
Ode (excellent way to praise something or someone you love or admire)
Pantoum (useful for plumbing depressive or anxious themes)
Rondeau (helpful for giving form to extremes of either sadness or dark wit)
Sestina (good for exploring confusion, questions, worries, neuroses, fears in an oblique way)
Sonnet (excellent way to confine a bombastic theme or rein in a potentially sappy or overly-sentimental theme; also an excellent way to “work against” a topic humorously)
Villanelle (useful for themes that feel resistant to answers; also can be used to “work against” a topic, using mocking humor)
3. Be specific. Think nouns instead of adjectives.
4. Consider doing a little research about the topic you are covering: its history, associated words, music, art, sculpture, architecture, fashion, science, and so on. Look for unusual details, so you can speak convincingly and intriguingly.
That’s it! We look forward to hearing you form poetically, about a little lamb.
Photo by Martin Pettitt. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland
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