Monday, September 28, 2009

Intro to Poetry

Homework: Write a concrete, descriptive poem about a food item, using all five senses, without mentioning what the item is. In class, students chose either grapes, carrots, Goldfish crackers, or graham crackers.

1. For the warmup, students copied William Carlos Williams' poem, "Nantucket."

Flowers through the window
lavender and yellow

changed by white curtains –
Smell of cleanliness –

Sunshine of late afternoon –
On the glass tray

a glass pitcher, the tumbler
turned down, by which

a key is lying – And the
immaculate white bed

2. Students wrote about what makes poetry different from other types of writing.

3. We had a class discussion about the poem "Nantucket" and poetry in general.

4. Each student chose a food item to write about.

5. Assignment: write a list of three adjectives (descriptive words) per sense for your food item. These will be used for your first poem.

Tips on concrete writing:

We're trying to avoid writing about things that remind us of other things and focusing on the thing itself. Just like when we were drawing Picasso's portrait of Stravinsky upside down, we're practicing looking at something differently so we can break through the assumptions we have about what words mean.

So, when you write about how a grape feels in your hand, you're not, for this assignment, thinking about the grapes you ate last night, or how much you hate raisins, or how your grandma has a bunch of plastic grapes in a bowl in her living room. You're writing about the experience you're having with THIS grape, RIGHT NOW. Make your reader hear the "squish!" and feel how it is to bite through the skin of the grape.

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