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How to Write an Exaggeration Poem

Exaggeration means claiming something is greater than it really is. For example, if you said “my cat is as big as a house” or “I can run faster than the speed of light,” you would be exaggerating.

Exaggerating is a fun way to write imaginative poetry. When I exaggerate in a poem, I like to pick one characteristic of the thing I am writing about, and exaggerate it as wildly as I can. For example, my poem “The Biggest Burp Ever” is about a burp that is so huge it knocks over buildings, makes rivers run backward, and even widens the Grand Canyon. The crazier your exaggerations, the more exciting the poem is.

Let me give you an example, let’s say you want to write a poem about food. The first thing you need to do is pick a type of food to write about. You might decide to write about something delicious or something disgusting. You might decide to write about a cold food, a sticky food, a spicy food, etc. Let’s pick one and see what we can come up with.

Let’s say we want to write a poem about a spicy food. But let’s exaggerate and make it the world’s spiciest food. What kind of food might that be? How about the world’s hottest hot pepper? What kinds of things would happen if you ate the world’s hottest hot pepper? Would you breathe flames? Would your hair ignite? Would you drink a lot of water? Perhaps an entire lake? What else would happen? Let’s start writing and find out.

I Ate a Spicy Pepper

I ate a spicy pepper
From my brother on a dare.
The pepper caught my head on fire
And burned off all my hair.

My mouth erupted lava
And my tongue began to melt.
My ears were shooting jets of steam.
At least that’s how they felt.

I ricocheted around the room.
I ran across the ceiling.
I dove right in the freezer
To relieve the burning feeling.

I drank a thousand soda pops
And chewed a ton of ice
To try to stop the scorching
Of that spicy pepper’s spice.

At last, the flames extinguished,
I admitted to my brother,
“That pepper was the best one yet.
May I please have another?”

Let’s pick another topic. Let’s say you want to write a poem about a computer. We could make it a slow computer or a fast computer. A large computer or a small computer, and so on. Why don’t we make it not just a fast computer, but the fastest, biggest, smartest computer in the world. How big would it be? How much memory would it have? What sorts of things would it be able to do? Here’s what I came up with.

New Computer

We have bought a new computer
that’s the fastest ever seen.
It has terabytes of mem’ry
and a forty-eight inch screen.

It has all the latest gizmos
and accessories galore.
It has every last peripheral
they carried at the store.

It has disk drives by the dozen
it has twenty-seven mice,
and it even has a microwave
included in the price.

It can teach you how to mambo.
It can play the violin.
It can calculate the distance
from Botswana to Berlin.

It can speak in seven languages
with scholarly finesse,
then defeat the world’s grandmasters
in a tournament of chess.

It can conjure anti-gravity,
or build a time machine.
Our computer is undoubtedly
the fastest ever seen.

When we went and bought it yesterday
we thought it pretty neat,
but today our new computer
is already obsolete.

So you see, to write your own exaggeration poem, you only need to do three things:

  1. Pick something to write about.
  2. Pick a feature or characteristic of the thing that you are writing about.
  3. Exaggerate that characteristic in every way you can think of, making a list as you go.
  4. Take your list of ideas and turn them into a poem.

Here are some more tips to help you get started:

  • When you write your exaggeration poem, it doesn’t have to rhyme, unless you want I to.
  • If you can’t think of a funny ending for your poem, try ending it with the same lines you used at the beginning of the poem.
  • If you have trouble thinking of something to write about, read Chapter 3 of How to Write Funny Poetry on this website for some ideas.

Good luck writing your own exaggeration poems!

Kenn Nesbitt
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Hottest Food Ever by Kenn Nesbitt Hottest Food Ever

Hottest Food Ever by Kenn Nesbitt

It’s spicy. It’s burning.
It’s blazing. It’s boiling.
It’s sizzling. It’s stinging.
It’s scorching. It’s broiling.

My mouth is aflame and
my tongue is on fire.
The pepper is making
my tastebuds perspire.

I’m guzzling down water.
I’m chomping on ice.
I’m searching for something
to cut through the spice.

I’m panting. I’m moaning.
I’m whining. I’m crying.
It feels like my face and
my forehead are frying.

I guess it’s my fault and
I feel pretty silly.
I thought it was cold when
they said it was chili.

How to Write a Traditional Nursery Rhyme

Humpty Dumpty

Some of the best known children’s poetry in the English language are the “nursery rhymes” of Mother Goose. Though no one knows for certain if Mother Goose was a real person, her rhymes have been popular with young children since the 1600’s. Some of the most popular Mother Goose rhymes include “Humpty Dumpty,” “Hey, Diddle Diddle,” “Little Bo Peep,” “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater,” and many others. In fact, Mother Goose is credited with writing several hundred nursery rhymes.

But did you know that Mother Goose isn’t the only writer of nursery rhymes? “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” was written by an English woman named Jane Taylor. Many of the short nonsense poems of Edward Lear would qualify as nursery rhymes. And some, such as “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” are “traditional,” meaning we don’t know who wrote them.

In the past few decades, a number of children’s poets have also begun writing new nursery rhymes. For example, Canadian poet Dennis Lee has authored a number of books, including Alligator Pie, Jelly Belly, and Bubblegum Delicious, that are filled with new nursery rhymes. American poet Jack Prelutsky followed suit with books such as Ride a Purple PelicanBeneath a Blue Umbrella, and The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders.

Many authors have even started writing funny “fractured” nursery rhymes, taking well-known Mother Goose poems and updating them with humor and modern ideas.

In fact, even you can write your own new nursery rhymes, and it’s not that hard. All you need is a pencil, a piece of paper, a little time, and your imagination.

Poetry Smelling Game

“My Senses Are All Backward” Smelling Game

Your world is shaped by the information you take in through your senses.  You know which ice cream you like best because of your taste buds.  You know that you shouldn’t touch the stove top because of your sense of touch.  The sirens warn you to get out of the way!  And most importantly, your sense of smell keeps you away from the toxic stench emanating from the facilities after your brother spends an hour “resting!”

But what if you couldn’t trust those senses anymore?  That’s exactly what happens in the following poem, where the character’s senses turn up all backward.  Imagine describing the spray of a skunk as delightful, and the smell of a rose as hideous.  People would think you were crazy!  Do you think this poem is a bit crazy?