Visual artists sometimes talk about using “found objects” in their artwork. In other words, they collect interesting things during the course of a normal day (such as bus tickets, objects from nature, or a toy found on the street) and then find a way to incorporate those objects into their artwork.
Did you know that you can do the same thing with language? A “found poem” is created by collecting interesting text from the world around us and then using those words to make a poem. When you create poetry this way, you are acting like a documentary filmmaker—using scenes from real life to tell an interesting story.
Here are three simple and fun ways to create “found poetry” from the language that is all around you.
For many years, I’ve wanted to add some of my favorite classic children’s poems to Poetry4kids.com; the poems I read and had read to me as a child. I have always thought it would be a good idea to have an easy way for teachers, parents, and children to explore some of the most popular poems of the English language. Today, I finally accomplished that goal.
Poetry4kids.com now has a new Classics section where I have begun posting some of my favorite, and many of the most well-known poems written for children over the past few hundred years. For starters, these include such famous poems as Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” Clement Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” and Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat.” I have posted 15 poems to start, and will continue posting more classic poems weekly, with the hope of eventually having hundreds of classic poems for you to enjoy.
Read and Rate Classic Poems
Even better, I have included the ability for readers to rate each poem (1-5 stars). The more highly-rated poems will appear at the top of the page, while the less popular poems will be farther down the page (or may get booted from the page altogether). This way you can easily see which poems are the most well-loved by readers, and even vote for your own favorites.
If your child or teen has a burgeoning interest in being a writer, there are many ways to encourage this newfound interest. Here are seven suggestions for supporting the literary urge in young members of your family.
1: Offer your child fun writing tools
Your young poet or novelist will appreciate a field trip together to choose special writing tools. Depending on his or her personality, your child might prefer to write in a lined journal, in a blank art sketchbook, on monogrammed stationery, or even on neon-colored legal pads. He or she might like a set of colored gel pens, a set of fine-tipped Sharpie markers, or a fresh set of sharpened #2 pencils. See How to Start a Poetry Journal for ideas on different kinds of journals your child might prefer.
Some older kids or teens might prefer a digital environment for writing. But there are still ways to provide cool writing tools for a computer or mobile device. For example, you can download a free application at OmmWriter.com that is similar to Microsoft Word, but with a minimalist interface and relaxing music.
Children of all ages will enjoy seeing their finished poems or stories in print. It’s easy to create a poetry chapbook using a word processing program and your home printer. You can bind the book yourself with a hole punch and ribbon, or take it to a copy shop to be perfect-bound in order to look more like a “real book.”
My newest poetry collection, The Armpit of Doom: Funny Poems for Kids, is now available! This collection of 70 new poems has been a labor of love for the past couple of years, and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.
Irrepressible, unpredictable, and raucously popular children’s poet Kenn Nesbitt was spawned in the same cracked petri dish as Jack Prelutsky, to whom he is the natural heir. A title guaranteed to generate “No, wait, read this one!” responses, The Armpit of Doom is more mayhem from one of the masters.
(J. Patrick Lewis, U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, author of Please Bury Me in the Library and many other books for children)
A few months ago, I was a guest on Renee LaTulippe’s terrific children’s poetry blog, No Water River. While I was there I recited the poem “My Hamster Has a Skateboard” from my book The Tighty-Whitey Spider: And More Wacky Animal Poems I Totally Made Up. Just in case you missed it, I thought I would post the video of the poem here as well. I hope you enjoy it!
I’m pleased to announce that my newest book, I’m Growing a Truck in the Garden is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. Written especially for young readers in the UK, this collection of weird and wonderful poems, with fun and quirky illustrations by Sophie Burrows, follows one boy through his day as he plays with his friends and creates havoc along the way.
Check out the winning poems from the 2012 TFK Poetry Contest
From www.timeforkids.com: More than 1,000 kids entered this year’s TIME For Kids Poetry Contest. Poet Kenn Nesbitt chose the winners. “I had an amazing time reading the poems,” he says. All the winners will receive a copy of Nesbitt’s book of poetry The Tighty Whitey Spider. Click here to watch a video of the funny poet read one of his own rhymes for TFK.
Now that National Poetry Month 2012 is officially underway, there are a lot of great new resource being published on the web. At No Water River, Renee LaTulippe’s will be interviewing a number of poets this month, and posting videos of them reciting their poems. The first interview is with yours truly, and you can also see a video of me reciting my poem “My Hamster Has a Skateboard.”
Be sure to check back regularly at No Water River to see all of the videos and interviews that Renee has planned for this month.
There is some serious madness going on this month at ThinkKidThink.com. Ed DeCaria has masterminded a tournament involving 64 writers who are going head-to-head in a children’s poetry showdown. Over the next few weeks there will be several rounds of competitions that include well-known children’s poets as well as relative newcomers, all battling to see who will ultimately be crowned the champ.
So who’s the judge? You are! That’s right. Voting is open to the public. All you have to do is read each pair of poems and decide which one you like best. The poets with the most votes move on the next round and the madness continues until there is only one poet left standing.
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