Tag: poetry

Forced Rhymes and How to Avoid Them

What is a “Forced Rhyme?”

Have you ever written a poem, only to be told that the rhymes sound “forced,” but didn’t know exactly what that meant? It can be confusing, because a “forced rhyme” may be any one of a number of different things. All of them, however, can make a poem less enjoyable to read. So, to improve your poetry as much as possible, you’ll want to learn how to avoid each of the various types of forced rhymes.

Rearranging a phrase to put the rhyme at the end of the line

Probably the most common type of forced rhyme is where the poet says something in an unnatural way in order to make the line rhyme. For example, take a look at this couplet:

Whenever we go out and walk,
with you I like to talk.

Now, in normal, everyday English, you would never say “with you I like to talk.” Instead, you would say “I like to talk with you.” And yet, some poets will write this unnatural way in order to force the lines to rhyme with one another; hence the term “forced” rhyme.

How to Host an Open Mic Poetry Party

Having an open mic poetry party is a great way for kids to showcase their talent while encouraging them to keep writing.  Whether the children are budding poets, stand-up comedians, or just need some practice with public speaking, in a few simple steps you can provide everyone with a fun way to enjoy live poetry!

Step One: Decide on a Venue

Think about the type of party you’d like to host.  Will it be a small gathering of friends, perhaps for a birthday or special occasion?  Is it for your class, scout troop, or youth group?  The size of the group, as well as the purpose of the party, will help you determine your venue.

There are many different places that would be great for an open mic night/party.  Libraries have meeting rooms or sometimes stages that can be reserved for free or very low cost.  Book stores and coffee shops often host open mic nights and poetry readings.  Rooms in schools and churches can also provide a nice space.  Even just your own living room can work well for small groups.

Once you decide on a space, you’ll have to call ahead and book it, as sometimes locations require reservations weeks or even months in advance.

How to Make a “Found Poem”

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.

Winning Rhymes

Check out the winning poems from the 2012 TFK Poetry Contest

Santino Panzica, winner of the 2012 TIME for Kids 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.

Ready for a chuckle? Click here to read these silly rhymes from this year’s winners.

Kids Hummingbird Poetry Contest

HummingbirdDo you like hummingbirds? Do you like writing poems? Would you like to win a prize? Hummingbird-guide.com is hosting their second annual Kids Hummingbird Poetry Contest here.

The contest is open to kids ages 6-12. Winners will receive a free hummingbird feeder. The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2012 and winners will be announced October 31, 2012.

But there’s no need to wait. You can submit your own original hummingbird poem now. Good luck to you!

An Interview with Steven Withrow

Podcast

Subscribe to this Podcast

Steven Withrow

Children’s Poet and Poetry Advocate, Steven Withrow

Steven Withrow is the founder of Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults (PACYA), a children’s poet, filmmaker, and all around talented man.

His poems have appeared most recently in two volumes of the Poetry Tag Time series, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.

I had the chance to interview Steven recently about PACYA. you can listen to our conversation, and hear Steven recite a couple of his own poems, here.

You can also find Steven on the Internet at the following websites:

Poetry Advocates – https://www.poetryatplay.org
Library of the Early Mind – https://www.libraryoftheearlymind.com
Crackles of Speech – https://cracklesofspeech.blogspot.com

TIME for Kids 2012 Poetry Contest

Calling all poets! TIME For Kids has a challenge for you: Write a funny, rhyming poem. It must be an original poem that does not copy another poet’s work. Enter it in the TIME For Kids Poetry Contest. The grand-prize winner will receive an online class visit from poet Kenn Nesbitt. The grand-prize winner and four finalists will each get a signed copy of one of Nesbitt’s books of poetry, and their poems will be published at timeforkids.com.

The deadline is March 1, 2012, so what are you waiting for? Send in your funny poem today!

How to Write a Funny List Poem

Shopping List

What is a list poem?

A “list poem” gets its name from the fact that most of the poem is made up of a long list of things.

Two famous list poems are “Bleezer’s Ice Cream” by Jack Prelutsky and “Sick” by Shel Silverstein. You will even find some of my list poems on poetry4kids.com, such as “My Lunch” and “That Explains It!

These are not the only list poems, though. Many children’s poets have written fun list poems, and you can even write your own. This lesson will show you how.

The structure of a list poem

List poems usually have a list in the middle, plus a few lines at the beginning and a few lines at the end. You can think of the beginning and end of a list poem like the top and bottom slices of bread in a sandwich. The list is like the meat or peanut butter or whatever else is between the bread. Picture it like this:

Beginning
List
List
List
List
Ending

List poems often rhyme, and they are usually funny. If you look at poems like Shel Silverstein’s “Sick” or Jack Prelutsky’s “Bleezer’s Ice Cream” you will notice that the lists also include very unusual items. Putting strange, unexpected, or exaggerated things on your list is a good way to make your poem funny.

Getting started

Here are two easy ways to start writing a list poem:

1.       Start with someone else’s beginning and end, but make your own list in the middle.

2.       Start by writing a list of your own, and then write your own beginning and end to go with the list.

You can decide for yourself whether it will be easier to write your own list poem from scratch, or to use someone else’s poem as a starting point.

Starting with someone else’s poem

It’s okay to use someone else’s list poem as the starting point for your own poem. (Just be sure to say your creation was “Based on…” the poem you used.) For example, here is my poem “That Explains It!”:

That Explains It!

I went to the doctor. He x-rayed my head.
He stared for a moment and here’s what he said.
“It looks like you’ve got a banana in there,
an apple, an orange, a peach, and a pear.
I also see something that looks like a shoe,
a plate of spaghetti, some fake doggy doo,
an airplane, an arrow, a barrel, a chair,
a salmon, a camera, some old underwear,
a penny, a pickle, a pencil, a pen,
a hairy canary, a hammer, a hen,
a whistle, a thistle, a missile, a duck,
an icicle, bicycle, tricycle, truck.
with all of the junk that you have in your head
it’s kind of amazing you got out of bed.
The good news, at least, is you shouldn’t feel pain.
From what I can see here you don’t have a brain.”

Notice that this poem begins with the four lines that set up the story, and ends with four lines that make it even funnier. You can use the same beginning and end, if you like, while putting your own list in the middle.

For example, what would the doctor find in your head? Since this list has rhymes at the end of each line, you can start with a few rhymes, like this:

house
mouse
cat
hat

Once you’ve got a few rhymes, you can add as many items as you want, like this:

“I also see something that looks like a house,
a monkey, a meerkat, a mink, and a mouse,
a laptop computer, a boat, and a cat,
an old pair of glasses, a coat, and a hat,

Of course, you don’t have to use my poem; you can use any list poem you like to create your own new list poem, or you can even create one from scratch.

Starting with your own list

If you prefer to write your own list poem from scratch, one easy way is to figure out what you’re going to make a list of. For example, you could make a grocery list, a list of things in your backpack, a list of your favorite sweets, a list of things you want for Christmas, and so on.

Let’s try it with a list of sweets. First let’s try to think of candies and sweets that rhyme.

Nestle’s Crunch
Hawaiian Punch
Dots
Zotz
Tootsie Pops
Lemon drops
Whoppers
Gobstoppers

Now that you’ve got some rhymes, put them into a list, adding a few more items to make the lines each about the same length:

A half a dozen Nestle’s Crunch.
A gallon of Hawaiian Punch.
Some Cracker Jacks. A box of Dots.
Some Pop Rocks and a jar of Zotz.
Reese’s Pieces. Tootsie Pops.
Hershey Kisses. Lemon drops.
Candy Corn, Milk Duds, and Whoppers.
Skittles, Snickers, and Gobstoppers.

Once your rhyming list is done, give it a beginning, an end, and a title and you’re all done.

My Shopping List

My mother said, “Go buy some bread,”
but this is what I got instead.

A half a dozen Nestle’s Crunch.
A gallon of Hawaiian Punch.
Some Cracker Jacks. A box of Dots.
Some Pop Rocks and a jar of Zotz.
Reese’s Pieces. Tootsie Pops.
Hershey Kisses. Lemon drops.
Candy Corn, Milk Duds, and Whoppers.
Skittles, Snickers, and Gobstoppers.
When mother needs things from the store
She never sends me anymore.

And that’s all there is to it. Now it’s your turn. Make a list of animals, friends, monsters, games, foods, places you’d like to go on vacation, or anything else you like, and see if you can turn it into a funny list poem of your own!

You Make My Face Smile, Olivia Whitman

Kids often ask me, “How old do you have to be to write a book?” I tell them that if they can write or draw, it doesn’t matter how old they are. You don’t have to be a grown-up to get a book published.

I often point out best-selling child authors such as Alec Greven, the author of How to Talk to Girls, or Christopher Paolini, the author of Eragon and the other books in the Inheritance Cycle.

Recently, though, I’ve been telling people about Olivia Whitman, a 9-year-old girl from Michigan who survived brain cancer and went on to publish her first book, a collection of her own poems and drawings called “You Make My Face Smile.” Watch the video below to see how Olivia got her wish and had her book published.

Olivia Whitman, author of You Make My Face Smile

Olivia Whitman, author of “You Make My Face Smile”

I you would like to order a copy of Olivia Whitman’s book, you can mail a check or money order for $12.00 per book (includes shipping & handling) to:

Liv Via Books
401 E. Main St
DeWitt, MI 48820

Or you can “Like” Liv Via Books on Facebook and order your copy at the Shop Now tab. You can also click here to read more about Olivia’s remarkable story.

Electronic Christmas

Podcast

Subscribe to this Podcast

I asked for new gadgets for Christmas.
My list was a hundred lines long.
I figured I might as well try it.
Why not? I mean, what could go wrong?

My parents bought all that I wanted:
An iPod, a big-screen TV,
a camera, a laptop computer,
a Playstation, Xbox, and Wii.

I got a new Kindle, a smart phone,
an RF remote-controlled car,
a robot, a video camera,
a brand new electric guitar.

But those things were just the beginning.
This Christmas, I had such a haul,
it took me all morning, and then some,
to finish unwrapping it all.

A hundred new gadgets to play with.
I couldn’t be bothered to wait.
The moment I plugged them all in, though,
it blew every fuse in the state.

If you’re spending Christmas in darkness,
and can’t play your video game,
I’m sorry for all of the trouble;
it’s probably me who’s to blame.

I know now I shouldn’t be greedy,
so, next year, I think you’ll be fine.
Instead of a hundred new gadgets,
I’m asking for just ninety nine.

–Kenn Nesbitt