Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Photo by Amy LV


Students - I have been participating in something interesting and funny...a poetry tournament over at Ed DeCaria's Think Kid, Think! blog. At first I did not want to do this because I was traveling a lot and because I do not write to compete. I write because I love writing, the surprise of writing. But curiosity got the best of me, and so I decided to play. It has been fascinating to read everybody's poems, and I've had good giggles and sighs both, thinking about the various topics and rolling around in so many rich words. One of the best parts has been reading all of the encouraging comments back-and-forth, writer-to-writer.

Here's the way the tournament works. Ed, the man in charge of the tournament and a poet himself, gives each pairing of people words to write from. We each receive one word, and some are more difficult words than others. Then, we each have 36 hours to write a poem somehow using our assigned word. After the 36 hours, both poems are posted here on the live scoreboard, and anyone who wishes can vote!

So far, the two words I have been assigned have been 'bent' (you can find it in the above poem) and 'control' (you can find it in the below poem). The new words - including mine - will all be revealed by tonight, and shortly thereafter...the voting begins!  I encourage you to stop by Think Kid, Think! and click the live scoreboard to vote for all of your favorite poems.  We are down to 16 poems now...

Teachers - this would be a wonderful thing to try with students who are already comfy with poems. Just choose several words and put them in a basket. Then, have students draw one word each. They may or may not tell the word (it could be fun to have people guess). Everyone writes a poem using the chosen words, and everyone is inspired!

A variation on this would be to choose one word for the whole class, and everyone write from that. In 2001, I took a Highlights Foundation Workshop with Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and we did this together. We had three words...and every person had to write a poem using all three! It was a very neat exercise, one I still think about.

Please let me know if you try this as I would be tickled to feature YOUR word poems here at The Poem Farm.

What does this whole word game teach us? Writing ideas lurk everywhere...even in single words. So, when the page looks blank, open a book...point to a word...and write!

Please share a comment below if you wish!
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  1. Thank you, Amy, for sharing the madness at TKT and for sharing your love of (and talent for) poetry!

    AND: Congratulations on reaching the Sweet Sixteen!


  2. Amy,
    I really love your poetry. And I love this exercise and will be giving it a try.

    Swagger Writers