Monday, April 2, 2018

Poem #2 - Story Structure

Welcome to my 2018 National Poetry Month Project! I love projects!
It is wonderful to find so many folks are joining in at blogs and elsewhere. 
All are welcome!

This year at The Poem Farm, I will be writing a new poem every day about the constellation Orion.  Every day I will highlight a new poetic technique, a technique used by poets and by writers of other genres as well. After all, the techniques of poets are the techniques of all writers. I will be using my Fall 2017 Heinemann book, POEMS ARE TEACHERS, to lead me as I write all April long.

My hope is that some readers might also choose to dive deeply into writing about 1 Subject 30 Ways, to stick with one subject for a few days or for a whole month, approaching it from a variety of perspectives, in a multitude of structures, and with many playful word explorations.

Here is a list of this month's poems so far:

And's technique.

Story Poem Drafting
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem is a story poem.  A story poem structure is just what it sounds like: a story with characters who do things, a setting, a beginning, middle and end.  For this poem, I had a few story choices.  Well, first of all there are a few different Orion stories, so I chose one to stick with for the month.  I also considered writing a story about  person seeing the constellation Orion for the first time, or about the person who first saw Orion. These I will save for a future day.  

No poem needs to rhyme, but you will notice that many of my poems do rhyme. If you wish to rhyme, do be sure that your rhymes make sense (unless you are writing a nonsense poem which should not make sense.)  I did not rhyme "Orion" with "You're lyin'" because this would not have made sense.  In order to make poems rhyme AND make sense, I write many drafts and cross out many times.  

If you decide to write a story poem, remember.  You may write a true story, a fiction story, a half-true story, a story about now or long ago, a story from any perspective...and it need not rhyme!

Can you see how I included a photograph of my phone screen along with my project notebook page for today's poem? This is because I did some writing on a long nighttime car trip, and that lit screen certainly came in handy.  I prefer paper and pen for drafting, but in a pinch, a phone is handy! 

In my book POEMS ARE TEACHERS, I highlight a mentor story poem by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. The title of his poem is  "My Heart."   The two student poet mentors are Meghana V. with "Magic Ride" and Braden M. with "Feather."

Remember, you can connect with all kinds of poetry goodness happening throughout April 2018 at my introductory National Poetry Month post HERE.

See you tomorrow...with a mask poem!


Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. I'm glad Mother Earth said no. I also think it's an important metaphor to have in the sky as a reminder -- the overzealous hunter and the scorpion/consequence for extreme behavior...

  2. What an interesting way to do a poetry theme. We are celebrating Poetry Month in my school library and I will let teachers know about this site- since the examples and techniques can help them teach poetry. Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. What an enchanting structure! I studied your line breaks and read the poem aloud to understand the rhythm. I love the idea of stories set in deepest outer space.

  4. I love the story of Orion, sadly can see only Orion's belt from our "lit-up" city. You included much in this, Amy. I think it could be put to music, a "song-story".

  5. It seems to me that one key to understanding poetry is to think of it as story. Even when the narrative isn't obvious, there's often an underlying narrative even in lyrical poetry. I found a prompt thread on Twitter via @WTangerine and the #WTWrites. Today's prompt was to write about a childhood secret, which I did and posted on my blog. I have my AP Lit students tapping into their inner poets, too. This group has struggled more w/ meaning in poetry than have past classes, so I'm hoping getting them to think like poets will help them w/ the analysis they'll do on the AP Lit exam May 9.

    BTW, I thought the Padlet was only for students.

    1. All are welcome - but I just want poems to be appropriate for young readers! Please consider hooking your blog into the Poetry Friday roundup here at my place this Friday! All are welcome. Hi to your AP students. Have you checked out Poetry180 online. You might find some for them to love. :) x

    2. I use Poetry 180 in my general speech classes and on rare occasions in AP Lit, but not as a focus of the core curriculum in that class. I did have students in AP Lit write list poems today--April 3--and that worked well w/ "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," the poem we worked with and which students wrote about.

  6. Wow, I'd forgotten the story! Thanks for sharing it. And sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a line or phrase, and I type it right into the Notes on my phone. :) xo

  7. I have a beautiful view of the stars from my backyard. We're just far enough from the city to avoid much of the light pollution. I'm always fascinated by the stars and wishing I'd take the time to learn a little more. Your poem focus is making me want to do just that. I enjoyed the story of Orion. I enjoyed the rhythm of your poem. I love when rhythm and meaning collide. I can't wait to see tomorrow's mask poem.

  8. It's great to see your project notebook page and watch the progression from that to your final poem on the blog. It's always a process and I love peeking inside your process. The last four lines provide wonderful closure to your poem and provide a never ending story with your words "forever race."

  9. Story poems are my favorite! Although I doubt I could pull off a story poem, and especially not a "nonfiction-sh poem" witha ton of embedded information with your sense of rhythm and rhyme.

  10. I like this one! Story format is one I am drawn to. My students find the format engaging, and they agreed that it is easy to follow. Thanks!