Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Poem #3 - Mask or Persona

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 now...today's technique.

Mask (or Persona) Poem Drafting
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem is a mask poem, otherwise known as a persona poem.  When writing through a mask, you write from different point of view than your usual point of view as you, the person you are.

I love writing mask - or persona - poems because doing so allows me to imagine that I am something else and when I do this...I understand a subject differently.  At first, I thought I'd write from Orion's perspective, but then I thought, "Why not carry on from yesterday's story, and let the scorpion speak?"  I have 28 more days to give Orion a voice.

As I am writing about a very narrow subject this month, I need not do too much research, but still there is a little.  In writing this poem, I learned about the two brightest stars in Scorpio: Antares and Shaula. And I learned how to pronounce them too.  I you're wondering about the "chart," Scorpio is referring to a star chart, a tool of many who study the sky.

Remember - your poem need not rhyme.  If it does, be sure that the rhyme does not distract from your meaning.  For me, I'd rather not rhyme at all than rhyme awkwardly.

I am talking about mask POEMS, but of course, writers think and write from different points of view in a variety of genres.  Doing so opens our minds and expands our perspective possibilities.  We can write stronger opinion pieces when we try out the other side.  We can develop our characters more deeply when we see them through other characters' eyes.  We report more honest news when we explore a variety of points of view.

In my book POEMS ARE TEACHERS, I highlight a mentor mask (or persona) poem by Lee Wardlaw. The title of his poem is "History Lesson."   The two student poet mentors are Shayna G. with "Little Leaf" and Karl M. with "Sky."

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 alliteration!


Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. This is what I love best about good nonfiction -- in order to be all about one topic, the writer needs to go off on relevant tangents!

  2. I really don't know much about constellations and their backstories, so this is fun AND informative! Joining you today putting fairy shrimp behind the mask. I hope Mark likes it, too! xx Christie https://wonderingandwondering.wordpress.com/2018/04/03/fairy-shrimp-mask-poem-nationalpoetrymonth-napowrimo-sol/

  3. My zodiac sign is scorpio, so I'm fascinated by the scorpion having a voice when the subject is Orion. I particularly like the first stanza, and I'm wondering about "Mask" as a form or technique. Do you define it as taking on a different persona? It seems that way to me.

    1. Hi Scorpio, Glenda! Yes, you will see in my talk about the poem that indeed, writing taking on a different persona is the very definition of a mask poem. They are such fun to write!

  4. I like the layers that you created here, and how the mask/persona poem lets you speak boldly too, thanks Amy!

  5. I'm learning a lot from you this month! I have written from different points of view, but never knew they were called mask/persona poems. Like Mary Lee, I love the nonfiction that's embedded in these poems. And I love hearing you read your work aloud. I tried a mask poem today! Not as successfully as you, but I tried!

  6. Love that you chose to write from Scorpio's point of view about Orion.

  7. Each one of your entries is a different way of looking at poetry so I love how your journey is flowing through poetry, Amy.