Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Poem #17 - Start with Setting

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.

Start with Setting Drafting
Photo by Amy LV

Students - One question young writers often ask is, "How should I begin?"  There are many ways to begin a poem or a story or an article, and one way is to begin by describing a place.  A writer might choose to describe the weather, the light, the nature, the way a room looks, a feeling in the air. When you lead with setting description, you set readers right down in a place: we know where we are.

I was not sure what today's Orion poem would be about, but I knew it would begin with a place.  But where?  Well, a backyard.  And then the child and the snowman and the grandpa just showed up.  This happens sometimes.  You make a place, and the characters will join you there.  Or if you already have characters and action, you may give them a place to be.

In my book POEMS ARE TEACHERS, I highlight ending with one word or a brief phrase with two poems by Marilyn Singer. The title of her poems, both from her book ALL WE NEEDED TO SAY: POEMS ABOUT SCHOOL BY TANYA AND SOPHIE. (page 174) are "Sophie" and "T.anya."  The two student poet mentors (page 177) are Noah J. with "The Silent Wilderness" and Beatrix with "Queen."  Thank you to these poets, and thank you to the teachers of the student poets in this book!

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 repetition!


Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Oh to be in that cold, dark backyard, looking up at the stars with someone special. And how magical that the Snowman has had his eyes opened to the star-filled world above. I hope Grandma was inside making them some cocoa! Join me on my favorite log today.

  2. Great advice - you make a place and the characters will join you there. Love the alliteration in the 3rd stanza and of course, that snowman looking up for the first time.

  3. You have me thinking about poetry in so many new ways. Thank you.

  4. Although not directly part of the poem, what resonates for me is the relationship between the grandpa and the grandchild. It reminds me of my own conversations w/ my grandfather in his garage. I might have to write a poem about that.

  5. This prompt is perfect for a project I'm working on, thank you!

  6. I really like your poem in this style. I will have to give it a try.

  7. I just want to hug both the grandpa and the snowman!!