Monday, April 9, 2018

Poem #9 - Inspired by a Question

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.

Inspired by a Question Poem Drafting
Photo by Amy LV

Students - One of the most important things that a writer must learn to do - a poet or writer of any genre - is to learn to self-inspire.  I do not always feel in a writing mood; the trick is to learn to put myself into a writing mood. And strategies such as inspiring myself with a question get my engine running.  

You will see in my notebook above that I brainstormed a list of 20 questions about Orion to get myself thinking.  It really helped.  I kept thinking that I had no more questions, but I would not allow myself to stop until I reached 20.  This poem ended up focusing on Question 1 (How did it get named?) and Question 9 (Who chooses the pictures?)

In my book POEMS ARE TEACHERS, I highlight being inspired by a question with a poem by Susan Blackaby. The title of her poem (page 11) is "Just One Moon."   The two student poet mentors (page 13) are Eli S. with "I Wonder" and Marco K. with "Are Dinosaurs Still Alive?"  

This poem also ends by leaving a question in the air. You might to choose a poem or a piece of writing in a different genre this same way.  Often a piece of writing does not tie up neatly at the end, but rather, leaves readers with a question.  IN POEMS ARE TEACHERS. In POEMS ARE TEACHERS I highlight leaving a question in the air with a poem by LeslĂ©a Newman. The title of her poem (page 197) is "Little Cat."   The two student poet mentors (page 200) are Sophie R. with "Disappointment" and Caroline B. with "Who is There?"  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 a circular beginning and ending!

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Yippee! Poems make the greatest teachers! Many thanks Amy and Heinemann for making this a fabulous Monday. Today I'll turn to my Kindergarten biologists for their burning questions about our amphibious friends at the vernal pool.

  2. I like the way you turned questioning into wondering. One of the most important gifts we give students is the impulse to question, to inquire, to wonder. I've seen question poems before, so I'm really happy to see your poem that questions w/out a series of who, what, when, where, how, why stated directly. Instead, you question in subtle ways. Lovely.

  3. Thank you! I have been so incredibly a project. I read your post this morning, grabbed my notebook and made myself write twenty questions. Guess what? I couldn't stop! You are just the cuppa coffee my brain needed to think about things in a new way. I don't know what writing will flow from my questions....but for sure some will!

  4. This is my favorite poem so far! :-)

  5. My mind is always playing with words, and suddenly I noticed that changing one letter in "Orion" can turn it into "onion". Might be fun to explore that!

  6. Interesting that questions are so important both to art and science...

  7. I love this because it is 1) beautiful 2) will help poets of all ages 3) shows how wondering and questions can lead to a terrific poem(s). I truly wonder what you will think of for next year!