Friday, February 8, 2019

Family Stories Into Free Verse



Amy and Thor, April 1971
Photo by Debby or George Ludwig

My Sister Heidi (Now a Doctor!) and Val, Circa 1987
Photo by Debby or George Ludwig




Students - Somehow, the other day, I got to thinking about how my family got our second dog Valentine.  It was a funny story, a bittersweet story with the loss of a dog and the gain of a dog in just one day.  The Thor and Valentine story is one that I like to tell over and over again.

My poem does not rhyme, but you may notice a bit of repetition.  We need not rhyme our poems; repeating words and sounds and patterns hold poems together very well.  

Take a moment to read Peyton's poem about how her family got their dog.  As I typed my poem, days after writing it, I realized that I may have been inspired by her words and structure.  I have read Peyton's poem aloud many many times, and so it has sunk into my writing soul.  Notice her use of repetition and also the way she stretches out her line breaks, especially in the second stanza.  I love that.  Thank you, Peyton, for your inspiration!

Peyton's Poem from My Book POEMS ARE TEACHERS


And here they are!

Peyton & Sawyer Then
Photo by Pam Koutrakos

Peyton & Sawyer Now
Photo by Pam Koutrakos

Which family stories do you enjoy telling over and over again?  It just might make for a good poem.  You may wish to write a free verse poem with close attention to repetition and line breaks just as Peyton did, just as I did.  These are both story poems, otherwise known as narrative poems, and we can take our own stories written as prose or jotted as notes or sketches and turn them into poems anytime we wish.

Read poems aloud, over and over again.  They get in your blood that way.

Laura is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Writing the World for Kids. Do not miss her fabulous news about her newest wonderful book, SNOWMAN - COLD = PUDDLE, illustrated by Micha Archer and published by Charlesbridge! Please know that the Poetry Friday community shares poems and poemlove each week, and everyone is invited to visit, comment, and post.  And if you have a blog, we welcome you to link right in with us.

P.S. I am thrilled to be teaching at the Enka Primary School in Istanbul, Turkey all next week.  I look forward to meeting new people, to learning and listening and writing about this experience for years to come...  

xo, Amy

Please share a comment below if you wish.

9 comments:

  1. Enjoy your time in Istanbul. It sounds very exciting, and I know you'll come home with plenty of poem ideas! xo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Family stories offer a rich repository for our writing of poetry. It's a place I have gone to many times for inspiration. So thank you Amy for shining a spotlight on this potentially rich harvest of writing ideas. You have also provided a timely reminder about the use of free verse and the power of a repeated refrain.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A wonderful story and poem and photos. Family + photo = story poem

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dog stories are the best. Have you been following Donna Smith's dog trials. Ginger ate a ball and had to have surgery. I'm sure Donna will have quite a few poems come from that experience. But I am thinking about Lucky. Lucky made it into my WIP verse novel. He was my cocker-poo I got when I was 11. Thanks for the memories.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Istanbul! Wow! Happiest of travels & writing, Amy! I don't remember reading your story of losing Thor, getting Valentine, but family stories told and re-told feel like the ties that keep us all together. Thanks for the Peyton poem & pics, too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Turkey? Wow, Amy! What an adventure. Travel safe and stock up on writing seeds to plant for a lifetime. xx Christie @ https://wonderingandwondering.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love your poem and the story it shares. Wishing you an amazing trip to Istanbul.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Pets expand our heart and then break them. And we go right on, loving others and being mended and broken all over again. Sigh...Hope you have an amazing time in Turkey!

    ReplyDelete
  9. How exciting to be going to Istanbul, all the best with the classes there. Thanks for These family linked poems too!

    ReplyDelete