Friday, January 19, 2024

Coaxing Poems 3: Make & Break a Pattern

Hello, Poetry Friends, and welcome to the third of ten little poetry visits starting off the New Year at The Poem Farm. In each of these short videos, I will share a small something about poetry, and you will always be able to find the poem(s) I read below the video. You can find the earlier videos linked below and you may wish to watch those first:

And's visit. Visit 3!

Students - Just as animals often wear patterns on their fur, feathers, and fins, poems often wear patterns in the way their lines are organized. As readers and writers, we can notice and admire the patterns of others' poems and try these out for ourselves. Below you can look at the lines of the three free verse poems that I read in the video above.

In Year After Year, the first six lines go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. You can see that the south lines are represented by white Legos and the north lines represented by blue Legos. The last line of the poem breaks the pattern, and this change is represented by a red Lego.

In Two Kitties, the first four lines tell about Winnie and are represented by green Legos. The second four lines tell about Claude and are represented by gray Legos. The ending, revealing a way that Winnie and Claude are alike, twists and breaks the pattern and is thus represented by a red Lego. (Yes indeed, I could have used two Legos to represent these two lines!)

In Why I Don't to Finish My Book, each of the first seven lines of the poem list something that the writer WON'T do once they finish reading their current book. These lines are each represented by one yellow Lego. The last line tells something the speaker WILL likely do when they are finished with the book - feel lonely. This change, twist, break in the pattern is once again represented by a red Lego.

While I chose to use a red Lego in each of these examples to show how the endings break the pattern set up in these poems, I could have chosen a different color to show this break. If you choose to draw or form models of the patterns you notice in poems you read or in poems you write, of course you should choose any colors you wish. 

If you are looking for an interesting exercise to try, find a patterned poem in a book and play with drawing colorful Legos to show how the pattern works. You might do this with a friend. Then, you might try to write your own poem that follows the same pattern. The more we read and discover...the more writing ideas we have for ourselves. Reading is an endless river of clear and brilliant gifts. We simply need to dip our hands into the water.

Thank you to our son Henry, for sharing his Legos with me for this visit.

Educator Friends: I would love to hear if you are writing along with me during this series. Please comment below, email me at the contact button above, or tag me on social media if you wish to share.

Robyn is hosting this week's Poetry Friday over at Life on the Deckle Edge with a joyful and poetic tea party. Each Friday, all are invited to share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship in this open and welcoming poetry community.

All joy to you in reading and writing and living...



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  1. There is such simplicity in this---make and then break a pattern. I think my middle school students will like this idea.

  2. I hope you've connected with, at least, your local school system, Amy. These are so good and would be very helpful to writers (and teachers)!

  3. Thank you, Amy! The visuals with the Legos are very helpful, especially for young students.

  4. I love learning from you! Today I revised a poem to include more repetition and I also hid a couple of secrets inside it.

  5. Amy, such a fun and educational video. Thank you for sharing. Even as an adult, I appreciate the visual of the Legos and the patterns and then the breaking of the pattern.

  6. Genius and elegant all at once, Amy. Perfect.

  7. These are so wonderful! I will plan to use them this week. I'm committed to daily poeming with my kids in 2024.

  8. What Patricia said. This series is a glorious resource you're sharing! And magical, too. :0)