Starting Poetry

Be An Inventor: Invent A New Poetry Form

Poetry has evolved over the years, and it continues to grow and increase in popularity an appreciation. National Poetry Month brings a lot of attention to this sometimes forgotten genre. There are still some people who shy away from this writing form because it’s misunderstood. The fun of poetry is that there are endless ways to create a poem. Having students create a new poetry form could be the culminating project of a unit on studying poetry. For those who have a strong knowledge base of poetry, they might be able to create this form with little assistance. For others, they might need more direction.

How to Create a New Form

One suggestion is to have students choose ideas from other forms to implement on their own. For example, they might make it 14 lines, like a sonnet. Or they structure it like a haiku, only with a different number of syllables for each line. To create your own form, answer the following questions. They will help you create your own form as you decide what rules of poetry it should follow.
  • How many lines?
  • Are the lines arranged into specific stanzas?
  • If so, how many lines per stanza?
  • Do the lines rhyme? If so, what rhyme scheme do they follow?
  • Do the lines follow a specific syllable count?
  • Are there repeated words, phrases, or lines?
  • How does the poem look visually?
  • Is the poem about a specific subject? For example, the haiku was originally meant to be about nature.

Proving a Structure for Students

Maybe the freedom of creating a unique form is overwhelming because there are too many options. For those who do not have a strong base in poetry yet, it might be better to have options provided. If you are a teacher, provide your students with a specific structure or limitations when it comes to writing a poem. Choose the components you want them to use (stanza, lines, rhyming scheme, syllables, repetition, etc.), and give them the number of options that will be manageable for the grade or ability level of the students. For example, provide your students with a poetry assignment that looks something like this. Create a poem by choosing from the following options.
  • Stanzas: 2, 3, or 4
  • Lines per stanza: 2, 3, or 4
  • Rhyming scheme (choose from the one that reflect the number of lines you picked):
    • 2 lines: AA, AB
    • 3 lines: ABA, ABC, ABB
    • 4 lines: AABB, ABCB, ABAB
The possibilities are endless, and if you are a teacher, use this in a way that fits in with what you want the students to glean from your unit on poetry. If you are choosing to write a new form of poetry for yourself, give yourself as much or as little freedom as desired. The more familiar a person becomes with poetry, the easier it will be to freely come up with an original poetry form. Remember to have fun with it. Poetry is a great way to express yourself.



Article applicable to: Adults, Teens, Teachers teaching Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

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