Posted by Holly = ) on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at 6:57pm.
I am having trouble making a list poem, I am supposed to do it on one of my favorite things. My favorite things are horses. Can anyone help me plzzz?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
A list poem is a poem in which every line is one item in a list. For instance, students could write a poem in which every line contains a color. There are several ways to do this. A poem might be about Things That Are Red, where every line lists something red. You might encourage them to use not only simple objects ("apples," "Valentine hearts") but also descriptive phrases ("my nose when it's cold," "the last line of sky before dark") or feelings ("my face when I spilled my cocoa and everyone laughed," "the air I breathe out when I'm mad").
You could have a warm-up where you pick a color and the students see how many different things they can list for that color. Then you could have them each pick a favorite color and simply make a list of words that color makes them think of, any words at all. Have them choose five or six of those words and develop each word into a line for the poem.
Color poems steer the students toward specific, sensory language and give you a chance to praise that. And if some students list only objects, a word or two on a line, and others write longer lines, you have the opportunity, when they read their poems aloud, to point out how the rhythm and music of a short-lined poem is fast and punchy compared to the movement of a longer lined poem.
Or a poem could be about the color itself. Try to get the students thinking about the color in new ways. What does red taste like? What kind of music is red? If red was a famous person, who would red be? If you touch red, what does it feel like? What kind of animal would eat red? Who or what loves red the most? What's the first thing red does when it gets up in the morning? What part of the school is red? If red had a wish, what would it wish for?
Write a poem in which every line is a thank you to someone or something. A student might want to thank his father, his dog, his baseball bat, his pencil, the sky, the person who invented ice cream. Be sure the student says exactly what he is thankful for (thanking his pencil for writing down all his math problems or his mother for packing a tuna fish sandwich in his lunch).
Once your students get involved in list poems, you can select any evocative word or phrase for them to include in every line. It might be a word or phrase connected to a subject the class is studying or a word or phrase that has special resonance for your particular class. Sometimes poetry creates a whole new slant on a subject and produces unexpected responses.
Some words and phrases that can work well are: "I remember," "at midnight," "secret," "thunder," "listen," "never," "laugh," "tomorrow."
Or try any of the following:
A poem in which each line describes a day where everything happens backwards
A poem in which each line describes something that's impossible to do
or something scary
or something that tastes terrible
or something that tickles
Here are other sites on list poems.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning in her Sonnets from the Portuguese, How Do I love thee? While not technically a list form, it is pretty close...Each line is not a complete item in the list, but each couplet is. I can imagine doing a horse poem in this form.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
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