Revisited Selections

I am going to choose a few previously posted poems this time – chosen especially for my friend Ali Kretschmer and her seventh grade students at LaGrande Middle School.  They are studying poetry and I'm excited about participating in that endeavor with them, even if it's from a distance!


In this section, I would like to draw Mrs. Kretschmer's students' attention to some tips that they might like to employ when writing their own poems.  (Please see the Other Poems page for some advice about analyzing poetry).


1. Express a thought and/or feeling (or even researched information) in a way that is interesting to you.


Urban Raccoon


RU       not more clever

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 8.45.26 AM.png

            than your country cousins?


RU       not one of the most

            dedicated animal mothers?


RU       not changing your brain

            by solving modern problems

            in the constant quest for food?


RU       sure you're not a primate?



            I wouldn't be surprised

            to hear, someday, that





2. Experiment with alliteration or assonance, but beware of going overboard. You want readers to enjoy the sound of your poem, without being distracted from the message.



IC Who UR Now


ICUR  highly intelligent

            (and looking the part)

            in your distinguished

            black robe, deeply

            croaking out judgments


ICUR  a massive, hefty-billed,



            diamond-tailed version

            of your smaller,

            raspy-voiced relatives.


ICUR  not merely a methodical

            flapper, but given to

            graceful glides and slow

            strokes while soaring,

            plus an occasional

            two-footed hop.


ICUR  highly flexible in your

            living and dining habits;

            nearly anything will do,

            but you do it alone

            (or with just a partner)

            most of the time.


ICUR  a literary figure – famous

            in folklore, poetry, and

            tribal trickster mythology.


            What do you make

            of your reputation?


ICUR  Corvus Corax –

            common raven by

            name and numbers

            only.  You’re really

            not common at all.


            U  R-R-R-ROCK!






3. Rhythm is an important element in most poetry; keep it steady - or vary it for interest.  It can be a very intentional decision – or you can see how it flows from you “accidentally.”


4. Your line breaks and punctuation will do a lot to convey your rhythm.  Use them to help readers make your poem sound the way you intended when read aloud.



Big Blue January Day


My breath is free,

my soul is wide;

I feel a spark

of Spring inside.

Ready for Monday,

come what may,

because of this


January day.



Late Summer Fruits


Sweet peach,

the scent of

your fuzzy self

promises that today

my breakfast chin

will drip

with the pleasure

of your company.



One Tough Month


October dials

daylight down

and issues orders

to compliant trees:

Drop. Your. Leaves.





5. Try a bit of repetition – a word, a line, or a "bookend" ending.


Space (for Kylie)


The mysteries

of space

beckon big minds

to ponder

billions and billions

of things

large and small.

Things that matter

about matter,

things that

make up

us all.



Welcome, Winter


Welcome, Winter,

      to this place,

with your winds and

     flakes of lace.


Did you miss us

     much at all?

Did you kiss your

     sister, Fall?


Welcome, Winter,

     to this place.

Bring your charm and

     crystal grace.




6. Try arranging the words in different ways on the page; consider the LOOK of the poem as well as the sound of it.












p o n d e r o s a  


             p o n d e r o s a


p  o  n  d  e  r  o  s  a        







7.  Invent a word, if you need to – or just because you want to.








                   branchalanche                                         *



             occurs when a                              *


                  boughload of snow


       suddenly  f


                    alls   from a tree,



                  a shower

                  of mist,

                  a cloud

                of icy dust.



8. Consider making interesting word choices; use a noun as an adjective, etc.  Take an experimental approach; try different options to see which you like best. (When drafting any piece of writing, leave a blank and go on –when you’re not sure what word you need).  


Blue Bridge


Tell me, Blue Bridge,

what do you say?

What do you say

on this popsicle day?

Tell me something

that's perfectly true;

tell me for sure that

you'll always be blue.



9. Rhyming can sound good, but it's often difficult to rhyme and say what you want to say; as with all writing, the message is the most important thing.  Try NOT rhyming!


10. Will a title contribute to your message – or is it unnecessary?



Driving Along


I see brushy white trees in ravines,

like vertical brows on the craggy

faces of old mountains, and

snow-capped boulders in the familiar

river below are well-worn teeth.