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Working on poetry presentations

At the end of June, I'll be teaching two sessions at the New Jersey SCBWI Conference in Plainsboro, NJ.

My Saturday session will be Unleashing Your Inner Poet (Even if You Don't Write Poetry). It is appropriate for beginning and intermediate poets and for beginning, intermediate and advanced writers of picture books, fiction, and nonfiction who are interested in ways to enhance their writing through the use of poetic techniques.

The starting idea is that everyone can be a poet. Next, we'll look at what a poem is and discuss basic essentials of poetry, many of which can be incorporated into all forms of writing. These include a discussion of how to create rhythm in your writing, whether it’s poetry or dialogue, and consideration of whether rhyme best fits a particular story. The final basic essential of poetry is an overview of several popular forms commonly used in children’s writing, including rhymed couplets, haiku, nonsense poems, and riddle poems.

The rest of the presentation is about word choice, and will focus on the sound of the words used (including the deliberate choice to use alliteration and/or assonance), use of evocative word choices, use of specific and concrete details, use of dialect and/or slang to punch up writing, simile and metaphor, and when to use (or perhaps more appropriately, when not to use) gerunds. The final step focuses on the importance of not only writing, but also of reading poetry . . . and not just the reading of other people’s poems, but the need to read one’s own poems aloud, and sometimes in public. The presentation includes examples, exercises and handouts.

My Sunday session is entitled Thinking Inside the Box: Working With Poetic Forms. It is designed for poets at all levels, from beginning through advanced, who want to learn to write poetry using various poetic forms, from ancient forms such as the haiku to the “Fib,” a newer poetic form based on the Fibonacci sequence. Following a brief review of the basics of poetry, we will explore many of the different set forms available to allow attendees to expand their ranges as poets. Forms can help poets by providing a rubric that enables them to enter the world of poetry with confidence, and can provide more experienced poets with new inspiration, challenge and means of expression. The composition of form poetry develops skills such as use of rich language and a sense of line that are invaluable even in the composition of free verse. Working in new forms frequently opens up additional untapped poetic depths; the challenge of completing one of the more demanding forms can stimulate additional poetic creativity, whether within a new form or through a new perspective on a form the poet already uses. The presentation will include examples, exercises and handouts.

I am really looking forward to the weekend, and to teaching my two sessions, which are much on my mind this week as I've been creating my handouts and working on my outlines.




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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
slatts
May. 30th, 2014 10:17 pm (UTC)
As I know you're an awesome teacher...
...I would love to be in that class!
kellyrfineman
Jun. 1st, 2014 06:55 pm (UTC)
Re: As I know you're an awesome teacher...
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Kevin!
soulfully
Jun. 1st, 2014 06:43 pm (UTC)
Wow! I wish I lived there so I could attend. I like poetry. I don't know much about it though nor do I write it much. I'd love to though. Have fun with your class!
kellyrfineman
Jun. 1st, 2014 06:56 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! The first one in particular is designed to help people use poetic techniques even if they don't write poetry, but I'm working on one for absolute beginners to see if I can do it at a future conference!
soulfully
Jun. 1st, 2014 07:05 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. Ooh, the one for absolute beginners sounds wonderful! I wish you the best!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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