What is good poetry?

I asked both classes this question. Silently students had to write a response on a sticky note and post it to a poster paper, grouping similar responses together. Make sure all your poems selected for the  poetry portfolio are GOOD! Below is what students said GOOD poetry is:

  • DEEP
  • Good poetry comes from the SOUL
  • A poem that has hints and you have to dig deep to understand it
  • Good poetry makes you wonder
  • Makes others feel what you feel
  • Makes you change dramatically in one, or numerous, ways
  • Can convey an image or emotion through words
  • Good peotry is something that comes from inside you
  • Allows people to show emotion and deeper thought in a condensed state
  • Fun and explorative
  • From the heart
  • Conveys strong ideas. A way to express strong feelings in just a few words.
  • Good poetry should be like a work of art
  • Has deep/dark hidden meaning
  • Delivers emotion
  • Good poetry makes you think and feel the poem, as if you are in it
  • The simplest words to portray the deepest meanings
  • Good poetry should leave people feeling TOUCHED
  • Uses metaphors
  • Strikes the heart of the reader
  • Is able to paint an image in the reader’s mind
  • A poem that is personal

Wow! I’m moved beyond words. These are your words! Now make sure all of your poems are GOOD!

Assignment Due Dates

Several assignments and assessments are coming up in the next week or so. Put them in your calendar, your agenda, youriCal. Be prepared.

Thursday 4/26

  • Vocab. #21 Homework is DUE
  • Free Verse poem DUE (post to comments on blog)

Friday 4/27:

  • Vocab. Quiz
  • Blog Journal (assessed for Word Choice, Sent. Fluency, Conventions)

Wednesday 5/2

  • Poetry Portfolio DUE (major project grade)

Thursday/Friday 5/3 and 5/4

  • Slam Poetry Presentations (PIPES assessed)

Poetry – How to Write a Free Verse Poem

poetryThere are no rules when writing a free verse.

Q. What’s the rhyme scheme? Whatever you want! Or none at all!

Q. What’s the rhythm?  Whatever you want, but it should have rhythm.

Q. How many syllables in each line? As many as you want!

Q. How many lines should it have? As many as you want (as long as you want at least five)!

None of that matters. It’s all about expressing your thoughts and feelings using strong words and sensory language.

Here is an example. The poet takes an ordinary event and makes you think what she is thinking, feel what she is feeling.

While it sounds easy, be careful. It’s not. You really have to work hard to find that perfect words. Since there are no rules, there are no excuses for not doing it just right.

HOMEWORK – Write a Free Verse poem and post it to COMMENTS – Due Thurs.

Poetry – How to write a Limerick

A LIMERICK is a poem, often very funny, composed of five lines.

Limericks make you smart!

Limericks make you smart!

Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme. Lines 3 and 4 rhyme.

Limericks need to rhyme in the pattern – AABBA

Each line has a specific number of syllables, usually –

88558 or 99669


*Write your own limerick tonight and post it in the comments of this blog post by tomorrow, Tuesday 4/24/11.

Click to learn about  Syllable rules.

Fill in the blanks to create a quick and easy limerick for practice.  See how easy it is?

There once was a peasant named Meg,

Who accidentally broke her  __________.

She slipped on the __________.

Not once but thrice

Take no pity on her, I __________.

Step 1: Rhythm and Rhyme

  • The limerick has a very distinct set of rules it follows for both rhythm and rhyme. With only five lines to work with in the entire poem, such a rule can make for difficult word maneuvering.


  1. Lines 1, 2 and 5 contain 7 to 10 syllables that follow the stress pattern da-DA da-da-DA da-da-DA.
  2. Lines 3 and 4 contain between 5 to 7 syllables each and follow a da-DA da-da-DA stress pattern.

TIP: You can drum out the meter on your desktop if it helps!


  • Rhyme is a fun way to make a poem sound catchy. In the limerick it also offers a sing-song quality to the words. The overall rhyme pattern will be AABBA.
  1. Lines 1, 2 and 5 share an end rhyme.
  2. Lines 3 and 4 share an end rhyme.
  • When you put the rhythm and rhyme together, it’ll look a little something like this:
  • There WAS an old MAN down in PRAGUE (A)
  • whose WIFE ran aWAY with a DOG. (A)
  • He CRIED all night AND day, (B)
  • PAthetic DISplay, (B)
  • while DROWNing himSELF in the GROG. (A)
  • Note that the stressed syllables are bold and in all capitals. You can hear the way it sounds when you read it out loud. The rhyme pattern has been added in parenthesis at the end of each line, and as you read over it you can hear it as well.

Step 2: Who, What, Where, When and Sometimes Why?

  • The neat thing about limericks is that they tell a story about someone. It may not always be a pleasant story, but the over-dramatized misery or extremity of the situation is often part of what makes the limerick funny. In essence, writing a limerick rhyme by rhyme is like setting a joke up for its punchlineThere once was a man down in Prague whose wife ran away with a dog… You know this absurd scenario has to end badly, but it’s so outlandish you can’t help but laugh.
  • Before you begin writing your limerick, you’ll want to take some time to figure out a couple of important factors. You only have five lines in which to tell this story, so let’s break it down line by line.
  1. In the first line you’ll want to introduce your main character and setting. In the example poem we have a man down in Prague. Remember the more zany the setting, the funnier the limerick will be.
  2. Come up with a list of words that rhyme with your end word in line one. Our situation was that his wife ran away with a dog.
  3. You want establish your main character’s situation in line two.
  4. Line three and four are the perfect place to show how the character’s situation went out of control. Our poor man was crying and making a real pathetic display of things.
  5. Line five is the punchline! This is where you resolve the story and bring it to a close. The man couldn’t cope with it, so he fell into a bottle.

Poetry – How to write a Quatrain

A quatrain is a stanza with four lines and a rhyme scheme.

The rhyme scheme can have many variations. While a quatrain is only one verse, a quatrain poem can contain any number of quatrains.

Wikihow has the following great set of steps to help you write your quatrain.king


1. Read examples of quatrains:

Try these sites: West Allis Public LibraryInstructables (scroll down to hippopotamus poem), or  Bedford Schools.

2. Choose a subject for your poem.

3. Choose a rhyme scheme. Common rhyme schemes for a quatrain are: ABAB, ABCD.

An example of ABAB rhyme scheme would be:

A:   Ol’ King Cole rules the the 7th grade hall

B:   The kids hide and tremble in fear

A:   He bellows, shouts and chides them all

B:   When they’re tardy or talking at DEAR

4. Start writing. Use this link for a rhyming dictionary to help if you get stuck on rhymes.

  • The first line is the base of your poem because they don’t have to rhyme with anything yet. Start with this.
  • Brain storm a list of words that rhyme with the last word of the line you’ve written, but try to find ones that can be related to your topic.
  • The first line is always called “A” so check the rhyme scheme you’ve chosen and see where the line that rhymes with A (also called A) fits into your poem.

5. Read your stanza aloud to check it flows naturally. At this point you may need to change the amount of syllables in each line or choose different words in order to have the best possible quatrain.