Poetry Activities

Reading Poems Aloud

Poems to practice the Tone Map with:

  1. The Arrow and the Song, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  2. Snow-Flakes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  3. The Sacred, Stephen Dunn
  4. Night Journey, Theodore Roethke
  5. Break, Break, Break, Alfred Lord Tennyson
  6. A New Lifestyle, James Tate
  7. An Indian Summer Day on the Prairie, Vachel Lindsay
  8. Allah,  Siegfried August Mahlmann
  9. Driving at Night, Sheila Packa
  10. The Season’s Campaign, Joyce Sidman
  11. One Home, William Stafford
  12. “The Tyger,” William Blake

Writing Poetry to Music

Images to Write By

Writing to Find Ideas:

  • Cubing practice
  • Use the  poetry toolbox to help you get going.
  • Be an observer of your world. Notice things! Put what you see into original images in your writing notebook/journal/document. What does the world reveal to you as an aha!

Writing poetry can help us live our lives more deeply, and to be alive to the world around us and in us. It can help us listen, to the world in new ways, and it can help us make discoveries. It is a good idea to write in your independent writing/ writer’s notebook to develop seed ideas, simply as a way of exploring ideas we might want to write about in a more formal way later. Free-writing is a warm-up practice for the more structured writing. Write without censoring yourself or editing your thoughts. Write to explore what you are longing for.

This poem, “What to Remember When Waking”, by David Whyte is a poem to help you think about how you want to live your life.

Telling the Story of Your Inner Poet, an exercise found in Awakening the Creative Spirit, by Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman, who borrow this exercise from John Fox.

Discover where your inner poet resides–claim your voice! Listen to for the initial impulse that stirs in you and use descriptive language to capture these images. Try it out Telling the story of your inner poet

If you are experiencing writer’s block, consider writing about what your block looks like, feels like. Dialogue with the block. This could even become a poem!

Visualizing a Poem– practicing deep reading:

Exploring Shadow and Light as Metaphor, going for a quiet walk and taking photos to write a poem

Revision Ideas:

Poems about Books:

Poems About Books

Finding the Poetry in Yourself:


Secret Poems

Write the “Please Don’t Read This Poem” poem in invisible ink — lemon juice — on paper. Let it dry and send it to someone in secret with instructions for them to warm it under a lamp.

When You Finish Your Poem

When you share your poem as a handmade gift, you give something memorable of yourself.

  • Variety of poetry projects
  • Make a book–fold a sheet of paper down the center and staple in pages with your poems on them. Make a book in the accordion style. Fold a paper with your poem on it to look like an accordion. Illustrate or use design elements on the pages.
  • Make a poetry card–pop-up cards, photos, artwork can go on the card. Send or give the card to someone
  • Put your artwork or a photo you took on the card. If your poem is long, send it in “installments,”
  • Make a poetry poster with your poem.