Friday, January 22, 2016

How to Write a Poem Challenge

Poetry Friday is at Tara's today.  She's looking at snow from a serene point of view and has lots of links to some fine poetry!  Head on over to A Teaching Life and enjoy poems as you sip hot chocolate and watch the snow fall (at least if you are on east coast south of Maine!).

*Special FB Message* from our Bangor Police Department especially for those in the Snowstorm Areas - read if you are getting snow and like to visit Maine in the summer: 

Today is a repost of a two poems from a Wednesday back in November of 2014.  I came across this when I was making a page of links to all the poems I've written since I began blogging... There are more than I thought there would be....

When Tabatha asked me if I had a place to access all the poems I'd written, I thought - Good Idea!  Now I'm thinking I need to edit my list!   I am up to (at the moment this is hitting the presses anyway) 142!  And I've just begun to count down into 2014...I have 2013, 2012, and 2011 to do!  I know there are lots in there that could be culled, but I guess that is for another season.

Maybe I should go back and write just a short phrase to help sort them out into what the poem is actually about or if it is a haiku or acrostic, etc., just to be helpful.  But I'm afraid that would take a long time.  Should have thought of this sooner!

The page of poem names linked to their location is accessed by the tab "Links to My Poems" below the title "Mainely Write".  Not sure how helpful it is yet, but I'm working on it!

But back to today.

I came across this post written for a Wednesday a while back, so I figured it would be like new poems.  It's my own special brand of "found poem"!  I found it while I was organizing my "Poem Hoem".
How to Write

How to Write a Poem

first write down a bunch of things
all the zany little zings
that just wing
into your
your fenced in frame
of mind.
when your fingers stop and linger
on a gritty, grainy zinger
let it sing
out of your
unfettered frame
of mind.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014, all rights reserved

How to Be Six

take away your many years
put aside your grown up fears
look for silly where you are
make a vroom sound for a car
grin and make a funny face
start a rousing game of chase
put an olive on your finger
when its bedtime whine and linger
throw a rock that goes too far
almost hitting someone’s car;
lick your finger, rub your shoe
till it looks as good as new;
put your backpack on your belly,
stick your finger in the jelly;
put on shoes, left on right -
try to tie the laces tight;
put your toys and clothes away,
toss them where the monsters play;
ride a bike, swing on swings,
think of scary, funny things;
ask one question, then another,
when you’re finished, hit your brother;
use a sheet to build a tent
ask just what “inquis'tive” meant;
find a tree to climb real high,
sitting there, become a spy;
watch for strangers and for danger,
then become a forest ranger;
ride your bike so fast you crash,
dig to find a pirate’s stash;
see how deep a puddle is
shake a soda, watch it fizz;
muddy feet and dirty clothes,
clean them off with garden hose;
you’ve become your best at six
another number has some tricks;
time to see how you will handle
another year, another candle;
grab the next list of “How to...”
seven’s here to challenge you.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014, all rights reserved

Want to try one?
Send me your "How to" link and/or your poem and I'll put it up your poem up here for next Friday!  Fun!  This will be my first challenge offering!  I'm excited!
Watch how I cleverly disguise my -e-mail-ad-dress-!
-gma- -il-
Take all the -s out! and change the "at" and "dot" to "what they say"...
(this is so my "good" account is not public, in case of botification publication and I start getting offers for toenail enhancements in the account I want to keep serious).  If that was too much like Pig Latin to you and you need me to translate, send me an email. (heh-heh, that's funny...) Or just put your link in the comments when you have it. (not funny)

Some ideas for "How to poems"....

How to be a daisy
How to be a floor
how to clean the refrigerator
how to stuff a turkey
how to make coffee
how to climb a hill
how to try on shoes
how to comb your hair
how to brush a cat/dog
how to open/close a door
how to calm fears
how to drive
how to crack an egg
how to watch a deer
how to talk to a cat/dog
how to be fifteen
how to lick an ice cream cone


  1. So clever! Second one, especially! Brought me back to being six. Maybe need some second licks. Doing things I left undone. So many ways to have some fun!...Thanks, too, for the how-to invitation. I'm reading and responding to poems in lieu of doing a writing assignment I "need" to accomplish today. SO, I'm not going to allow myself to begin noodling in response to your least not yet...But you can bet if something comes to mind, in your inbox that you will find. Thanks again! God bless you!

    1. Oh, you are so rhymy today! I'll bet you won't be able to help yourself today. I have a feeling, even with so much to do, you will be ruminating over a poem! Maybe how to NOT write a poem when one is bursting to come out!
      Thanks for your visit! May God find you smiling all day!

  2. Hit your brother, indeed!! Both of these poems are delightful, Donna! I'm so glad you found them!

    1. Yeah, hit your brother just seemed right!

  3. I'm going to read "How To Be Six" with Ingrid later, Donna. Now you've all got me thinking of "how to organize" my poems. One More Thing! Love that you have "found" poems! And love that you won't get this snow.

    1. Aww! I love that you would read this to Ingrid!
      Organizing writing is something I've been avoiding - and now, it is going to be a BIG issue if I ever want to find anything!

  4. Your "How to" poems are a lot of fun! I need to think about writing one...

    1. Maybe there's a poem in "how to squeeze a poem out" or "how to squeeze in extra minutes"! Hope you can find the time...I'm sure you'll find the inspiration!

  5. Am going to write one for you!
    I am excited that you (and others) are getting your poems organized!!

    1. It has been so interesting to start going back over all the years of posts and discover, or rediscover, things. I came across one of Margaret Simon's lessons that I had written to before and said I wanted to try again. I tried another last night, and - well, I am posting it for tomorrow. It went somewhere I had no idea it would go.
      I'm so glad you thought to ask how we organized our poems!!!
      Looking forward to seeing your poem!

    2. Love your fun poems today. I might have to try one of those "how to" ideas.

      I started organizing my poems a while ago and so glad I did. I have two lists - one chronological and the other alphabetical (so that each poem appears twice, once at the bottom of the list with the date I posted it, and again on the alphabetical list by title (and the date I posted it too). The alphabetical list is the most helpful.

    3. Thanks, Violet. I may change the beginning of the Six one, so it doesn't start with an adult to adult voice, as it seems to end with an adult to child voice... not sure yet.
      I am doing an online chronological listing, but slowly organizing by topic. I think topic will be most helpful for me in locating a specific poem. I'm not always sure what I named them, so I don't know if alphabetical would work for me! But you know, this is really spreadsheet material, isn't it? That would solve the sorting/resorting issues! Fortunately almost all of my poems are online as well as on my computer, so I simply link to those.

  6. Your poems are quite fun and I am sure younger children, like Linda's little Ingrid, will love them. About organizing poems: I have been thinking about that but the job seems so ominous. Any tips on how to begin?

    1. I am simply going through my blog posts right now. I started on the wrong end, of course. Doing the most recent and numbering them is not too bright, as a new one will be coming shortly and then you can't do a 0 or -1, -2 sequence! So I am now stopping that list and starting at the beginning of the blog and counting upward to the present day. It will work out, as the two lists will soon join in the middle somewhere and I will renumber. Each poem is linked to its location on the blog, or other site where it is published. This is only a chronological listing of online poems. Now I want to organize by topic (See reply to Violet above). But I'm still leaving out a few poems that aren't online. I think a spreadsheet so organizing can be easily changed. As for the "not online", I still have them in folders on my computer in an "unpublished poetry" folder! I am going to try tagging them so they are easy to come up with in searches on my computer for myself. Then SOMEDAY... I'd like the poems in books, so all I have to say is, "Oh, that poem? It's in my 'Summer Select' book!" Oh, I am so going to use "summer select" for something now!

  7. I love both of these poems, Donna - but had to snort-laugh out loud at a number of those 'Six' things. Good fun!

    1. I LOVE that you had to "snort-laugh out loud"!! That's my favorite stuff to read is when I have to laugh out loud - and snorting is a bonus!


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