Author: Kenn Nesbitt

Kenn Nesbitt, former U.S. Children's Poet Laureate, is celebrated for blending humor and heart in his poetry for children. Known for books such as "My Cat Knows Karate" and "Revenge of the Lunch Ladies," he captivates young readers globally.

Sensory Poetry Lesson Plan: Bringing Poems to Life Through the Five Senses

Today, we’re going to explore how focusing on one sense at a time can help create vivid, memorable poems that really come alive for the reader.

Sensory Poetry Lesson Plan

Lesson Objective

Students will learn to write descriptive poems focusing on each of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

Materials Needed

  • Paper and pencils
  • Optional: objects related to different senses (e.g., textured items, scented items, pictures, audio clips, taste-safe food items)

Lesson Plan

Introduction (5 minutes):

Explain that poetry isn’t just about rhyming words – it’s about creating experiences for the reader. One powerful way to do this is by focusing on sensory details.

Sensory Warm-up (10 minutes):

  • Have students close their eyes and focus on what they can hear. Ask them to jot down a few words describing the sounds.
  • Repeat this exercise for smell (what can they smell in the classroom?), touch (what textures can they feel?), and sight (have them open their eyes and describe what they see).
  • For taste, you can either have students imagine their favorite food or, if possible, provide a simple snack for them to taste and describe.

Examples of Sensory Poems (10 minutes):

Share examples of poems that focus strongly on one sense. Here’s a simple example for each:

Sight

“The sun, a golden disc,
Paints the sky in pastel hues,
Clouds like cotton candy
Float in seas of blue.”

 

Sound

“Leaves rustle and whisper,
Wind chimes sing their song,
A dog’s distant barking
Echoes all day long.”

 

Smell

“Fresh bread from the bakery,
Cinnamon and spice,
Coffee brewing slowly,
Oh, doesn’t that smell nice?”

 

Taste

“Tangy lemon zest,
Sweet honey on my tongue,
Spicy pepper flakes,
Flavors have just begun.”

 

Touch

“Soft fur of a kitten,
Rough bark on a tree,
Cool water on my skin,
So many things to feel and see.”

Writing Time (20 minutes)

  • Assign each student a sense (or let them choose).
  • Instruct them to write a short poem (4-8 lines) focusing primarily on their assigned sense.
  • Encourage them to use specific, concrete details rather than general descriptions.

Sharing and Feedback (10 minutes)

Have volunteers read their poems aloud. Ask the class to guess which sense the poem is focusing on (it should be obvious from the descriptive language used).

Extension Activity

For homework or extra class time, challenge students to write a poem that incorporates all five senses.

Tips for Success

  • Encourage students to use similes and metaphors to make their sensory descriptions more vivid.
  • Remind them that while the focus is on one sense, they can still mention others if it enhances the poem.
  • For younger students, you might want to provide a simple template or structure for their poems.

A Personal Note

I’ve found that sensory poems are a great way to help kids connect with the world around them and express their experiences in creative ways. They are also a terrific precursor to introducing the concept of imagery, which can help students improve their poems and stories by evoking the senses in their writing.

Sensory poetry is a fantastic tool for developing descriptive language skills and encouraging keen observation. By focusing on one sense at a time, students can create rich, evocative poems that really resonate with readers. Remember, the goal is to make the reader feel like they’re experiencing the poem, not just reading it.

Happy writing, everyone!

Kenn Nesbitt
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The Power of Rhythm: How Poetic Meter Enhances Memory and Recall

As a children’s poet, I’ve long been fascinated by the magic that happens when we combine words with rhythm. There’s something almost musical about the way a well-crafted poem can stick in our minds, sometimes for years after we first hear it. Today, I’d like to explore with you, the dedicated elementary school teachers, how the rhythmic language in poetry can significantly boost memory and recall in your students.

The Power of Rhythm: How Poetic Meter Enhances Memory and Recall

The Science Behind Poetic Rhythm

You might have noticed how easily your students pick up catchy advertising jingles or remember lyrics to their favorite songs. This isn’t just coincidence – there’s solid science behind it. Our brains are wired to recognize and remember patterns, and the meter (the rhythm) in poetry provides just that: a predictable, pleasing pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.

Research has shown that information presented in a rhythmic format is more easily encoded in our long-term memory. This is because rhythm helps to organize information into chunks, making it easier for our brains to process and store. When we encounter rhythmic language, our brains actually synchronize with the beat, creating a stronger neural imprint of the words.

Types of Poetic Meter and Their Effects

Different types of poetic meter can have varying effects on the mood of a poem, as well as on memory and recall. While the names of these meters might be challenging to remember, the concept of each one should be simple enough.

  1. Iambic Meter: This is the most common meter in English poetry, with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one (da-DUM). It closely mimics natural speech patterns, making it particularly effective for memorization. Shakespeare’s sonnets, for example, are written in iambic pentameter. (Penta means five so, “iambic pentameter” simply means five “iambs” or five “da-DUMs.”) Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, on the other hand, was written in iambic tetrameter (tetra means four, so four iambs per line), resulting in “I do not like green eggs and ham / I do not like them Sam I am.”
  2. Trochaic Meter: The reverse of iambic, with a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one (DUM-da). This creates a strong, marching rhythm that can be very memorable. Think of the opening lines of William Blake’s The Tyger: “Tyger! Tyger! burning bright / In the forests of the night” or Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven: “Once upon a midnight dreary / while I pondered weak and weary.”
  3. Anapestic Meter: Two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one (da-da-DUM). This creates a rolling, galloping rhythm that children often find engaging. Dr. Seuss was a master of anapestic meter, using it in many of his books, including The Cat in the Hat and The Lorax.
  4. Dactylic Meter: A stressed syllable followed by two unstressed ones (DUM-da-da). While less common in English poetry, it can create a rhythmic, waltz-like feel that aids memory. One famous example is Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade.

If you’ like to learn more about these different meters in poetry, I recommend you have a look at my series of simple lessons on Rhythm in Poetry.

Practical Applications in the Classroom

So, how can you harness the power of poetic rhythm to enhance your students’ learning and memory? Here are some ideas:

  1. Start with Nursery Rhymes: For younger students or those just beginning to learn English, nursery rhymes are an excellent starting point. Their strong rhythms and simple vocabulary make them easy to remember. Dr. Seuss’ “Beginner Books,” such as  Hop on Pop, and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish are also a great place to start for preschool students as well as beginning readers.
  2. Use Poetry for Key Concepts: When teaching important information in any subject, try to find or create simple rhymes that encapsulate the main points. For example, “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” is a classic example from history.
  3. Encourage Rhythm in Writing: When students are writing their own poems, encourage them to pay attention to the rhythm. Even if they’re not following a strict meter, the act of considering rhythm can help them internalize the language better.
  4. Clap it Out: Have students clap or tap along with the rhythm of a poem as they recite it. This physical action reinforces the rhythmic pattern and can aid in memorization.
  5. Rap it Out: Once students have learned to clap along with the beats in a poem, have them try rapping poems; reciting poems aloud and emphasizing the stressed syllables.
  6. Create Musical Connections: Many poems can be set to simple tunes. In fact, many of my poems already are. Try turning important information into singable rhymes for even stronger memory encoding.
  7. Use Rhythm for Vocabulary: When introducing new vocabulary, try presenting the words in rhythmic sentences or short poems. The rhythm will help students remember not just the words, but also their context and usage. If you are looking for poems containing specific vocabulary words, try using the Search menu on this website. There are nearly 1000 poems on Poetry4kids, so you are likely to find something suitable.
  8. Play with Tempo: Experiment with reciting poems at different speeds. Sometimes, slowing down can help students internalize the rhythm better, while speeding up can make it more fun and challenging.

Beyond Memory: Other Benefits of Rhythmic Language

While improved memory and recall are significant benefits of rhythmic poetry, they’re not the only ones. Regular exposure to poetic rhythm can also:

  1. Enhance Phonological Awareness: The ability to recognize and manipulate sounds in spoken language, a crucial skill for reading development.
  2. Improve Fluency: As students become more familiar with the rhythms of English, their overall reading fluency often improves. Additionally, they will be absorbing new vocabulary in a way that seems more like play than work.
  3. Boost Confidence: Successfully memorizing and reciting a poem can be a great confidence booster, especially for students who might struggle in other areas.
  4. Develop Public Speaking Skills: Reciting rhythmic poetry helps students become more comfortable with public speaking and develops their sense of timing and pacing. Reciting humorous poetry can also elicit applause, smiles, and other positive feedback from their classmates, making public speaking more fun and less intimidating.
  5. Foster Creativity: Understanding and playing with rhythm can spark creativity in students’ own writing.

A Personal Note

In my years of writing for children, I’ve seen firsthand how rhythm can make poetry stick. I often receive letters from adults who still remember poems they learned in elementary school, sometimes decades ago. This long-term retention is a testament to the power of rhythmic language.

One of my favorite examples is a poem I wrote called “My Dog Does My Homework.” It uses a simple, bouncy rhythm that children seem to pick up almost instantly. Teachers have told me that students often memorize it without even trying, simply because the rhythm makes it fun to repeat.

The Power of Fun

As we’ve explored, the rhythmic language of poetry is far more than just a pleasing aesthetic choice – it’s a powerful tool for enhancing memory and recall. By incorporating more rhythmic poetry into your lessons, you’re not just teaching language or subject matter; you’re providing your students with a mnemonic device that can serve them well beyond their school years.

Remember, poetry doesn’t have to be complex or difficult to be effective. Simple rhymes, clear rhythms, and engaging topics can go a long way in helping information stick. So don’t be afraid to get rhythmic in your classroom – your students’ memories will thank you!

Keep up the fantastic work, teachers. You’re not just educating minds; you’re creating the rhythms that will echo in your students’ memories for years to come. Thank you for all you do!

Kenn Nesbitt
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I Went to the Doctor

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Poetry Theater

A poem in two voices

I Went to the Doctor by Kenn Nesbitt

Summary: A child goes to the doctor with numerous ailments and gets a memorable cure.

Presentation Suggestions: Have the students read or perform the poem in front of the class. Students can act out the different lines while they read them.

Props: A white coat for the doctor, a toy syringe, and perhaps some small stickers or markers to draw “bumps” on the child’s arms or face.

Delivery: The child’s lines should be read with emotion, expressing fear and surprise. The doctor’s lines should be read with great seriousness. For tips on reciting poetry, please read this post about How to Recite a Poem Like an Expert.

Characters:

  • Child
  • Doctor

I Went to the Doctor

Child:

I went to the doctor
all covered in bumps.
He said,

Doctor:

“you’ve got chicken pox,
measles and mumps.”

Child:

He said,

Doctor:

“you’ve got whooping cough,
tetanus, rubella,
digestive dysfunction
from green salmonella.

“You’ve got halitosis
and elephantitis.
You’ve also got athletes foot
and laryngitis.

“You’re covered with head lice,
mosquitoes and fleas.
You’ve even got pink-eye
and mad cow disease.

“What’s more you’ve got cooties,
a cold and the flu,
but don’t be upset;
I know just what to do.”

Child:

He told me,

Doctor:

“I promise
this won’t hurt a bit,”

Child:

then grabbed a syringe
like a barbeque spit.

He made me bend over
the seat of my chair
then plunged that big needle
in my you-know-where.

So now I’m all cured of
my cooties and fleas,
my whooping cough, measles
and mad cow disease.

He cured me of every last
sniffle and bump,
and now I’m all better
except for my rump.

THE END!

Copyright © 2024 by Kenn Nesbitt. Adapted from the poem by Kenn Nesbitt in The Aliens Have Landed at Our School! published by Running Press.

Permission is given for individual classes and schools to perform this play and to make as many copies of the play as are needed for the students’ use. For use of this play outside individual schools and classes, please contact me for permission.

Update to Poems-by-Length Page

Poems by Length

My job, my only job, is creating poems and related activities and lessons for kids. A few of the extras I offer to members of Poetry4kids are the ability to search for poems based on their subjects, their reading levels, what poetic techniques they use, and how long they are.

Until now, the length of each poem was determined by how many lines it had rather than how long it would take to recite. Unfortunately, that meant that long poems with short lines were categorized as long, despite the fact that they had very few words. Similarly, shorter poems with very long lines would be classed as short, despite taking longer to read.

Because I’m also the programmer of Poetry4kids, I decided to correct this. I’ve been thinking about it for about six months until yesterday, when someone wrote to me asking for poems that were between 3-5 minutes in length for a poetry recitation contest. That was the nudge I needed to make it happen.

It took a bit of doing, but I have now updated the Poems by Length page to help find poems based on how many seconds or minutes they take to recite. If you are looking for longer poems for a festival or speech contest, I’ve got you covered. On the other hand, if you are looking for very short poems that are easy to memorize or slightly longer poems, they are all there on the newly updated page.

This is one of the few pages on Poetry4kids that I created just for members of Poetry4kids. If this feature (or the others I mentioned above) might be useful to you, I hope you will consider becoming a member. For as little as $1/month, you can support Poetry4kids and help me continue creating literacy resources for kids around the world. I truly appreciate your support!

Poetically yours,

Kenn

Create Your Own Poetic Puppet Show

Have you ever dreamed of having a pet? Maybe a fluffy puppy, a colorful parrot, or even a sneaky little monkey? Well, guess what? Today, we’re going to bring those dreams to life… sort of! We’re not just talking about any pets; we’re diving into the world of imaginary animal friends through our very own Poetic Puppet Show!

Poetic Puppet Show

What’s a Poetic Puppet Show?

A Poetic Puppet Show is where we mix the magic of poetry with the fun of puppetry. We’ll use poems about different sorts of pets and animals to inspire us to create our own puppet pals. It’s like becoming the director of a mini-theater, where your handmade animal puppets are the stars!

Step 1: Meet Our Animal Friends

First, let’s get inspired! Here are several poems about kids with unusual pets. As you read each of these poems, think about what kind of pet you would most like to have. Or, if you already have a pet or a few different kinds of pets, think about which kind of animal is your favorite.

If you would like to work together with a few classmates as a team, here are some poems with lots of different pets. Each of you could make a different puppet and then perform the show together.

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

To create your puppet show, you’ll need a few craft materials:

  • Socks or paper bags (these will be your puppets)
  • Markers, crayons, or paint
  • Yarn (for hair or whiskers)
  • Googly eyes (if you have them, but you can also draw eyes)
  • Any other craft supplies you can find (feathers, beads, fabric scraps, glue sticks)

Step 3: Make Your Puppet Pals

Poetic Puppet Show

Now, let’s make our puppets! Pick an animal from the poem you chose and start crafting. Does your pet have fur, feathers, or scales? What color are they? Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to make your puppet. It’s all about having fun and being creative!

Step 4: Get Ready for the Show

With your puppets ready, it’s time to get ready for your show. If possible, you should memorize your poem so that you don’t have to read it from a piece of paper and can focus on your performance.

I find that the easiest way to memorize a poem is to print it out, and read it out loud at least 10 times. You will find that each time you read it, you will remember a little more, until you eventually have the whole poem memorized. Most of the poems here on Poetry4kids also have an audio recording that you can listen to, to hear how I recite them. Listening to me read it several times may help you commit the poem to memory.

For more tips on creating a great performance, check out this short article on How to Recite a Poem Like an Expert.

Step 5: Perform Your Puppet Show

Poetic Puppet Show

Finally, gather your family, friends, or classmates and perform your Poetic Puppet Show. As you tell the story by reciting the poem, use your puppets to act it out, maybe even using funny voices for each character!

Bonus Fun: Puppet Show Decor

Poetic Puppet Show

Make your show even more special by creating a simple stage. Use a cardboard box as your theater and decorate it with markers or paint. You can also make simple props like trees, houses, or a pet store sign to set the scene.

Why It’s Super Cool

Creating your Poetic Puppet Show is not just about crafting and performing; it’s about letting your imagination run wild. You get to be an artist, a writer, a director, and an actor all at once. Plus, you’ll learn how much fun it is to bring stories to life with your own two hands (and maybe a sock or two).

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started on our animal adventures and see where our creativity takes us. Who knew poetry could be this much fun?

Kenn Nesbitt
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Leap into Laughter with “A Festival for Frogs”

It’s a momentous week here at Poetry4kids.com, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share some wonderful news with you directly from my desk. Just in time for National Poetry Month, my latest book, A Festival for Frogs, is making its way into the world today in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. I’ve poured my heart, soul, and a good dose of humor into this collection, and I can’t wait for you to read it!

A Festival for Frogs by Kenn Nesbitt

From My Pen to Your Funny Bone

For those of you who’ve been following my “Funny Poems for Kids” book series, beginning with The Armpit of Doom and The Biggest Burp Ever and continuing through to My Dog Likes to Disco and The Elephant Repairman, you know that each book brings even more hilarity.

With seventy  new funny poems and more than fifty playful illustrations from the incredibly talented Rafael Domingos, A Festival for Frogs will keep you laughing from beginning to end. You’ll read about ninja kittens, missing math teachers, dozing dragons, sneezing teddy bears, and many more super silly subjects.

This collection was a joy to create. I managed to crack myself up over and over while writing it, and I hope reading it does the same for you. Imagine baseball-playing puppies, an alien with a sweet tooth, and, of course, frogs hosting their own festival. Each poem is an invitation to giggle, think, and let your imagination leap.

Kind Words from Fellow Poets

I’m humbled and delighted by the encouragement and praise A Festival for Frogs has received from my colleagues:

Sue Hardy-Dawson, author of Where Zebras Go, calls it a “riotous collection, full of joy, witty humour, and clever wordplay.”

The amazing Chris Harris, author of I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and My Head Has a Bellyache, says, “Hilarious from beginning to end! Why are you reading this dumb quote instead of buying the book?! It’s hysterical!!”

David Lubar, author of My Rotten Life: Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie and scads of other funny books, places my work in the company of legends like Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky, and calls it “delightful in every way,” which is incredibly flattering.

And then there’s Colin West, author of The Big Book of Nonsense and many other hilarious poetry collections, whose limerick about me, well, has me chuckling every time I read it:

There once was a poet called Kenn
Who picked up his magical penn,
And wrote funny rhymes
Not just a few times,
But agenn and agenn and agenn.

Not to be outdone, UK National Poetry Day Ambassador Liz Brownlee had this to say:

It’s no rumour there is humour
in the poems in these pages –
they are funny, they are punny
And frogtastic for all ages!

And singer/songwriter and poet Eric Ode, author of Stop that Poem!, calls A Festival for Frogs “a carnival of clever couplets, and a celebration of silly stanzas.”  Says Ode, “Such a perfectly titled collection! Nobody throws a party like Nesbitt!”

Ready, Set, Go!

A Festival for Frogs is available now. Just hop on over to Amazon to pick it up in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle ebook editions. If you have a different ebook reader, such as a Nook or Kobo, I have also made the ebook available in several more DRM-free formats in the shop on my membership site and even thrown in a 40% discount for all Poetry4kids members (though you don’t have to be a member to purchase the ebook there).

If you prefer to purchase books from your local bookseller, it will be available more widely in just a couple of weeks. No matter your preferred format or where you like to shop, I’ve got you covered.

Why This Book?

A Festival for Frogs is my invitation to you to explore the quirkier side of life through poetry. It’s crafted to spark laughter, foster imagination, and maybe even inspire you or your young ones to pen a poem or two. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or a young reader, there’s something in this collection for you.

Join the Festivities

Now that release day is here, I invite you to stay connected with me here on Poetry4Kids.com. Your enthusiasm, support, and love for poetry make all of this possible. A Festival for Frogs is more than a book. It’s a teleportation device that will transport you instantly to the outer reaches of my overactive imagination. And it’s a non-stop tickle machine that will have you giggling from the moment you pick it up. I’m excited for you to read it, and I hope it brings as much joy to you as it has to me.

Here’s to many more laughs and poems,

Kenn

New Book! A Festival for Frogs

I’m thrilled to announce my newest book, A Festival for Frogs—a collection of 70 funny poems that will whisk you away on a whimsical journey filled with laughter, surprises, and the pure joy of words.

A Festival for Frogs by Kenn Nesbitt

Following of my previous hilarious collections, including The Armpit of Doom, My Cat Knows Karate, and The Biggest Burp Ever, this new installment continues the tradition of tickling funny bones and sparking imaginations. A Festival for Frogs is not just a book; it’s an invitation to revel in the playful, the peculiar, and the profoundly funny aspects of our world.

What’s Hopping Inside?

Prepare to meet ninja kittens on stealthy adventures, dozing dragons guarding treasures in their dreams, missing math teachers, purple unicorns, and a myriad of other characters in a festival that’s as riotous as it is heartwarming. Each poem is a doorway to a world where wit meets wisdom, and where every reader—regardless of age—is welcome to join the festivities.

Praises That Make My Heart Leap

The journey of A Festival for Frogs from a spark of inspiration to a book you can hold in your hands has been incredible, made even more special by words of encouragement from fellow authors and poets:

  • Chris Harris challenges, “Why are you reading this dumb quote instead of buying the book?! It’s hysterical!!”
  • David Lubar places it in the “great tradition of poets like Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky.”
  • Sue Hardy-Dawson calls it a “riotous collection, full of joy, witty humour, and clever wordplay.”
  • And Liz Brownlee says it is, “Funny, punny, and frogtastic for all ages.”

With endorsements from such talented voices, I feel incredibly grateful and excited for you to dive into the pages of A Festival for Frogs.

Join the Frogtastic Festivities!

A Festival for Frogs will be available on March 26, 2024 in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle ebook editions, ready to hop into your hearts and homes. The Kindle edition is available for pre-order now. Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to my world of whimsical verse, this collection is for you, your family, and anyone who believes in the magic of laughter and the power of poetry to make reading fun.

So, let’s celebrate this release together. Grab your copy, find your favorite reading nook, and let’s make some ribbiting memories with each turn of the page.

Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm. Your smiles are my inspiration, and your laughter is my reward. Here’s to many more adventures together in the wonderful world of poetry!

How to Write an Alphabet Poem

How to Write an Alphabet Poem by Kenn Nesbitt

Today, we’re embarking on a journey into the world of “alphabet poems.” If you’ve enjoyed creating acrostic poems, where the first letters of each line spell out a word or phrase, you’re going to love alphabet poems!

In alphabet poems, each line starts with a different letter of the alphabet, following the order from A to Z. It’s like weaving a magical tapestry with words, where every letter is a new stroke of your imagination. Imagine combining the fun of acrostics with the thrill of exploring the entire alphabet! So, let’s get our pencils ready and explore every letter in a new and exciting way with alphabet poems!

What is an Alphabet Poem?

An alphabet poem is a playful and creative way to use the ABCs in poetry. Just like in acrostic poems, where the first letters of each line spell out a word, in alphabet poems, each line starts with the letters of the alphabet, in order.

Starting with A and ending with Z, each line of the poem begins with the next letter in the alphabet. This creates a fun challenge: you get to think of a word or idea that starts with each letter. It’s like a puzzle where each piece is a letter that helps to build a beautiful picture with your words.

For example, if you’re writing about nature, your poem might start with A for ‘Autumn leaves,’ then B for ‘Breezes blowing,’ and so on. The challenge is to connect each line in a way that tells a story or paints a picture, making your way from A to Z.

Alphabet poems are not just fun; they’re a great way to learn new words and think about how to fit ideas together in creative ways. Ready to give it a try? Let’s find out more about why writing alphabet poems is not only enjoyable but also a great exercise for your brain!

How to Write Your Own Alphabet Poem

Writing an alphabet poem is like going on a treasure hunt with letters! Here’s how you can create your very own:

1. Choose a Theme: Start by picking a theme you love – it could be animals, your family, outer space, or even your favorite hobby. This theme will guide your poem from A to Z.

2. Start with A and Continue Through Z: Begin your poem with a word or idea that starts with A. For example, ‘A is for Apples, red and bright.’ Then move on to B, like ‘B is for Berries, sweet and light,’ and keep going through the alphabet.

3. Be Creative with Challenging Letters: Letters like Q, X, and Z can be tricky, but they’re also a chance to be extra creative! For Q, you could write ‘Quiet nights with twinkling stars.’ For X, think outside the box – ‘Xylophone tunes ringing clear’ or use words that start with an X sound, like ‘eXtraordinary day.’ And for ‘Z,’ try something like ‘Zebras racing in my dreams.’

4. Connect Your Lines: Try to make each line connect to the next in some way, either through rhyme, rhythm, or a continuing story or theme. This will make your poem flow nicely.

5. Have Fun and Experiment: The most important part is to have fun and play around with words and ideas. Alphabet poems are a great way to experiment with language and see where your imagination takes you.

Here’s an example of how the beginning of an alphabet poem with an animal theme might look:

A is for Ants, marching so small,
B is for Butterflies, fluttering tall,
C is for Cats, stretching their claws,
D is for Dogs, pointing their paws,

Or you might simply use words that start with each letter. Here’s the beginning of an alphabet poem with a nature theme:

Arctic snows are white and cold.
Beaches’ sands are warm and gold.
Caves are chambers underground.
Deserts have cactus all around.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to write an alphabet poem. They don’t even have to rhyme! It’s all about exploring words and having fun with the letters of the alphabet.

Time to Write!

Now that you’ve explored the exciting world of alphabet poems, it’s time to put pencil to paper and create your own. Remember, each letter in the alphabet is like a key, unlocking your imagination and creativity. As you write your alphabet poems, you’re not only having fun with words, but you’re also learning and growing as a writer.

Don’t worry if some letters seem hard at first. Every poet faces challenges, and it’s all part of the adventure. The most important thing is to enjoy the process and see where your creativity takes you.

So, keep playing with words, experimenting with ideas, and most of all, keep enjoying the wonderful journey of poetry. We can’t wait to see the amazing alphabet poems you create. Each one will be as unique and special as you are!

Happy writing, and may your alphabet adventures be filled with fun and discovery!

Kenn Nesbitt
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How to Write Nonsense Verse

How to Write Nonsense Verse by Kenn Nesbitt

Today, we’re going to dive into a super fun and silly type of poetry called “nonsense verse.” Have you ever heard a poem that made you giggle with its silly words and funny sounds? That’s what nonsense verse is all about!

Poets like Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll were masters of this playful poetry. They created poems that twist and turn language in the most delightful ways. Nonsense verse is like a playful dance of words, where anything is possible and everything is amusing. So, let’s jump into this wacky world and discover how to create our own nonsense verse!

What is Nonsense Verse?

Nonsense verse is a type of poetry that’s all about having fun with words and sounds. It doesn’t have to make sense in the way that other poems or stories do. In fact, the more playful and silly it is, the better!

In nonsense verse, poets use made-up words, silly phrases, and funny rhymes to create a world where the imagination can run wild. These poems often sound musical and have a rhythm that makes them fun to say out loud. They can include fantastical creatures, absurd situations, and lots of humor.

Nonsense verse has been brought to life by some incredibly imaginative poets. Here are a few snippets to tickle your funny bone:

Edward Lear, known for his quirky limericks, wrote poems like this:

On the top of the Crumpetty Tree
The Quangle Wangle sat,
But his face you could not see,
On account of his Beaver Hat.
For his Hat was a hundred and two feet wide,
With ribbons and bibbons on every side
And bells, and buttons, and loops, and lace,
So that nobody ever could see the face
Of the Quangle Wangle Quee.

It’s silly, it’s whimsical, and it makes you wonder about such a crazy creature!

Lewis Carroll gave us the famous “Jabberwocky” and many other nonsense poems in his book Through the Looking-Glass. Here’s a part of it:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Notice how these lines are filled with made-up words that sound fun and create a fantastical image in your mind? Nonsense verse allows poets to play with language in the most creative ways. It’s like opening a door to a world where anything can happen, and usually does!

How to Write Your Own Nonsense Verse

Now it’s your turn to write some silly, whimsical nonsense verse! Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Invent Fun Words: Don’t worry if the words don’t exist; make them up! Think of sounds you like and play around with them. How about ‘flibberflabber’, ‘whizzlewomp’, or ‘gloopityglop’? Then just string them together in a poem, like this:

The flibberflabber from Whizzlewomp
was glooppityglopping along.
He dumbledrummed on his bizzlebomp
while singitysanging a song.

If you need help making up new nonsense words, I’ve got a whole lesson right here on how, when, and why to make up words!

2. Create Silly Characters or Situations: Maybe there’s a cat who loves to tap dance, or a moon that likes to eat cheese. The crazier, the better!

3. Use Rhyme and Rhythm: Try to make your lines rhyme in a funny way, and give your poem a bouncy rhythm. It makes your nonsense verse even more enjoyable to read aloud.

4. Let Your Imagination Run Wild: There are no rules. If you want a purple sky or a talking shoe, go for it! Nonsense verse is all about breaking the boundaries of the ordinary.

5. Have Fun with It: Remember, the goal is to have fun and be creative. Don’t worry about making sense. The more nonsensical, the better! That’s why it’s called nonsense verse.

Here’s a little example to inspire you:

In the town of Giggleswick,
Lived a jolly bumbleflick,
With ears of seven different hues,
And eighteen pairs of talking shoes.

Hop to It!

Now, grab your pen and let those wacky, wonderful ideas flow. Who knows what fantastic nonsense verse you’ll create! Remember, the most important part of this creative journey is to let your imagination soar and to have loads of fun.

Whether your poem is about a flying pancake or a whispering tree, every line you write is a celebration of your creativity. Nonsense verse isn’t just about writing; it’s about enjoying the wild and wonderful side of language and life.

So, keep inventing those zany words and wacky worlds. Share your poems with friends and family, and see how your laughter and joy spread. Every nonsense verse you write is a masterpiece of imagination, and the world is eager to hear your unique and silly voice.

Here’s to your fantastic adventures in the land of nonsense verse! Happy writing!

Kenn Nesbitt
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How to Write a Kenning Poem

What is a Kenning?

wave traveler

Imagine you are a secret agent, and instead of saying the name of something directly, you say it in a secret code; you describe it in a clever new way. That’s what a “kenning” does! A kenning is like a little riddle made of two words that describe something without using its name. For example, instead of “ocean,” you might say “whale-road.” Instead of “boat” you might say “wave-traveler.”  Sounds fun, right?

Origins of Kenning Poems

Viking

Kenning poems come from long ago, used by the Vikings and people in Northern Europe. Yes, even Vikings wrote poetry! These poems didn’t just tell a story; they made it exciting with these special word puzzles.

Creating Kennings

To create your own kennings, think about the attributes (qualities or features) and actions (things it does) of your chosen subject. Look for clues to describe your subject in a fun way.

  • Attributes: These are things that describe what your subject is like. If your subject is a tree, its attributes include branches, leaves, a trunk, it’s height, etc. So, you could create kennings like “branch-tower” or “leaf-waver.”
  • Actions: These are things that your subject does. If your subject is a dog, it might “bark,” “run,” or “wag its tail.” From these actions, you could think of kennings like “bark-maker” or “tail-wagger.”

By focusing on both what your subject is like and what it does, you can come up with a whole world of creative kennings. This makes your poem not just a bunch of words, but a lively picture painted with your imagination!

How to Write Your Kenning Poem

1. Choose a Topic: Pick something you like or find interesting. It could be an animal (a cat, a fish, a dinosaur, etc.) a place (your school, the beach, the moon, and so on), or even a person (an artist, a football player, a character from a book or movie, you get the idea).

2. Brainstorm Kennings: Think of descriptive and fun ways to talk about your topic without saying its name. If your topic is a “book,” you might think of “story-haven” or “page-palace.”

3. Put Your Kennings Together: Start putting these kennings into short lines to form a poem. Remember, there’s no need for it to rhyme, and your poem can have as many or as few kennings as you like!

4. Be Creative: The best part about kenning poems is how creative you can be. Mix and match words and see what interesting kennings you can come up with!

Example Kenning Poem

If I choose a cat as my topic, my kenning poem might look like this:

Whisker-painter
Purr-machine
Mouse-chaser
Night-explorer

Or, if I were writing about the ocean, I might create something like this:

Horizon-hugger
Fish-playground
Ship-road
Wave-shaper
Moon-mirror
Tide-cradle

This poem uses kennings to describe various aspects of the ocean, from its interaction with the moon and tides to its role as a habitat for marine life and a path for ships. It paints a picture of the ocean’s vast and dynamic nature.

Give it a Title

Once you are done writing your kenning poem, give it a title. If you want people to know ahead of time what your poem is about, try using the subject as the title. For example, you might simply call your poem “Cat” or “Ocean.”

On the other hand, if you want your poem to be more of a puzzle for readers to figure out, give it a title such as “What Am I?” or “Who Am I?” Then the kennings in your poem are clues to the mystery in the title’s question. Here’s an example. It’s up to you to figure out what this kenning poem is about.

What Am I?

Tentacle-twister
Ink-squirter
Reef-dancer
Camouflage-master
Shape-shifter
Ocean-wonder

Your Turn!

Now it’s your turn to become a kenning poet. Pick a topic, brainstorm your kennings, and put them into a poem. Have fun, and remember, there’s no wrong way to create your kenning poem! It’s all about using your imagination and having fun with words. Happy writing!

Kenn Nesbitt
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