Category: News

Forced Rhymes and How to Avoid Them

What is a “Forced Rhyme?”

Have you ever written a poem, only to be told that the rhymes sound “forced,” but didn’t know exactly what that meant? It can be confusing, because a “forced rhyme” may be any one of a number of different things. All of them, however, can make a poem less enjoyable to read. So, to improve your poetry as much as possible, you’ll want to learn how to avoid each of the various types of forced rhymes.

Rearranging a phrase to put the rhyme at the end of the line

Probably the most common type of forced rhyme is where the poet says something in an unnatural way in order to make the line rhyme. For example, take a look at this couplet:

Whenever we go out and walk,
with you I like to talk.

Now, in normal, everyday English, you would never say “with you I like to talk.” Instead, you would say “I like to talk with you.” And yet, some poets will write this unnatural way in order to force the lines to rhyme with one another; hence the term “forced” rhyme.

How to Host an Open Mic Poetry Party

Having an open mic poetry party is a great way for kids to showcase their talent while encouraging them to keep writing.  Whether the children are budding poets, stand-up comedians, or just need some practice with public speaking, in a few simple steps you can provide everyone with a fun way to enjoy live poetry!

Step One: Decide on a Venue

Think about the type of party you’d like to host.  Will it be a small gathering of friends, perhaps for a birthday or special occasion?  Is it for your class, scout troop, or youth group?  The size of the group, as well as the purpose of the party, will help you determine your venue.

There are many different places that would be great for an open mic night/party.  Libraries have meeting rooms or sometimes stages that can be reserved for free or very low cost.  Book stores and coffee shops often host open mic nights and poetry readings.  Rooms in schools and churches can also provide a nice space.  Even just your own living room can work well for small groups.

Once you decide on a space, you’ll have to call ahead and book it, as sometimes locations require reservations weeks or even months in advance.

How to Make a “Found Poem”

Visual artists sometimes talk about using “found objects” in their artwork. In other words, they collect interesting things during the course of a normal day (such as bus tickets, objects from nature, or a toy found on the street) and then find a way to incorporate those objects into their artwork.

Did you know that you can do the same thing with language? A “found poem” is created by collecting interesting text from the world around us and then using those words to make a poem. When you create poetry this way, you are acting like a documentary filmmaker—using scenes from real life to tell an interesting story.

Here are three simple and fun ways to create “found poetry” from the language that is all around you.

Classic Children’s Poetry on

For many years, I’ve wanted to add some of my favorite classic children’s poems to; the poems I read and had read to me as a child. I have always thought it would be a good idea to have an easy way for teachers, parents, and children to explore some of the most popular poems of the English language. Today, I finally accomplished that goal. now has a new Classics section where I have begun posting some of my favorite, and many of the most well-known poems written for children over the past few hundred years. For starters, these include such famous poems as Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” Clement Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” and Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat.” I have posted 15 poems to start, and will continue posting more classic poems weekly, with the hope of eventually having hundreds of classic poems for you to enjoy.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Read and Rate Classic Poems

Even better, I have included the ability for readers to rate each poem (1-5 stars). The more highly-rated poems will appear at the top of the page, while the less popular poems will be farther down the page (or may get booted from the page altogether). This way you can easily see which poems are the most well-loved by readers, and even vote for your own favorites.

Suggest Your Favorite Classic Poems

Is there a classic children’s poem you would like to see added to the site? Send me an email and let me know, so I can be sure to post it.

Seven Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Interest in Writing

Boy WritingIf your child or teen has a burgeoning interest in being a writer, there are many ways to encourage this newfound interest. Here are seven suggestions for supporting the literary urge in young members of your family.

1: Offer your child fun writing tools

Your young poet or novelist will appreciate a field trip together to choose special writing tools. Depending on his or her personality, your child might prefer to write in a lined journal, in a blank art sketchbook, on monogrammed stationery, or even on neon-colored legal pads. He or she might like a set of colored gel pens, a set of fine-tipped Sharpie markers, or a fresh set of sharpened #2 pencils. See How to Start a Poetry Journal for ideas on different kinds of journals your child might prefer.

Some older kids or teens might prefer a digital environment for writing. But there are still ways to provide cool writing tools for a computer or mobile device. For example, you can download a free application at that is similar to Microsoft Word, but with a minimalist interface and relaxing music.

Children of all ages will enjoy seeing their finished poems or stories in print. It’s easy to create a poetry chapbook using a word processing program and your home printer. You can bind the book yourself with a hole punch and ribbon, or take it to a copy shop to be perfect-bound in order to look more like a “real book.”

New Book! The Armpit of Doom: Funny Poems for Kids

The Armpit of Doom: Funny Poems for KidsMy newest poetry collection, The Armpit of Doom: Funny Poems for Kids, is now available! This collection of 70 new poems has been a labor of love for the past couple of years, and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

Click here to download a free sample in PDF format.

Click here to buy The Armpit of Doom from

Book Description

Kids love Kenn Nesbitt’s hilarious poetry! With their rollicking rhythms, playful rhymes, and mischievous twists, kids can’t stop reading these poems.

The Armpit of Doom includes seventy new poems about crazy characters, funny families, peculiar pets, comical creatures, and much, much more, all whimsically illustrated by Rafael Domingos.

eBook Edition

In addition to the paperback, The Armpit of Doom is also available for Kindle, Nook, iOS, Google Play, and Kobo ereader. Click on the icons below for more information.

Buy Now on Amazon.comBuy Now on barnesandnoble.comBuy Now on iTunesBuy Now on Google PlayBuy Now on Kobo



Irrepressible, unpredictable, and raucously popular children’s poet Kenn Nesbitt was spawned in the same cracked petri dish as Jack Prelutsky, to whom he is the natural heir. A title guaranteed to generate “No, wait, read this one!” responses, The Armpit of Doom is more mayhem from one of the masters.
(J. Patrick Lewis, U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, author of Please Bury Me in the Library and many other books for children)

Video: My Hamster Has a Skateboard

A few months ago, I was a guest on Renee LaTulippe’s terrific children’s poetry blog, No Water River. While I was there I recited the poem “My Hamster Has a Skateboard” from my book The Tighty-Whitey Spider: And More Wacky Animal Poems I Totally Made Up. Just in case you missed it, I thought I would post the video of the poem here as well. I hope you enjoy it!

New Book: I’m Growing a Truck in the Garden

I'm Growing a Truck in the GardenI’m pleased to announce that my newest book, I’m Growing a Truck in the Garden is now available for pre-order on Written especially for young readers in the UK, this collection of weird and wonderful poems, with fun and quirky illustrations by Sophie Burrows, follows one boy through his day as he plays with his friends and creates havoc along the way.

Pre-order your copy now and be the first to receive it when it arrives on September 3!

Winning Rhymes

Check out the winning poems from the 2012 TFK Poetry Contest

Santino Panzica, winner of the 2012 TIME for Kids Poetry Contest

From More than 1,000 kids entered this year’s TIME For Kids Poetry Contest. Poet Kenn Nesbitt chose the winners. “I had an amazing time reading the poems,” he says. All the winners will receive a copy of Nesbitt’s book of poetry The Tighty Whitey Spider. Click here to watch a video of the funny poet read one of his own rhymes for TFK.

Ready for a chuckle? Click here to read these silly rhymes from this year’s winners.

Video Interview and Poem

Renee LaTulippeNow that National Poetry Month 2012 is officially underway, there are a lot of great new resource being published on the web. At No Water River, Renee LaTulippe’s will be interviewing a number of poets this month, and posting videos of them reciting their poems. The first interview is with yours truly, and you can also see a video of me reciting my poem “My Hamster Has a Skateboard.”

Be sure to check back regularly at No Water River to see all of the videos  and interviews that Renee has planned for this month.