Exaggeration means claiming something is greater than it really is. For example, if you said “my cat is as big as a house” or “I can run faster than the speed of light,” you would be exaggerating.
Exaggerating is a fun way to write imaginative poetry. When I exaggerate in a poem, I like to pick one characteristic of the thing I am writing about, and exaggerate it as wildly as I can. For example, my poem “The Biggest Burp Ever” is about a burp that is so huge it knocks over buildings, makes rivers run backward, and even widens the Grand Canyon. The crazier your exaggerations, the more exciting the poem is.
Let me give you an example, let’s say you want to write a poem about food. The first thing you need to do is pick a type of food to write about. You might decide to write about something delicious or something disgusting. You might decide to write about a cold food, a sticky food, a spicy food, etc. Let’s pick one and see what we can come up with.
Let’s say we want to write a poem about a spicy food. But let’s exaggerate and make it the world’s spiciest food. What kind of food might that be? How about the world’s hottest hot pepper? What kinds of things would happen if you ate the world’s hottest hot pepper? Would you breathe flames? Would your hair ignite? Would you drink a lot of water? Perhaps an entire lake? What else would happen? Let’s start writing and find out.
I Ate a Spicy Pepper
I ate a spicy pepper
From my brother on a dare.
The pepper caught my head on fire
And burned off all my hair.
My mouth erupted lava
And my tongue began to melt.
My ears were shooting jets of steam.
At least that’s how they felt.
I ricocheted around the room.
I ran across the ceiling.
I dove right in the freezer
To relieve the burning feeling.
I drank a thousand soda pops
And chewed a ton of ice
To try to stop the scorching
Of that spicy pepper’s spice.
At last, the flames extinguished,
I admitted to my brother,
“That pepper was the best one yet.
May I please have another?”
Let’s pick another topic. Let’s say you want to write a poem about a computer. We could make it a slow computer or a fast computer. A large computer or a small computer, and so on. Why don’t we make it not just a fast computer, but the fastest, biggest, smartest computer in the world. How big would it be? How much memory would it have? What sorts of things would it be able to do? Here’s what I came up with.
We have bought a new computer
that’s the fastest ever seen.
It has terabytes of mem’ry
and a forty-eight inch screen.
It has all the latest gizmos
and accessories galore.
It has every last peripheral
they carried at the store.
It has disk drives by the dozen
it has twenty-seven mice,
and it even has a microwave
included in the price.
It can teach you how to mambo.
It can play the violin.
It can calculate the distance
from Botswana to Berlin.
It can speak in seven languages
with scholarly finesse,
then defeat the world’s grandmasters
in a tournament of chess.
It can conjure anti-gravity,
or build a time machine.
Our computer is undoubtedly
the fastest ever seen.
When we went and bought it yesterday
we thought it pretty neat,
but today our new computer
is already obsolete.
So you see, to write your own exaggeration poem, you only need to do three things:
- Pick something to write about.
- Pick a feature or characteristic of the thing that you are writing about.
- Exaggerate that characteristic in every way you can think of, making a list as you go.
- Take your list of ideas and turn them into a poem.
Here are some more tips to help you get started:
- When you write your exaggeration poem, it doesn’t have to rhyme, unless you want I to.
- If you can’t think of a funny ending for your poem, try ending it with the same lines you used at the beginning of the poem.
- If you have trouble thinking of something to write about, read Chapter 3 of How to Write Funny Poetry on this website for some ideas.
Good luck writing your own exaggeration poems!