Making a Poem Stronger

December 13th, 2012 by Admin

1. Because editing a poem can feel threatening to students, former WritersCorps teacher Chad Sweeney suggests starting with an editing activity that everyone does together. Instead of choosing a student’s poem, Chad brings in a drab piece of writing that he has written for the occasion. The group works together to find more interesting words and line breaks.

2. Share “The Rain Genie”– an intentionally weak piece by Herman Waxflatter, Chad’s alter ego — and ask students to write a second draft of the poem by giving it more interesting words (word switch) and by choosing where to break the line (line breaks). Feel free to write your own flat piece to use as an example.

The Rain Genie, by Herman Waxflatter
People go down the sidewalk. Birds fly over. Cars go on the street. Rain falls on the street. Wind blows people’s hair. So people go under a roof. I see an old man talking to a kid. He says, “I’m cold, please help me.” The kid says, “What can I do?” So the man says, just smile, that’s enough.” Rain falls harder, and wind blows. The kid smiles as big as he can. The old man is a genie in disguise, so he becomes a wind and blows away. The kid has magical good luck all this life.

Adapted from the WritersCorps publication “Jump Write In!”

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