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Different Poetry Styles (forms)

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I thought I'd start a coversation about poetry styles (forms). I just sent a collection to Wordsong and I need to get started on another a.s.a.p. before I go crazy thinking about the poems I just sent off. What are your favorite poetry styles (forms) when you write for children? I mostly use rhyming couplets and quatrains, and sometimes ballads (which are challenging but fun.)
#1 - April 14, 2008, 06:14 PM
« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 12:32 PM by funnypoetrygirl »
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Wordsong's guidelines say:  "Keep in mind that the strongest collections demonstrate a facility with multiple poetic forms."

Is that what you meant by "styles"?  That's not the word I'd use.  It's possible to have many different "styles" within a single form.  The subject matter, diction, pacing, attitude, rhythm, etc., can vary wildly.

And you mention both "quatrains" and "ballads" -- but ballads are generally written in quatrains, so they are not alternatives to one another.

Anyway, enough shop talk.  Tell us more about what you sent to Wordsong, if you don't mind.  How long is it?  Is it a collection?  A pb?  Does it have a theme?  Did you target a particular editor?  What's it called? 

Personally, I have a zillion poems and I would like to send to Wordsong but I can't figure out how to organize them in terms of collections, pb's, etc.  I'd love to hear how others approach such issues.


#2 - April 17, 2008, 02:59 PM
« Last Edit: April 17, 2008, 03:04 PM by rjschechter »

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I just picked up a gorgeous book from Wordsong called The Monarch's Progress: Poems with Wings ... and you guessed it, it's all about monarch butterflies.  Many different kinds of poems.  All nonfiction.  My latest blog post is about this book.  Check it out.  Better yet, check out the book.  I'm very fond of NF presented poetically.
Vijaya
#3 - April 17, 2008, 08:09 PM
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I had sent a nonfiction collection of poems about different kinds of birds to Wordsong (and received a rejection), but all were consistent in style/form.  Thanks for this info!  I think I'll shake the styles up a bit, revise it and try again.
#4 - April 17, 2008, 08:36 PM
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Thanks, Vijaya. I'm going to check that book out! I've read several Wordsong titles, but hadn't come across that one yet.

rjschechter: Forms! That IS the word I should have used. Hmm. When I write ballads, I have six lines per stanza, not four like the quatrains. Perhaps I am not writing true ballads. Ahhhh. So much to learn. The poems I sent to Wordsong are a collection. Their guidelines say they are interested in all types of poetry collections, so after eight months of writing and revising mine, I figured it was time to mail it off. (Fingers crossed). I did not send it to a particular editor, only to Boyds Mills Press per the instructions for submitting on their website. Yes, it has a theme. All the poems are narrated by the same character and they are all humorous. I wrote these poems with the intent on making them into a collection. For me, it's harder to look at poems I've already written and try to pull them together into some sort of collection randomly. Perhaps others on the board can share their experiences. Oh, there are twenty poems in my collection and I think that's on the low side.

Luna5000: that's what I need to do more of - experiment. That's why I started this thread, to get ideas.

Kelly: sorry to hear about the rejection. I think it is good to have different forms in a collection, however, there are many strong collections of poetry with only one form, haiku, for example. I guess you have to do what works for the collection. Anastasia Suen's book, "Picture Writing" helped me out a lot when I was writing my collection.
#5 - April 17, 2008, 09:16 PM
« Last Edit: April 18, 2008, 08:25 AM by funnypoetrygirl »
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I recently got a copy of Prelutsky's "Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast" from the library and it gave me lots of ideas. Each dinosaur poem is treated very differently. One line was so catchy I still can't get it out of my head: "Diplodocus plodded along long ago and diplodocus plodded along". That line was repeated in several sections.

Also, sometimes I find it's fun to try a short snappy dimeter.

Good luck experimenting and good luck with your submission.   :writing3

-Diana
#6 - April 18, 2008, 05:35 AM
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A lot of the picture poetry books I've seen lately ( for readers about age 4 to 8 ) include many forms: haiku, pantoum, sonnet, limerick, etc.  I think partly because teachers can use these books in the classroom to show kids the various types of poems.

So I'm trying to write more in the different forms...

Just so publishers don't all decide they want only unrhymed lyric poetry after I head in the other direction!   :writing3

#7 - October 12, 2008, 11:55 AM
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 So glad this thread is going again. I've missed hearing from other poets. I agree that it is really hard to pull poems together (and I have a lot) to form a cohesive theme--I haven't been able to do so. I think it is a good idea to start with a theme idea--good luck wth your collection at Wordsong.I think using various forms is essential for a new author. I write both rhymed and unrhymed, but I have to admit that I love rhyme. I think it's fun to be playful. I had a poem in Highlights in June called "How to Shake Hands with an Octopus." It was rhyming but had a concrete image as a surprise at the end. The Horn Book Guide listing all published books for part of the year is a good place to see who is publishing poetry and what they have published. Anyway, I know poets will keep on going no matter what. It takes so little to give us hope--a kind word, a smile. None of us write poetry to make lots of money! We just love to see the world in our own ways.   
#8 - October 13, 2008, 07:51 AM

paws10: Thanks for the tip on The Horn Book Guide!

africakid: You are probably right (about teachers being able to use varied forms for teaching).

Diana: I haven't been able to find "Tyrannosaurus was a Beast" yet, but I'll keep looking, (and studying) to get out of my rut.
#9 - October 18, 2008, 04:23 PM
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Elliah,

I got that book at the library and I'm wondering it it's out of print now? Some of the dinosaur facts in it are now considered outdated and incorrect. Still makes good poetry though...
#10 - October 18, 2008, 04:31 PM
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Hi All,

Sorry to chime in late.  I've also been working on using more diverse forms in a poetry collection.  Paul Janeczko's "A Kick in the Head" has been a great help and inspiration to me so far.  I blogged about it this week for Poetry Friday.

http://thepaperwait.blogspot.com/2008/11/poetry-friday-kick-in-collection.html

Brianna :o)
#11 - November 11, 2008, 07:04 PM
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Brianna, thanks so much for this suggestion - it's just what I was looking for.  I enjoy trying different formats of poetry and this looks like a great resource.  Good luck, and happy rhyming (or not).

Susie :D
#12 - November 13, 2008, 08:19 AM

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I'm a big fan of "A Kick in the Head".

I also love "A Poke in the I" for concrete poems. That's a genre I've been meaning to explore.

thanks for this reminder. Now I feel like trying something new...
#13 - November 13, 2008, 12:18 PM
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Thanks! I just ordered a copy of "A Kick in the Head". That's exactly what I need to seriously start working on my collection.
#14 - November 13, 2008, 12:21 PM

Brianna,

Thank you so much. I just ordered it, can't wait to get it.
#15 - November 14, 2008, 07:25 PM
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a book I find quite useful for different poetry forms is The Poetry Dictionary - can't think of the editor. It's a purple paperback I keep checking out of the library. one of these days, I'll buy it.

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#16 - November 17, 2008, 07:44 PM

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 :yippee  Another fun book of poetry with a whole glossary plus footnotes about different forms of poems is F E G: Ridiculous Poems for Intelligent Children by Robin Hirsch.  He plays with language and forms in a delightfully tricky ways.  Oh, but I spend too much time reading these threads when I could be writing.  It's New Years Eve and my son is taking a nap and all I want to do is read and curl up with my cats.  :newyear

Stacy
#17 - December 31, 2008, 10:57 AM

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Thanks for the recommendations.  I received "A Kick in the Head" for Christmas!  :snoopy
#18 - January 03, 2009, 08:32 AM
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I received "A Kick in the Head" for Christmas!  :snoopy

Wow! Santa's getting really mean. Either that, or you were really bad this year.
#19 - January 03, 2009, 09:03 AM

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Hee! That did sound funnY!  :dr
#20 - January 03, 2009, 03:52 PM
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