Kiana Davis – It's the Write Time – Concrete Poetry
Hi everyone, my name is Kiana Davis! Welcome to our-, my poetry series called: It’s the Write Time Once again, my name is Kiana Davis Welcome! I am a poet! I write about: class, identity, gender norms, poet-, poverty, and social justice issues I’m currently working on a poetry project called Unyielding Roots The project is on hair esteem and self-love I believe that poetry is a bridge that can bring people together, different voices together, and it’s a great tool to do that Let’s get started today! Once again, my poetry series is called: It’s the Write Time Get it? “Write” time? (laughs) Yep. I crack myself up In my workshop series, I’m hoping you’ll learn about poetic devices We’ll look at just a few and a few of poetic forms and you’re going to learn how to write a concrete poem today! So what is poetry? Poetry has very, many varying, um, definitions, but here’s some things I found: Poetry is putting together words in an interesting way to express feeling, create a mental picture, tell a story, or make a sound Poetry can entertain the ears and the eyes So, many people write poetry about love, they write poetry about life experiences, they write poetry when they’re happy, they write poetry when they’re sad I don’t really think there’s a right or wrong way to write poetry? Um, so, I’m hoping we’re gonna have fun today Poetic devices: Poets and other writers often use figurative language to make their writing more interesting and expressive We’re not going to look at all the poetic devices, we’re just going to look at a few One, that we’re going to look at- is one of my favorites- is called: Personification Now, if we were together- today in this workshop- I would ask the audience- – on “3”, to say “personification”, because I just love how it sounds So! I’m gonna count to “3”, and- I’m hoping wherever you are- you’ll be able to say it as loud as you can, or make sure you don’t scare anyone around you Ready? 1 2 and 3! Oh, I think I heard someone! Thank you! Personification Here’s the definition: “A writer using personification gives human qualities to something non-human” So like a pen: “The pen spoke to me” Um “Personification is an effective way to add interest to your writing and can truly bring your descriptions to life.” T. S. Eliot is a famous writer and he wrote: “April is the cruelest month.” Think about that April is a month in the year and he gave it some human characteristics He said it “is the cruelest month.” Hmm Pretty interesting I like it So that’s how you can use personification in your writing Let’s look at some everyday uses So, if you’re thinking: “Personification – that seems really weird, I don’t know if I can do that in my writing?” You might be doing it every day! Let’s look at some examples: Lightning “danced” across the sky The wind “howled” in the night Rita heard the last piece of pie “calling” her name My alarm clock “yells” at me to get out of bed every morning My house is a friend who “protects” me The moon “played hide and seek” with the clouds Hmmm So those are some examples of everyday personifications Ummm I really like the one Rita “Rita heard the last piece of pie calling her name.” This has happened to me a lot of times Right? So, we know it’s not real, it’s figurative Right? It’s imaginary language- – and it’s saying that the pie has the ability to call out a name, but we know it doesn’t So that’s just an example of how you can personify, um, non-living objects in your writing Here’s another poetic device that’s very popular, it’s called a “simile” “A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two different things.” A simile use-, usually, uh, is in a phrase that begins with words “like” or, or “as” or “like” So, it usually has one of those in there Let’s look at F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, um, example: “The late afternoon sky bloomed in a-,
in the window for a moment like- – the blue honey of the Mediterranean.” Now, another great thing that poetry does is it creates imagery You can often see an image after you read a poem Like the poet, it helps evoke some type of image So, this is, I think, a beautiful image I’m going to read it again- – and then, while I read it,- – see if you can see where the simile is “The late afternoon sky bloomed in the window for a moment- – like the blue honey of the Mediterranean.” Did you catch the phrase with the simile in there? You got it! “Like the blue honey of the Mediterranean.” He added the “like” comparing “the late afternoon sky” to “the blue honey of the Mediterranean.” Let’s check out some everyday examples of similes: “As happy as a clam.” “As light as a feather.” “As blind as a bat.” “As bold as brass.” “As bright as a diamond.” “As cold as ice.” “As hard as nails.” So, these are examples of everyday uses of similes You may have used some of these Why don’t you look at the list and see if there are any that you like? Or that you’ve used personally? Or maybe you’ve heard? I like and I’ve heard “as light as a feather.” I used to say that And “as cold as ice.” Those are my two favorites Which one do you like? Mmm, awesome! Let’s go to the next slide: “Metaphors”! “Metaphors” is another poetic device It’s also pretty popular Similar to a simile except you don’t use “like” or “as” “The definition of a metaphor is a word or phrase used to compare two unlike objects ideas, thoughts, or feelings So let’s look at the example Now this is from Big Boi from Outkast: “I’m cooler than a polar bear’s toenails.” Wow! Big Boi wrote that He’s a rapper I think it’s pretty funny as well So he’s “cooler than a polar bear’s toenails.” He’s comparing his personality to a polar bear’s toenails Very funny! Let’s look at some everyday examples of metaphors: “The snow is a white blanket.” “He is a shining star.” “Her hair-” “Her long hair was a flowing golden river.” “Tom’s eyes- – were as ice- – as he stared at her,- “-were ice as he stared at her.” “The children were flowers grown in concrete gardens.” “The children were flowers grown in concrete gardens.” That’s beautiful, I had to read that again “Kisses are the flowers of affection.” “The falling snowflakes are dancers.” “The calm lake was a mirror.” Wow, those are really nice! So! Take a look at the list and see if you have a favorite I like “the children were flowers grown in concrete gardens.” All right, let’s go to types of poems Now, just as there are different poetic devices, there are also different types of poems Here’s some diff-, here’s a list of different poetic devices that poets use: Blank verse, Rhymed, Free Verse, Concrete, Acrostic,- – Prose, Tanka,- – and Ode We’re going to look at a few “List Poem”:- – A “list poem” is a poem, um, that gets it’s name from the fact that most of the poems is made up of a list So, the poetic forms are just ways you can write poetry So, a list poem is one, um, that it’s pretty easy to do just make a list The list can be a list of, um, poems that often involve repetition, inventory of items, people, places, or ideas List poems can also rhyme or they don’t have to rhyme So, if you have a list poem you can just have repetition It could be like an inventory, once again, in people, places, or ideas They can rhyme; they don’t have to rhyme Let’s look at the example So here’s a poem I wrote: “Smiling girl Long wavy, thick hair Dreaming Eyes Standing against stone Smiling girl I wonder if she’s happy I wonder if her smile is real I wonder if she is free to love who she is? Smiling girl.” So!
Take a look at the poem Is there a section or line that you like? Or maybe a section you don’t like? So, if you notice, in this poem, it’s just a list of things that I saw in the picture If you’d like to write one, you can You can pause the video and you can look at her image and write a poem I usually ask students to pause the videos and write three minutes, maybe three minutes or less,- – on what you see, or what you think is going on with the young girl in the picture? So, go ahead and pause the video, if you like, and write your own list poem Another poetic, um, form of writing is called “Free Verse” I really like Free Verse poetry, because it has- you don’t have to rhyme, but if you want to rhyme, you can have a rhyme scheme You don’t have to follow rules, you can just basically write however you want to write So that’s why I like Free Verse Some poems like Haikus you have to have three lines, five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line Free Verse poetry you can have as many lines as you want You can have one line, you can have two, or three lines- it’s really up to you as the artist Here’s an example This example was by Carl Sandburg called “Fog” “The fog comes on little cat (feet) It sits looking over the harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.” Very beautiful! So this is just what Carl writes about the fog He describes it cat- Right? That’s a nice metaphor And it’s not that long It’s not that short And that’s what he came up with so, that’s an example of free verse poetry Now a “Narrative Poem” is another type of poetic device I love to write narrative poems And narrative poems are poems that tell a story It doesn’t have to be a long or complex story It can even be a short narrative poem that can describe something that happened So you can write a total poem based on a story: about your life experiences, the life experiences of someone else, or you can make it up Here’s an example of a narrative poem by Langston Hughes It’s called “Mother to Son” So this is a really amazing poem, and I’ll go ahead and read it: “Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor– Bare But all the time I’se [sic] been a-climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, And sometimes goin’ in the dark Where there ain’t been no light So boy, don’t you turn back Don’t you set down on the steps ‘Cause you find it’s kinder hard Don’t you fall now– For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbin’, And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” Nice So there’s a lot of imagery in this poem about crystal stairs and life It’s about hardship and struggle, but a fierce determination to continue going So this is a really amazing poem I always say come back, look at this poem, read it again and Google or look up Langston Hughes: who was he? He’s an amazing poet during the Harlem Renaissance All right So for this workshop series, here’s some art supplies I love when you write poems, just write them You can add to it, you can have color crayons, you can have scrap paper, pencils, blank paper, color crayons, paint, markers, color pencils, glue sticks, and scissors So after you write your poem, you can totally jazz it up by adding art to it You can add pictures, you can add magazine images, or maybe old family photos You can really turn your art, your poem, into a multi-mixed media piece All right Let’s say you’ve never written a poem before and you’re just a little stuck This is what I always ask students to do When you’re writing — any type of writing really — you can use the five W’s and the only H Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why You can just begin to ask yourself “What was happening?” “Who was there?” “How did it happen?” “Why” and “Where?” So you can kind of pause when you’re writing, and ask yourself some of these questions And you may be surprised that the answers could actually sound very poetic, and the answer itself will be a poem Alright It’s poetry time Today we’re going to look at Concrete Poetry So concrete poetry, you may have written them before
They’re really fun They’re also called “shape poems” It’s written in the shape of its subject The way the words are arranged is important to what they mean Concrete poems do not have to rhyme So if you look on the far left, there’s a whale If you see, the words go all around the whale They go around the whale tail They go under his body, under his eyes even And the middle poem? There’s a shoe The words just go around the shoe Right? So that’s how they wrote that And I believe this is a little fox on the far right And so the artist drew a picture of a fox, and then wrote a poem Or maybe they wrote a poem, and then maybe shaped the picture I’m not sure It’s very cute though So these are concrete poems You pick an object Oh here’s another one A rainbow So as you can see, this poem is in the shape of a rainbow [reading] “Rain is Rainbows Rainbows Rainbows Black Boots and Big Puddles Puddles Puddles Slushy Streets and Soaked Trees Trees Trees Wildflowers and Wide Paths Bumble Bees Bumble Bees Books of Color” Now one of the poetic devices that we didn’t talk about is repetition So there’s a bunch of repetition, like “rainbows rainbows rainbows” So in your writing you can also use repetition I really like this poem It’s very colorful All right Here’s another concrete poem Now if you could see, the poet used strips of paper Also, yeah, wrote on paper, shaped out the image of coffee Used newspaper, “Morning glory” So did a mixture of things with the concrete poem, which make it very fascinating So this is another way that you can illustrate your concrete poem All right, here is “Raindrop” So I really liked the writer drew a raindrop, and then wrote the poem inside A raindrop [reading] “A drop of rain is like a sudden knock at the door Unexpected, yet often welcomed with a smile It can brighten your day or ruin your plans It can make you laugh or make you sad Whether the raindrop is moving fast or slow, or is big or small, it always gets everyone’s attention A raindrop contains many secrets It is a bubble of anticipation and surprise It cleanses the earth, it feeds the flowers and fills the holes The raindrop is never silent It bangs on the roof, spatters on the windows or splashes into a puddle A raindrop.” Very nice Here’s another poem I can’t read it because it’s kind of, all the words are blended together, but it’s a really great image Right? It’s called “Be Someone’s Umbrella Today” And some of the poems I’m showing, I apologize they don’t have the author I couldn’t find the poet but I thought the images were really beautiful All right, so let’s get started Now, you’re going to grab a piece of paper You can grab a piece of construction paper, you can grab a piece of scratch paper, or scrap paper, you can also grab a newspaper As you can see from one of the images, someone just did everything on like a newspaper And then, once you have what you’re going to write on, you’re going to choose an object to be the subject of your poem Some suggestions: Animal, favorite food, one of your favorite things We saw a tennis shoe, maybe you’ll do a cell phone Or maybe you want to make a shape Like a star or a sun I mean, a circle, that you could turn into a sun, or maybe a shape of a heart All right, so think about that, and then after you do that, you’re going to draw a simple outline of a shape on a paper, or you can do this on the computer If you’re using paper, draw with a pencil, not a pen Write your poem normally Now when you’re writing your poem, you might want to make a sketch on the side I like to make a rough draft before I write mine into my image So you can decide Maybe you’ll write it as you go That’s how you’re inspired to write Or maybe you’ll write it on the side and then add it later It’s up to you Try to describe how the subject makes you feel The words will fit into your drawing So don’t make it too long But let’s say your poem is long Maybe you can add more drawing to your poem It’s really up to you how you want to create it If you get stuck, don’t forget You’ve got the Five W’s and the H Who, What, When, Where, How and Why, and the lonely H All right? So, go ahead and grab a piece of paper Pick your object And then you’re going to draw it out on the piece of paper Draw the shape Or you can use the computer
I like Powerpoint Powerpoint is a really great tool They have a lot of apps as well to use for drawing But maybe start with paper and write it out first, and then you can go a different route But it’s up to you as a writer Then you’re going to write your poem You can write it separately, or you can just go ahead and write it over your drawing It’s up to you And then if you get stuck, you are going to use those W’s and H All right Creative ideas After you’ve written your poem, you can totally create a collage in words, old photos, or use images from a magazine You can create digital poems to post on your social media platforms You can give your poem as a gift Draw a picture with your poems Maybe you have the concrete poem Maybe you have different pictures around it It’s up to you Frame your poem Add your poem to a canvas Maybe turn your poem into what looks like a painting The sky’s the limit when you’re writing Here’s some references So once again I mentioned some computer programs that you can use, but computer programs that can help you create your art Microsoft Word Phone apps. There’s a lot of phone apps, that you can use Powerpoint is one that I really love to create digital poetry A website also for digital poetry or making concrete poems could be Canva.com and that’s a free site If you want to add pictures and you want to make digital or if you could print pictures out, there’s three websites that I really like for royalty free images pixabay.com, pexels.com, and unsplash.com Those are three sites that you can use for free royalty images, where you don’t have to worry about copyright laws Or you can use your own personal images You can go outside if you’re able to, and just snap some pictures, or snap some pictures inside Thank you so much for writing with me today and learning about poetry! I’ll see you next time! This is Kiana, writing off!