It is possible for one person to create a whole calendar alone. It would be a labour of love. Twelve months. Twelve illustrations. If you are part of a class or group, then the work can be shared. Start with a theme. One that easily comes to mind is the seasons and the months within … Continue reading Seasons
What’s in the box?
Make a collection of small boxes and tines. Save small food tins – cream of tartar, Colman’s mustard, mini mints. Find decorative tins and boxes in charity shops. Hold on to interesting boxes: camembert boxes, small chocolate boxes,. They have a gazillion uses. Boxes can slightly push writers to step out of their comfort zone. … Continue reading What’s in the box?
Here’s a way of looking closely and writing poems, as a group, in pairs or alone. We were prompted to write about it now, because pumpkins are such a good subject for this approach. However, there are all kinds of fruit and vegetables which work well. The idea is fairly simple. Start with a fruit … Continue reading Treasure boxes
In Philip Pullman’s magic novel, The Firework Maker’s Daughter, Lila, the daughter in question, learns to invent and make fireworks herself. When she does so, her father encourages her to name them. She makes Golden SneezesCrackle DragonsTumbling DemonsShimmering CoinsJava LightsLeaping Monkeys. Invent some names for your own fireworks. Make a list. Choose one and describe … Continue reading Firework makers
Verb into metaphor
Metaphors are a powerful part of the ways in which we think. Metaphors provide us with a way of characterising the new and of reconstructing the familiar. Here is a way of thinking about metaphor and landscape. Start by thinking of a dog: make a list of things that a dog does, essentially a list … Continue reading Verb into metaphor
Belly like a bream
This short traditional rhyme is a wonderful invitation to close observation and imaginative invention. It is a list of ingredients to create an animal, and it works through its use of similes. The exciting thing about it for the writer, and consequently the reader, is to find new and surprising smiles. One of the pleasures … Continue reading Belly like a bream
My name is Sluggery-wuggery My name is Worms-for-tea My name is swallow-the-table-leg My name is Drink-the-sea. Pauline Clarke Here is a chance for you to make up names. You could make up names for yourself or for an invented, maybe magical, character. Make a list of all the different names you can think of and … Continue reading Sluggery-wuggery
Peacock with a fiery tail
Here’s another playful idea which generates interesting images and allows some experimenting with rhyme if you wish. I was reminded of it during my return to Sandy Brownjohn’s books. You may already know this rhyme: I saw a Peacock with a fiery tail, I saw a blazing Comet drop down hail, I saw a Cloud … Continue reading Peacock with a fiery tail
Catch a Little Rhyme
Here is a little poem by Eve Merriam that invites playfulness. Children do love to rhyme, though they are rarely able to do so successfully. Poems tat start out well can all too easily be destroyed by the urge for rhyme over good sense. Catch a Little Rhymedoesn’t take itself too seriously. If you have enjoyed the … Continue reading Catch a Little Rhyme
The spring break has crept up on me. Perhaps you have already finished school. Here is an idea, and a natty tool, that will be useful well beyond spring time. There is much to be gained from writing poems using an existing text. For many years I have used cut up poems. Children are given … Continue reading [in Just-]