If you teach poetry, then you know how challenging it can be to find poetry for students that is motivating, engaging, and inspiring. One of the best ways to teach poetry is to expose your students to diverse poets. This not only broadens their understanding of poetry, but helps motivate students to create their own poems to share with the world.
Today, we’re celebrating five PenPal Stars who recently participated in A World of Poetry. Abby C, Abby W, Katelynn, Aurora, and Annalise from Ohio, USA are middle school students who not only learned about poetic devices and poets from around the world, but also wrote their own poems that they shared with a global audience! Check out some of the student poetry from their project:
By: Annalise H.
The wind blows heavy
clouds slowly drifting away
revealing the sun
In this poem, I talked about nature, which is a common theme when dealing with Haiku poetry. I talked about how it's a stormy day, and the heavy winds blow away the sad clouds, making the day bright and happy again. The funny thing about this poem, is that as it is being written, it is stormy, and it is rainy, so eventually, the sun will shine through, to reveal a bright blue sky.
By: Katelynn J.
In the messy, mess of life
You'll need a scythe
To fight away the endless night,
and to find the thread of light.
Here is the first poem I wrote for the Americas. For this poem I used rhyming, both slant and regular, the slant rhyme being life and scythe, as well as night and light rhyme, irony, as scythe's are usually used as dark tools, and symbolism, as this poem is a symbolic fight between good and evil.
By: Aurora M.
Drip, drip, drip
The rain drops its final drops onto a puddle, it plops
Eeriness creeps around the corner upon the mice
Drip, drip, drip
The stray cat strode into the alleyway and the mice scurry away in fear
Drip, drip, plonk
A drip dropped upon the cat's nose it in turn gave the sky a deadly gaze it walked on
The mice looked onto the cat once before it left.
In its stride, it left a shadow behind it a shadow of doubt
In this poem that I wrote, I used onomatopoeia and personification. How I used onomatopoeia was when I wrote over and over about raindrops making a sound to where they land. I used personification for both the mice and the cat. For the mice, I wrote how they felt fear as they felt the cat near closer. I also made the cat to have the emotions of anger for the sky as water drips upon it's nose.
By: Abby W.
This is a poem I wrote called, "17 Days." It is about a researcher to travel to parts of the world in 17 Days. 17 days to travel the world, 17 days to see,
All the things my research needs
All the things I please
Days 1- 7, to Asia, to all my favorite places,
I must find the animals In there outside spaces
Days 8- 12, I go to Australia I am so excited,
For the kangaroos and wallaby's Where will you be hidin'?
On Days 13- 16, I head to South America,
Close to home I go, I will see you later!
The very last day, I head back home to finish studies, to my favorite states,
Earth, I love you. And now I am home, And I will miss you.
In this poem I used anaphora. In Lines 1 and 2, I said, "17 days" twice. Also, in stanzas 2, 3, 4, I used the the word, "Days three times." I also used rhyming. In stanza 3, I rhymed, "excited" and "hidin.'" In stanza 2, I rhymed, "places" and "spaces."
These PenPal Stars also told their PenPals about their favorite poems and poets!
Abby C: Today's poem I'm going to talk about today is called "The Rainbow". By Christina Rossetti. Christina Rossetti wrote poems when she was twelve years old, she also imitated the style and tone of her favorite poets. Now, let's get on with the poem!
"The Rainbow" Christina Rossetti
"Boats sail on the rivers, And ships sail on the seas: But clouds that sail across the sky Are prettier than these."
"There are bridges on the rivers, As pretty as you please; But the bow that bridges heaven, And overtops the trees, And builds a road from earth to sky, Is prettier far than these."
Christina Rossetti uses many poetic devices. One of these devices is called alliteration. Alliteration is a term to describe words that are near/next to each other that begin with the same word. There are two kinds of alliteration, there is consonance, and assonance. This poem uses consonance. For example, in line 2, "Ships", "Seas", and "Sails" use consonance, which if all of the words start with the same letter, like "S", that will be a consonance. The reason I adore this poem is because it's talking about a rainbow. I have heard that rainbows are supposed to be good luck so that's nice. Another reason why I love this poem is because rainbows are good to look at. I love them, and maybe you do too.
Katelynn: Robert Frost is my favorite poet, and my favorite poem of his is "Fire and Ice."
'Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.'
The reason I like this poem is it's two sides of the same coin, yet the two sides are completely different. Fire to me represents love, desire, happiness as it's never sticking in once place and all around messy. Ice is hate, a cold dead heart putting others down for their own satisfaction. A dagger, sharp enough to kill. Both have equal chances for the end of the world, but what will it be? The dagger or the messy, messy mess of love?
Aurora: A poem by Emily Dickinson called Hope is the thing with feathers, which is about how hope is something like feathers, something you can come by quickly, and can stay around, but can be just as easily plucked away, maybe from yourself or something else.
"Hope" is the thing with feathers- That perches in the soul- And sings the tune without the words- And never stops- at all-”
In this poem by Emily, she for sure uses a poetic device called metaphor. The metaphor in this poem is that she compares hope to feathers, for both are very fragile and dainty, yet she doesn't compare them like a simile would. She also uses slant rhyme since the words soul and words don't truly rhyme, and she just decided to put those words there. Her third poetic device would be she used imagery. Since she compares hope to feathers and feather are usually associated with birds, can pluck their own feathers when they are stressed to a point, which can be like when somebody gets upset about something or loses something, and they pluck their own hope from themselves, like a bird.
When Abby W found out she was a PenPal Star, she said “I was really happy, and surprised too. I was like, ‘OH MY GOSH!!’” and Annalise said “I was excited, I've never done something like this before.” When they’re not learning with PenPals, these PenPal Stars participate in clubs, hang out with their friends, play video games, and watch Netflix.
We caught up with Abby W, Abby C, Katelynn, Aurora, and Annalise to learn more about their experience learning with PenPals in A World of Poetry!
PENPAL SCHOOLS: What has been your favorite thing about learning with PenPals?
ABBY W: I liked to learn about starting a new project, and listen to people with poems and things to say. I learned about how I can write really good and meaningful poems. [I learned] that I can write a really sad and depressing poem.
KATELYNN: Writing poems. Writing poems doesn't involve just putting a bunch of words that sound good together, but involving poetic devices and stuff like that.
AURORA: Poetry can come from where ever, from whatever time, and anybody who can write.
ANNALISE: I learned that no matter what you look like, if you try hard enough you can do anything.
ABBY C: I learned that not all poems rhyme.
Tell us about the final project you decided to publish in the showcase! What did you choose to create, and why? How did you come up with that idea?
ABBY W: I have not published it yet, but Wednesday, me and my friends are hosting a Poetry Reading! I really wanted to do this project. It sounded fun! Plus, I am the person for parties, and this is like a party. I came up with it by PenPals and I am happy with it.
KATELYNN: My final project was a poem, called 'Marks of Fate.' It was about how fate surrounds us all, and sometimes it's inescapable. Yet it doesn't have to be. I chose to create this poem because I've always thought things weren't set in stone, yet some people do think that.
How has your project changed the way you think about the world?
ANNALISE: It showed me that no matter where someone comes from, anybody can do poetry, and be good at it.
ABBY W: I am starting to PenPal everyone! I read about a guy from Turkey, and I liked that!
KATELYNN: Everybody is different in their own way.
AURORA: It's a really big world.
ABBY C: Well, I learned that not every poem is the same.
What advice do you have about being a great PenPal?
KATELYNN: Work hard, listen, and listen again because reading something one more time can make a big difference.
AURORA: Just be nice to them, and to be yourself.
ABBY W: Respond to your PenPals or future ones, so that way you can connect with them. And do your work.
ANNALISE: To be a great Penpal, you have to be caring, and hear everyone else's side, and listen to what people say, no matter how stupid it might seem.
ABBY C: My advice is to always be a nice Pen Pal and also work very hard.
Why do you think it's important to learn with other students from around the world?
KATELYNN: Nobody has the same opinions, same personalities, or same creativity as most. It's important to know that not everyone is the same.
ABBY W: We need to be learn about the amazing world around us, not just America. We need to accept other people into our lives, including those from around the world.
ANNALISE: It's important to learn with other students around the world to expand your knowledge, and to learn how different other people work.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
KATELYNN: Greece, because I've always been interested in Greek mythology.
ABBY W: I would go to Paris because it is so beautiful and I want to see all the sights. Plus they have lots of treats for me to try!
AURORA: I would like to travel to all parts of Europe and the Philippines and I would like to go there because I would like to learn the difference between America and Europe since they have been apart of American history since the beginning. I would like to go the Philippines since that's part of my heritage and I also have family there.
ANNALISE: I would go to France because it is beautiful, and I love macarons, they are so tasty, and can be any flavor you want!
ABBY C: I would like to go to Japan because I love anime.
Congratulations, Annalise, Abby C, Abby W, Aurora, and Katelynn! Thanks for being such great PenPals! Check out more of their original student poetry below.
Your students can write and share original poems with a global audience in A World of Poetry, too! Find poetry for students from around the world with PenPal Schools. Sign up today to get started.
By: Annalise H.
There was a dove that was sweet,
Innocent like a child,
White as snow, and as graceful as a ballerina,
Until she met the Raven,
He was rude like a teenager,
Black as midnight, and as clumsy as a headless chicken
The dove drove him down into the dirt, and he was never heard from again,
Alliteration is the repetition of sounds at the beginning of words, like how in line 9, the letter d is repeated 4 times, and makes it sound mean and harsh when the dove beats up the raven and puts him underground . Another poetic device used in this poem is personification, which is when you give a non human thing, human characteristics, like in line 4 which is saying the the dove is graceful, which is typically used to describe a human, and using the word ballerina, you can picture the dove flying elegantly flying through the air.
By: Katelynn J.
The marks of fate, are on my face, as well as my arms, and my base.
Oh, how I wish, things weren't set.
Oh, how I wish, things were set.
Oh, how I wish.
For this poem I used slant rhyme, 'face and base' as evidence. I also used repetition, the evidence to that shown by the repeat or 'Oh, how I wish."
I Love the Rain
By: Abby W.
The rain is a sea,
Drowns me in blue,
I love you
Your rain patting me
I used onomatopoeia in my poem. In the final line, I said, "patting," where "pat" is spelled like it sounds. I also used a metaphor. In the first line, I said, "The rain is a sea." I am comparing the rain to a sea. One last thing I used is personification. In the second line, I said, "Drowns me in blue." The rain can't really drown me in blue. So that is my poem. I worked hard on it and I hope you like it!! Have a good day!