Break-it-down Dancing with Poetic Feet Thursday

          Registration for RhyPiBoMo 2014 is Closed!

We have 204 participants registered

for this, our first year!

Woo Hoo!

More confetti throwing!

;;::‘””:“”:“;:’:;”::”;”‘:”””::”;;;;””:’;:

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This really is amazing to me that over 200 of you are coming here every day or as often as you can, to read and learn more about writing. I didn’t know if I’d have 4 people following my blog starting on March 3oth…Thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me to take us through this meandering journey through rhyme and poetry to get to our final destination of writing rhyming picture books.

Hugs and rhyme for everyone!

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Today’s guest blogger is a busy lady who has her toes dipped in lots of different writing rivers…Her latest endeavor  is a wonderful new poetry course called

The Lyrical Language Lab, Punching Up Prose with Poetry.

http://www.nowaterriver.com/the-lyrical-language-lab/

Check it out! It seems that April and May are already full but you should consider signing up for a summer class! Renee has generously donated a scholarship for this course as one of our Golden Quill Poetry Contest Prizes…Thanks Renee!

Renee la Tulippe 2

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So, without further ado, I’m honored to present today’s

Golden Quill Guest Blogger

Renee La Tulippe!

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    Rhypibomo Guest Blogger Badge     Renee LaTulippe

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FREE VERSE FOR RHYMERS: Lessons from the Other Side
by Renée M. LaTulippe

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We all know that writing – any kind of writing – must be tight and engaging. No extra words. No tangents. Every syllable must push push push that poem or story forward toward its inevitable end. And those syllables have to sing.

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A good way to become familiar with the economy and choice of words necessary for such writing is to read and write free verse. As rhymers, we can learn so much by stripping away our rhyme schemes and meter and letting our stories or poems stand there as naked as jaybirds. Without all the fancy plumes, do they still hold up?

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The three free verse poems below illustrate how much can be done with character development, rhythm, and story structure in just a few well-chosen words. Read them and try the quick exercises to see how you can apply the techniques to hone your rhyming poems and stories.

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Character Development

Sisters

Points to ponder:
• In two tercets and a total of twenty-five words, poet Janet Wong creates an entire relationship with an emotional backstory.

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• The poem feels both effortless and sincere because the poet has reproduced the natural rhythms of spoken language – something that is often lost in rhyming texts. There is nothing forced about the language.

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• Careful word choice supports the image of the narrator as a girl who is “soft” – just like all those F sounds in tofu, soft, falling, tough, full of fire.

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• Although this is free verse, the poet makes use of slant rhyme and other sound devices, as in tofu/soft/tough and ginger/her.

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• The first two lines and the use of tofu and soft at first give a sense that perhaps the narrator is merely plump, while the clever third line, easily falling apart, adds another meaning to the word soft, as in emotionally fragile (or at least more fragile than the tougher sister).

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• The second tercet succinctly reveals both the narrator’s desire and her view of her sister.

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Try it!
Write a short free verse poem that encapsulates your main character and includes clues to his/her personality, problem, emotional state, and/or relationship to another character. Then rewrite it as a rhyming stanza.

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Rhythm and Sound

Beavers

Points to ponder:
• Although it is free verse, Marilyn Singer’s poem contains rhyme, alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia, and repetition.

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• Form and sound work really well together in This stick here / That stick there. The repeated stick is a short, staccato word that recalls the precision of a beaver’s work, while the space in the line forces the reader to pause and emphasizes the deliberate actions of the beaver in placing the sticks just so.

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• The same can be said for the repetition of mud, more mud, add mud, good mud, which creates a single-minded, assembly-line image of very focused beavers and mimics their staccato movements.

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• The heavy D, G, and short U sounds in that repeated line put us right in the mud with the beavers, while the alliterated M sound creates a subtle, monotonous hum that underscores the assembly line focus.

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• The lack of punctuation throughout further enhances the idea that these beavers don’t take a break and will continue working in their dam factory long after we’ve finished the poem.

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Try it!
Choose a short section of your manuscript or poem and rewrite it as a free verse poem that captures the desired rhythm of your story/character. Is it fast-paced and bouncy or slow and lyrical? Consider the properties of the sounds you choose.

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Story Structure

 Sign me up

Points to ponder:
• This poem by David L. Harrison is a succinct illustration of story structure and story elements. With sparse but evocative language, the poem:

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• establishes the main character and his emotional state (further helped by cowboy dialect)

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• introduces the problem (conflicted about signing up for the cattle drive)

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• illustrates reasons that gave rise to problem (those durn flies!)

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• ups the stakes (busted leg, stampedes, etc.)

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• includes falling action moving toward resolution (don’t know what else I’d do)

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• shows transformation of character’s emotional state (lookin’ at stars ain’t so bad)

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• resolution (sign me up)

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Try it!
Write your whole rhyming story or poem in free verse. What did you leave out that was in the rhyming version? Do you really need it?

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Remember that when trying these exercises, the idea is not to merely write your whole rhyming story or poem down the page instead of across it – that’s not what free verse is. Rather, the idea is to distill your work into one or a series of short free verse poems with the goal of seeing
• where you can tighten your writing
• how you can use sound, rhythm, and word choice to enhance your story
• how you can bring more of the natural rhythms of spoken language into your verse
• how your structure holds up without all the bells and whistles of rhyme

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Getting to the essence of your story through free verse can help you approach your work with a more critical eye and refine it into a tight, engaging, and musical piece of writing.

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© 2014 Renée M. LaTulippe. This article is partially excerpted from a lesson in the online course The Lyrical Language Lab: Punching Up Prose with Poetry. All rights reserved.

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Bio
Renée M. LaTulippe has co-authored nine early readers and a collection of poetry titled Lizard Lou: a collection of rhymes old and new for All About Learning Press, where she is also the editor, and has poems in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School and The PFA for Science. She developed and teaches the online course The Lyrical Language Lab: Punching Up Prose with Poetry and blogs on children’s poetry at NoWaterRiver.com. Renée earned her BFA in acting/directing from Marymount Manhattan College and her MA in English Education from NYU, and taught English, theater, and public speaking in NYC. She lives in Italy with her husband and twin boys.
http://www.NoWaterRiver.com
Twitter: @ReneeMLaTulippe

No water river
http://www.nowaterriver.com/

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– Renée’s book of poetry: Lizard Lou: a collection of poems old and new
– See my poems in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (ed. Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong)
– How to use NWR in the classroom

Here are a few of Renee’s books:

Renee La Tulippe 1

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       Renee La Tulippe 3

Thank you Renee La Tulippe!

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RhyPiBoMo Daily Lesson: Thursday, April 17th
By Angie Karcher © 2014
Lesson 19

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Today’s lessons will be more review of Iamb, Trochee and Spondee. This will give you time to catch up with other lessons as well.

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Talk about Breaking it down…
One LAST time!

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You should be feeling pretty comfortable with Iamb by now!

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Iamb – is a metrical foot consisting of two syllables, a short one followed by a long one
Pronunciation: EYE-am

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The stressed syllables are in all caps

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For example:
Come LIVE / with ME / and BE / my LOVE.
Short LONG/ short LONG/ short LONG/ short LONG
Da-DUM/Da-DUM/ Da-DUM/Da-DUM

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Another example:
from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18:

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So LONG / as MEN / can BREATHE / or EYES / can SEE,
Short LONG/ short LONG/ short LONG/ short LONG/short LONG
Da-DUM/Da-DUM/ Da-DUM/Da-DUM/Da-DUM

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So LONG / lives THIS / and THIS / gives LIFE / to THEE.
Short LONG/ short LONG/ short LONG/ short LONG/short LONG
Da-DUM/Da-DUM/ Da-DUM/Da-DUM/Da-DUM

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Foot Type                  Style Stress pattern                       Syllable Count
Iamb/Iambic          Unstressed + Stressed                   Two

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Trochee – a metrical foot consisting of one long syllable followed by one short syllable or of one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable (as in apple)
Pronunciation: TROH-kee

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Trochaic is the direct opposite of iambic in that its two feet are hard and soft.
The stressed syllables are in all caps

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For example:

TI-ger/TI-ger/BURN-ing/BRIGHT
LONG short/LONG short/LONG short/LONG
DUM-da/DUM-da/DUM-da/DUM

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IN the/FOR-est/OF the/NIGHT
LONG short/LONG short/LONG short/LONG
DUM-da/DUM-da/DUM-da/DUM

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Foot Type                            Style Stress pattern                        Syllable Count
Trochee/Trochaic          Stressed + Unstressed                  Two

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Spondee – is a metrical foot consisting of two long or stressed syllables as in the word “heartache.” Spondee is a relatively rare meter that slows down the tempo of a line when it is used. It is unusual to find whole poems written in spondee, but it is usually combined with other metrical feet for effect.
Pronunciation:SPON-dee

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The stressed syllables are in all caps

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For example:
Longfellow’s classic, ‘On the Shores of Hiawatha.’
This poem is rare because every line has three feet of spondee and one of trochee. This poem is about Native Americans, and we can almost hear a drum beat because of the use of spondee.

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BY THE/SHORE OF / GIT-CHE/GUM-ee.
LONG LONG/LONG LONG/LONG LONG/ short
DUM DUM/DUM DUM/DUM DUM/ da

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BY THE/ SHIN-ING/ BIG SEA /WAT-er
LONG LONG/LONG LONG/LONG LONG/ short
DUM DUM/DUM DUM/DUM DUM/ da

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AT THE/ DOOR-WAY/OF HIS/WIG-wam,
LONG LONG/LONG LONG/LONG LONG/ short
DUM DUM/DUM DUM/DUM DUM/ da

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IN THE /PLEA-SANT/SUM-MER/MORN-ing,
LONG LONG/LONG LONG/LONG LONG/ short
DUM DUM/DUM DUM/DUM DUM/ da

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Writing Prompt: Finish finding the Spondee in the rest of this poem. Separate by writing the stressed syllables in all caps and divide the feet with a slash mark, as above.

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HI-A/WA-THA/STOOD AND/WAIT-ed.

All the air was full of freshness,

All the earth was bright and joyous,

And before him, through the sunshine,

Westward toward the neighboring forest

Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo

Passed the bees, the honey-makers,

Burning, singing in the sunshine.’

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Foot Type                             Style Stress pattern                    Syllable Count
Spondee/Spondaic        Stressed + Stressed                     Two

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The exact opposite of Spondee is Pyrrhic. Pyrrhic has 2 unstressed syllables. See if you can find some poems with Pyrrhic feet.

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Okay, now do everything else on the pledge for today and don’t forget to comment on today’s blog post!

RhyPiBoMo Pledge

RhyPiBoMo PledgeRhyPiBoMo Pledge
Please comment ONLY ONE TIME below for a chance to win today’s prize!
Prizes will be drawn by Random.com next Sunday for the previous week.
To be eligible for a prize you must be a registered participant and
comment after each days lessons.

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102 thoughts on “Break-it-down Dancing with Poetic Feet Thursday

  1. Hi everyone, it’s me, your coughing, sneezing, chilled but burning up…leader…I’m sick and trying to keep up with the lessons, blog posts, comments, critique goup etc…please forgive me if I miss something. I know there are a few questions that I want to try to answer but I can’t get to them all so please save them and I am going to try to have a Q & A session at the end of the month with a few of our guest bloggers…I’m working on that so no guarantees but fingers crossed…hopefully so! Off to find some tissues and Tyenol! Ahh-Choooooo! = /

  2. Oh, Angie, sorry you’re not feeling well. Take care. You’ve done an amazing job putting this blog together and keeping us on track with the different styles of poetry. Rest!
    Renee, thanks for your post. I’m still not getting the stresses right. The rhythm and beat are music to my ears. Got take a walk and recite aloud to hear stressed and unstressed beats more clearly.

  3. I love these poems and points to ponder, Renee! And great, daily lesson, Angie. Understanding poetic forms can be a challenge but you’ve presented it in a clear, comprehensible way. Great job, ladies!

  4. Sorry you are not feeling well. I agree with everyone who has posted in the past – you’ve done an amazing job putting together this blog.

    Practicing in free verse – ahhhh.

  5. You are doing a great job Angie! 204 participants ABSOLUTELEY FABULOUS! I love your version of confetti. Thank you to Renee La Tulippe for the lesson on free verse, although I would not feel confident enough on doing this yet. I would think people were thinking I’m just babbling along. (They probably think that anyway!)

  6. Oh, I loved Renee La Tulippe’s poems! (especially the beaver song)

    On Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 4:15 AM, Angie Karcher

  7. Great examples you’ve shared here, Renee – Even those of us who’ve been writing for years can always learn something new! I especially love the succinctness (is that a word? Succinction? Succinctity?) of Janet’s poem!

      • Interestingly, I tend not to write a lot of non-rhyming children’s poetry unless it’s a formal structure like haiku, tanka, cinquain, etc. Almost all my adult poems, conversely, are free verse. Not sure why I do that, but you’re right – free verse forces one to think more about story, setting, imagery, internal rhyme, and all those other devices beginners tend to eschew in favour of nailing ‘the rhyme!’

  8. Angie, hope you feel better soon! Renee, what a wonderful lesson with excellent examples! I am much better at writing free verse than rhyming, maybe because I can make the words submit to what I want to say rather than let the rhythm and rhyme roll over my message. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Jane! I recently returned to some free verse for the first time in eons and it was like seeing an old friend again. You bring up a major issue with rhyme, which can be so constricting. That’s why I think the free verse exercises can be helpful for rhymers – to get the rhyme out of their heads and really focus on what they want to say before trying to rhyme it.

  9. I’m currently taking Renee’s poetry class. I’m in her April group. What a wonderful experience! Thanks, Renee! And congratulations, Angie, for 204 participants!

  10. So sorry to hear you’re not well at the moment, Angie. Hope you’re feeling better soon. You’re doing an awesome job and I’m learning so much. A big thank you today to you and Renee! Renee’s poetry and lessons rock!

  11. I also hope you’re feeling better soon, Angie, and appreciate the wealth of information and experience you’re providing. Renee’s lesson on free verse was especially helpful.

    I think I’ve always read Longfellow’s Hiawatha’s Childhood passage as mostly trochaic tetrameter with some spondee interspersed. Reading it as three feet of Spondee followed by a trochee feels like shouting to me. I found this video reading by CC Poems helpful. The line “By the shores of Gitche Gumee” comes at about the 3-minute mark. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWx6z_aoneQ

  12. Sorry you’re poorly at the moment, Angie, hope you feel better soon. Thank you for bringing us all on this incredible journey with you!

  13. Terrific guest post but I’m biased – I’m taking Renee’s Lyrical Language Lab course this month and loving it!

  14. Enjoyed your post. Liked the free verse, and that it did keep a good rhythm to itself. Hope you feel better soon, too!

  15. Renee’s lesson is amazing. I copied it in 22 point print and have it open on my desktop. I plan to start my day doing her exercises to explore the main character of the novel I’m writing. Thanks, Angie, for these terrific bloggers.

  16. Praying you’re feeling better already, Angie! And what a fabulous turnout – and lesson! And I learned SO much from Renee’s post – free verse poetry is SO hard for me (I’m totally a rules girl) – but I’m gonna try it (and in fact did for my poem today). Thanks so much!

  17. Renee, enjoyed you post… great idea to go back to a section of one’s MS and rewrite in free verse.
    I love the Sisters poem, and I hate tofu.
    Angie, thanks for this lesson to refresh our minds on iamb, trochee and spondee.
    Write On! Everyone!

  18. 204! Nice! Hope you feel better soon, Angie.
    Renee, great job! You’re a teacher at heart. You look right into your students’ minds and present with a direct conciseness that NEVER ceases to amaze me. As I’ve said before, free verse scares the bejeebies out of me but I’ve been working on a free verse poem/story inspired by a prompt over at David’s blog when the Word of the Month was “fishing”. You wrote a beautiful poem called The Boat which added to my inspiration. I’ve been working on this off and on ever since and I have to say I’m loving it. It has been great fun to economize my words as I write this poem/story about my sisters and I fishing with our dad on his 80th birthday.

  19. Thank you very much Renée M. LaTulippe, there are a whole lot of wonderful things to discover in free verse. The examples and suggestions you have generously given us are wonderful and whet my appetite for more. Between Angie and fantastic guest such as yourself you might all just make a poet out of me. 🙂

  20. Thank you for the lesson and the exercises on free verse, Renee. I’m looking forward to putting pen to paper and working these out.

    Great turn out Angie! I hope I can catch up on all the previous blog posts. SO much to learn. Thank you for starting this challenge. 🙂

  21. Feel better, Angie! Great exercise, Renee, with wonderful examples! This is a great way of seeing if your story is better without the rhyme, and to tighten it up.

  22. Aww Angie, so sorry. Hope you feel better soon.
    Renee, I found your exercises to be enlightening!
    I got the clarity I would get from writing a pitch (but longer and more lyrical) which helped me better understand my character and her conflict.

  23. You must be doing too much Angie try to rest andgeel better soon ( perhaps no staying up all night until you feel better) Yay to the group growing, and thanks for the posts I did learn a lot and will try to break some rules and write some free verse !

  24. Get feeling better! I loved Renee’s post and her selection of poetry. That really gets you thinking about changes for the better.

  25. Those spondee sound iambic to me… 😦 I will try again…

    I love iambic and trochee though. 🙂
    I don’t undersand free verse. It feels like Modern Art maybe? Is it only me? I mean, to me they all look strange. I couldn’t say a free verse poem is good or another one is bad… They sound some kind of “unfinished” to me… (maybe it is me…).

    204!!!! SUPER!!! (Confetti!!!!) 🙂
    Thanks a lot fpr the pos, Angie!

  26. Whoo! Rockin’ with free verse! Most of the poetry I’ve ever written is in free verse. Well, except for this month’s work. I’m always so much better going with the feel of a poem, rather than laying one brick-by-brick (aka, foot-by-foot). It’s a good thing we have critique groups who can help us reign in our rhyming free verse 🙂

    Get well soon, Angie!

  27. Congratulations on getting 204 participants in your first RhyPiBoMo, Angie! Wish you were feeling more up to celebrating right now. Hope you can rest. (Perhaps you’ll produce some feverish poetry.)

    I really enjoyed Renee’s post today. I love the idea of stripping everything unnecessary away and putting some of my work into free verse to see if it holds up. I’m a little scared to try in case I find that my story falls apart! But, that’s what we have to do – identify any weak places and make them strong. I enjoy reading free verse, so I’m excited to give myself permission to try writing some of my stories that way.

    I tried to do my homework on the Longfellow poem. The only line that had me a bit stumped was WEST WARD/TOWARD THE/NEIGH BOR/ING/FOR-est. But I think that may be because you could potentially say “neighboring” as 2 syllables instead of 3.

  28. So sorry to hear you’re not feeling well, Angie. Rest and feel better soon! Finally, someone who speaks my language–I am so much more comfortable with free verse–thanks, Renee, for helping us “ponder” this style of writing and reading poetry! I need to devote more time to research and study meter/feet/stress/unstressed syllables–I’m just not getting it. Are there rules about certain words being stressed/unstressed? (I have to go back over previous lessons too) Anyway, we pb writers can definitely benefit from learning free verse poetry! Thanks again, Renee!

  29. Just think, Angie, if all 204 of us brought you chicken soup, you’d be drowning in it… hmm, on second thought, maybe we all better just send healing wishes instead! Feel better soon. 🙂

    Thank you, Renée, for your terrific guest post and for walking us through these three fabulous free verse poems. So much to learn here, but you’ve broken it down in a way that makes it easy to understand. The person who wins your Language Lab scholarship is going to be one lucky duck!

  30. That Renee is brilliant! Thanks for the terrific poetry examples and exercises. Marilyn Singer’s beaver poem is one of my all time favorites (and I had not really thought of it as free verse before.)
    Hope you leave your cold on the shores of hiawatha, Angie!

    • Thanks, Buffy! The beaver poem is also one of my all-time favorites. I have read it over and over and never get tired of it. Interesting that you didn’t think of it as free verse. It does have some rhyme, but so much of it’s power is based on rhythm and repetition that it felt more free verse to me. Do you think it could go either way?

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