February 19 and 20


Today we started our poetry unit, which is organized by Tony Hoagland’s “Five Powers of Poetry.” Here’s what we did today:

1. Warm-up. Students answered and shared about these five questions to get their Material Imaginations primed. Our goal is to avoid “Justin Bieber” words, that is general statements about feelings.

1.What is the saddest make and model of a car?
2.What is the most depressing flower?
3.What is the happiest tree?
4.What is the most adventurous writing utensil?
5.What is the most romantic cereal?
“I know you love me, I know you care” and “We will never ever ever be apart” is so boring compared to a poem like Zanzibar that we looked at today. Magnetic carrots are a million times more powerful than the word “Baby.”
2. L13 Notes. We took the following notes on a sheet of notebook paper that we labeled L13:
The Five Powers of Poetry
1. Material Imagination
– use crazy specific details instead of general statements about feeling
– go on an abstraction diet 
– let your details tell the story
– use imagery (taste, touch, hear, smell, see)
We will add more to these notes on Friday.
3. Poetry reading and writing. We read a few different examples of poems with great material imagination. We located the crazy specific details as we read and created our own versions of each. (I have the notes sheet in the classroom.)
Here are some fill-in-the-blank versions of the poems if you’re having a difficult time getting the idea of ‘modeled writing’: material imagination fill-in-the-blank poems
HW: Complete, polish, and turn in ONE of the poems we started in class (either Zanzibar, Spoonfuls of Sugar, Classic American Scene, or Snow in North Jersey).