Traits of Writing Poetry

Since my work a week ago when I conducted a mini-lesson on writing Haiku at Wetland Education Days, I have been thinking a lot about writing.  One of the most common questions I received from the students was whether their haiku needed to rhyme. Of course not, was my response!  Flow trumps rhyme in poetry every time unless you writing a sonnet or limerick that requires a rhyme scheme. Most students are relieved when they find one does not have to rhyme when writing most poetry.

My own poetry, which has mostly consisted of free verse, haiku, or color poems definitely does not use rhyming as a tool. I feel satisfaction when my writing flows whether it is a poem, an essay, or even just an email. I like it to be organized, have logical transitions, and be clear. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to verbosity – a tendency I have when writing that I am trying to curb.  Writing several grants during my recent employment at a local land trust definitely helped with brevity. In addition, editing college application and scholarship essays to fit a word count but still include highlights of one’s accomplishments is also a great exercise in being clear but concise with the written word.

This morning, while I sat holding my tea and looking at the sunrise up over the horizon, I thought about how I would construct a poem to describe what I was seeing. Poetry should create a vivid picture in the mind of the reader. Actually, any writing that easily creates a picture in the mind of the reader is better than writing that tells instead of shows. I just finished reading Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. The book was excellent and quickly describes a party so completely that you can see it in your head – complete with squeezing oranges, stolen kisses, and searching who is holding the baby girl in whose honor the party is being held. I did not realize the impact of this scene until I finished the book.  It is woven together with descriptions and characters in such a way that you feel you are actually there!

That is what should happen with poetry. So, in visiting the library yesterday, I looked for some adult poetry books, for one way to be a better writer is to be a voracious reader!  Surprisingly, there were none at our local branch. So, I turned to the children’s section and came home with two. I’ll see what I can glean from them and let you know.

In the meantime, enjoy the last of the Haiku written with students on a field trip for Wetland Days last week.


Prairie Grass

Big Bluestem Glows Brown

Prairie Grasses Dig Deep Down

Surviving a Drought


 A Foggy Marsh Morning

Yesterday’s Algae

Through the Fog, I cannot see

Green Algae Eaten


Field Trip

Black and Red Berries

Scream Please Do Not Eat Me Now

Fall fruits for the Birds


This is my submission for Poetry Friday. This week it is hosted by Tabitha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference.   Check out her blog if you want to be inspired by more poetry or submit your own! Thanks!





8 thoughts

  1. I enjoyed reading your intro and the recent haiku. I’ve read that those prairie grasses do grow very far down, helping them cling in the wind! I loved your haiku about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should clarify. We have a regional library system. There were adult poetry books at other branches. I could have sent for them, but didn’t. State of wonder is a book I read a few years ago – my first Ann Patchett book! I have recommended it to many! I enjoyed it more than Bel Canto! I just got Run by her from my library visit yesterday….looking forward to starting it. Thanks for the comment and again for hosting today!


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