Poetry Play: Creating a Fill-in Poem

When creating poems, I often view it as play. Playing with words, phrases, images, etc. Isn’t this what we do as children? We often make games out of everything, and teachers are great at making learning fun.

Today, let’s create a Fill-in poem. I’ll provide the phrase, and you provide the ending for each line.

Under the stars
under the moon
under the trees
under your arms, I am free.

Here’s a phrase for you to try:

Over ___________
Over ___________
Over ___________
Over ___________

Let’s see what you got!

Poetry Activity: Blackout Poems

Today, we’re going to try one of my favorite poetry activities: Blackout poetry.

This is one of the easiest forms to create because it really just requires you remove the text of an existing piece by blacking it out. The text can be from a book, newspaper, magazine, or poem. You’re going to redact it, much like the FBI or CIA would do when allowing the public to view government reports.

I’m going to use this poem from Robert Frost: Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Here’s my version:

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

I’d love to hear about your experience with black out poetry. Feel free to take a photo and send it to me via email.

Poetry Activity: Tanka

Today’s poetry activity is to build a tanka poem.

The tanka is a thirty-one-syllable poem, traditionally written in a single unbroken line. A form of waka, Japanese song or verse, tanka translates as “short song,” and is better known in its five-line, 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count form.

Please check out this tutorial video on how to create a tanka:

If you’d like a simpler way to create one, check out the Tanka Poem Generator.

Here’s mine:


Oh my sycamore
It is hungry and solid.
It has perfect limbs
And a mighty roots as well
When it soars I feel happy

Share your tanka below.

Poetry Activity: Limericks

Limericks are a fun poetry form to create. They remind me of stand-up comics where anything becomes fodder for humor.

Definition of Limericks:

A limerick is a humorous poem consisting of five lines. The first, second, and fifth lines must have seven to ten syllables while rhyming and having the same verbal rhythm. The third and fourth lines should only have five to seven syllables; they too must rhyme with each other and have the same rhythm.

Edward Lear is one of the most well known writers of Limericks, and this is one of my favorites:

There was an Old Man with a beard
Who said, "It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!"

I love using the limerick generator, and I hope you’ll give it a try, too. Here’s mine:

There once was a lass called sally.
She said, "See the great vitaly!"
It was rather poor,
But not louis pasteur,
She just couldn't say no to the halle.

Share yours below.

Poetry Activity: Cento (Patchwork) Poem

Check out Write Shop for more on Cento poems

The Cento is one of the easiest poems to create because it is a collage of poetic lines from other poets’ poems.

According to the Academy of American Poets, John Asbury’s “The Dong with the Luminous Nose” and Peter Gizzi’s “Ode: Salute to the New York School” are two of the most famous Cento poems.

Please feel free to check out other examples, here.

For our cento, I’d love for everyone to take a look at my starting line and add their own (please identify the poem and poet):

How dreary – to be – Somebody! (Emily Dickinson, “I’m Nobody! Who are you? – 260)

Add your lines in the comments and I’ll post the full cento at month’s end.

Poetry Activity: Texting Poems

I love to share fun and inspiring poetry creation activities, and one of my favorites is still to come. But as I was checking around for new activities, I came across one for students that I think writers might enjoy trying.

We all know how to text each other on our phones at this point, so how about we create a text poem in the form of couplets.

  • Couplets: two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit

For this writing exercise, you can choose something conversational you would have with a friend and write just 2 lines with the same meter (usually we speak in Iambic pentameter) and a rhyme.

There’s also this Rhyming Couplet Generator, though it is a bit more formal.

We can start a conversation in the comments if you’re up for it.

Here’s my attempt:

I walked at dawn in the orange glow.
My boots crunched on icy snow.

Something very simple for your Tuesday!