Poetry has held a place in many cultures for thousands of years. The Japanese consider it an art, European authors have expressed political and cultural messages and feeling though poetry for centuries. And, in America, many naturalists have used peotry to convey the beauty of the American landscape for generations. Some examples include:
One exercise that we've often done with students and adults is the Project WILD activity Animal Poetry. The objective of this activity is to help students recognize and experience the inspirational value of wildlife through poetry. The students spend time outside and imagine themselves as animals, then write poems about that experience.
Some suggested poem formats include Haiku, which is a Japanese lyric verse form that has three unryhmed lines that have 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Haiku traditionally and ideally presents a pair of contrasting images: one suggestive of time and place, the other a vivid but fleeting observation. When they work together, the poem evokes mood and emotion. An example follows:
|Any guesses on what species of hawk this is?|
And finally, Diamante is a poem that can be used with students. It is a poem shaped in the form of a diamond. It can be used to show that words are related through shades of meaning from one extreme to an opposite extreme, following a pattern of parts of speech like this: