Before you jump into writing poems with your group, it is a good idea to talk about the benefits of writing poetry. These are just a few,
Why Write Poetry
1. It’s more than just lines of rhyming words. (This is so important for them to know)
2. It’s very therapeutic.
3. It challenges you to acknowledge your feelings
4. It is a fun and creative way to communicate- it’s art!
Then communicate the following: “Poetry is a really great art form to explore, but so many people don’t feel that they are qualified or talented enough to write poetry. And that’s sad because poetry is something that can be practically anything. A stream of thoughts, a rearrangement of words, a paragraph with different lines crossed out–poetry has endless possibilities!”
Next, go over the steps for writing a poem.
1. Pick your form.
There are hundreds of ways to write a poem. Do you want to rhyme, or not rhyme? Do you want your poetry to follow a beat or flow on its own? You could write a limerick, a sonnet, a Haiku, a quatrain, free verse–seriously, there are so many options. But don’t let that overwhelm you. Start by experimenting with as many (or as few) as you want. You don’t have to know about all of these types of poems or any of them really. Just write what you want and how you want.
2. Pick your subject.
What are you just dying to write about? Nature? Animals? People? Emotions? You can write about anything you want, but often the best kinds of poetry comes from deep within. Some poets like to write emotional poetry about their deepest feelings. I’ve often found that times of grief, heartbreak, loneliness, anxiety, and insecurity fuel my best poems–but it’s different for everyone. The next time you feel emotional, try writing a poem to release your feelings.
Or, if you prefer other poetry forms, look around you for things that inspire you. Nature is another popular subject that many poets craft beautiful poems around. I personally love writing poems about sunsets and water, simply because there are so many wonderful words I can use to describe them. Find what inspires you, and write about it!
3. Let your heart write.
The beautiful part about poetry is that you practically can’t do it wrong. And in a world where there is so much negativity and criticism, this is amazing. No one can tell you that your poem is right or wrong because it is yours and no one else’s. You may not like what you write at first, but just like stories, poetry can be edited as much as you want. Some people like to use literary devices like metaphors in their poems, others like to keep things simple. Some like to use big words, and others don’t.
While I can give you ideas about what form to pick or what subject to write about, in reality, poetry is something that comes from within. It’s an art form that comes in many different shapes and sizes, and it’s something that every single person writes differently. So take some time and let your heart write! You may be surprised at what you end up with.
Finally, invite the girls to write their own poems.
Today’s invitation is simple. Write from the place of mental and emotional wide-open space; be vulnerable with yourself. Let your mind quiet. And then see what lines form in your mind, your heart.
Share a poem with the girls before they get started.
I will give you an example of a poem that I wrote about overcoming the dysfunctional family I was adopted into. This is my poem, so you may want to use your own that you have written or find one that you like. It is good to share a poem that means something to you personally. Loop Poetry Project has some amazing poems and resources available. It is where I got a lot of my information for doing a poetry class.
By: Heather Bowman
Memories. Fuzzy, black and white.
Fragments of them popping into my mind.
Then disappearing as quickly as they came.
Why can’t I remember?
Pain, suffocating me
Bound by the pain of my past
How do I break free?
Will these scabs ever heal?
Forgive, but how.
It’s so hard.
They’re not sorry.
They’re free, & I’m in the prison of my mind.
I have to try, but it is so hard.
My white knuckles are no longer gripping my past.
I am beginning to let go
the weight from my shoulders is lifting.
The chains have been broken.
I am free;
No longer prisoner to my past.
Forgiveness wasn’t for them; it was for me.
I know myself now.
I am smart. I am beautiful.
I have purpose. I have value.
The lies have been shattered; the truth sets me free.
The world was gray, with a cold rain
Blurry, out of focus, confusing
Now it is beautiful, full of color
I have overcome.
Once you have finished sharing the poem, it is time for the girls to write. They can write whatever is on their heart and/or you can also give them a topic to write about. Chicktime leaders and volunteers should share what they are writing with the girls so the girls will be comfortable in sharing their poems as well. Talk about the meaning behind the poem and why writing this poem is important to you. Allow the girls to come up and share their poems. One girl sharing her poem leads to many girls sharing!
Toward the end, communicate the following about the poems the girls have written:
There are some things that you might want to change because this is your first draft.. You may want to review and edit it., but you don’t have to. It’s your poem. If you like it that way you can just leave it. It’s yours. There is no right or wrong and you don’t need anyone’s approval. That is the beauty of poetry.
DO NOT SEEK APPROVAL FROM OTHER PEOPLE WHEN WRITING POETRY!
THE POEMS ARE FOR YOU; NOT THEM!
Finish by thanking the girls for being brave and sharing their work. Encourage them to keep writing so that they can share more poetry with you next time.
Here is a link to printable instructions and what to do if you are unable to do this through a Zoom conference.