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Writing poems with Joshua Seigal

Raspberry Pi Competition

In this activity, our guest creator, award winning professional poet, Joshua Seigal, will get you to look at different poetry styles and create your own poem about your favourite place. Full details on how to submit your poem to win the Raspberry Pi are found in the share section.

Nurture these skills: What's This?

What You Will Need

1. Neurons account

2. Pencil or pen

3. Paper or notebook

What is a Raspberry Pi

Before you get into the task of creating your poem you may want to know more about the fabulous prize on offer. Take a look through this link, we guarantee you’ll love the thought of owning a Raspberry Pi computer.

Join us

If you haven’t already registered your free Neurons account, please do so now. You will need the help of your parents to do this. Every Full Neurons membership includes a free 60-day trial period, so you won’t need to pay a thing! You can use this link to register. It will open in a new tab so you won’t lose your place here.

Looking at poetry

You are going to have a go at writing a poem. Before you do this, it is a good idea to read some poems, and perhaps watch some being performed. The good news is that poems are normally quite short, so if you don’t like one you can easily just go on to the next one until you find something you like. When you read (or watch) the poems, pay attention to the ways in which they are different. Also, how are they similar? And what sorts of emotions did they make you feel?

Check out these poems

Joshua Seigal 

Joshua is a professional poet with lots of free poems available to read and watch on his website, which you can find here: www.joshuaseigal.co.uk 

Neal Zetter

Neal has hundreds of free poems to view on his website. You could literally spent hours (if you want) enjoying his quirky, relatable poems here: www.cccpworkshops.co.uk 

Kenn Nesbitt

Kenn is a very famous American poet. Most of his poems are funny, and they rhyme. Remember that poetry does not have to be either of these things, but nonetheless Kenn has some wonderful poems, which can be viewed here: www.poetry4kids.com

CLPE

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education have some fantastic poems to both read and watch on their website here: www.clpe.org.uk 

Children’s Poetry Archive

This is a fantastic resource where you can hear some of the world’s best children’s poets reading their work out loud. Check it out here: https://childrens.poetryarchive.org

YouTube

Obviously there are many poems to watch on Youtube. Have a browse and see if you can find something you like. Perhaps get an adult to help you select something appropriate.

The Library

Go down to your local library and take a look in the poetry section. It will probably be very dusty, so keep your mask on! Spend some time there flicking through the books, and making a mental note of all the different styles of poetry you find!

 

Celebrate

Let's Celebrate

Hopefully you’ve now found plenty of poems you like. What styles did you find? Which were your favourites?

Get your parents to share your poem with us on Instagram or Facebook and tag @neuronscreativeworld as we’re picking random winners to win prizes!

Register

If you still haven’t already registered your free Neurons account, please do so now. You will need the help of your parents to do this. Every Full Neurons membership includes a free 60-day trial period, so you won’t need to pay a thing! You can use this link to register. It will open in a new tab so you won’t lose your place here.

Let's get going!

Once you have explored a variety of poetry, hopefully you will have discovered that it can be interesting, and that it can be about anything. What you will need to do next is think of something to write your poem about. It is a good idea to always write about something you are interested in, that you care about. 

Favourite place

With all this in mind, spend some time thinking about your favourite place. It could be a big place, like London or China. It could be a small place, like your bedroom or garden. It could be a place that really exists, like the swimming pool, or it could be a place that exists only in your imagination, like Unicorn Candy Land.

Gathering ideas

If your place really exists and is easily accessible, why not go to it and gather some ideas? You could go down to the swimming pool and make some notes, or you could go out into the garden and hunt for some interesting objects, like flowers or pebbles. If your place is far away you could do some research about it online. You could draw pictures of your place, or just spend some time there having fun. 

The five senses

These are some of your most crucial poetry writing ingredients. When you think of your favourite place, make a list of all the things you can SEE, TASTE, TOUCH, SMELL and HEAR. You could write in full sentences or just in individual words, it is up to you.

Chorus

When you read a selection of poems, you might have noticed that some of them had choruses, otherwise known as a refrain. You might like to think of a chorus for your poem, a catchy line that gets repeated throughout the piece. It could be something like: ‘Super swimming pool’, or ‘the playground of my dreams.’

An example

Here is an example of a poem about a place, Down in Madagascar. It comes from Joshua’s book, Yapping Away. You may even have read this poem on his website:

 

Down In Madagascar

 

Down in Madagascar

See the ring-tail leap

Down in Madagascar

Hear the aye-aye eep 

Down in Madagascar

Smell the salty sea

Down in Madagascar

Touch the baobab tree

Down in Madagascar 

Taste the sweet mofo

Down to Madagascar 

Is the place to go!

‘Mofo’ is a type of sweet bread from Madagascar, which is an island just off the coast of Africa. Notice the repetition in the poem, and how Joshua incorporated the five senses. You might like to use a similar structure. 

Have a go!

Using your own ideas, and perhaps using some of the poems you have read as examples, now is the time to have a go at writing your own poem! Remember:

  • Poems can be long or short
  • They could tell a story, or just be a list of descriptions
  • They could rhyme, but they don’t have to 
  • They could be funny, sad, or anything in between
  • They should always include the word ‘snargle’. (This last one isn’t true.)
Celebrate

Let's Celebrate

Now you’ve written a poem, well done!

Get your parents/carers to share your poem with us on Instagram or Facebook and tag @neuronscreativeworld as we’re picking random winners to win prizes!

Write more poems

Now you have had a go at writing a poem, you could try another, and another, and another! If your first poem rhymed, you could try writing a non-rhyming one. If your first poem was funny, you could try writing a sad one. The possibilities are, quite literally,  endless!

Get your parents to share your poem with us on Instagram/Facebook tagged @neuronscreativeworld as we’re picking random winners to win prizes!’

Celebrate

Let's Celebrate

You’re building a collection of your own poems, fantastic!

Get your parents/carers to share your poem with us on Instagram or Facebook and tag @neuronscreativeworld as we’re picking random winners to win prizes!

You are now officially a poet! Congratulations! You have written a poem using some essential poetry writing ingredients and gone on to write a selection of poems. You have also read and watched some poetry, so you are truly a connoisseur of the art form. You should feel super proud of yourself.

Share

To enter the Raspberry Pi competition, please ask your parents to email your completed poem to us using this link. Please note that you must have an active Neurons account to claim the prize. We suggest you send your poem using the same email address that your Neurons account is registered with.

Outside of our competition, you may also want to consider sharing your work as follows:

  • Practise performing the poem (maybe using actions) until you know it off by heart
  • Get your parents or another adult to film you performing it 
  • Put a collection of poems together into a notebook, which you can then design and decorate
  • Share your poems with friends, classmates and family 
  • Put your poems on a blog
  • Get your parents/carers to share your poem with us on Instagram or Facebook and tag @neuronscreativeworld as we’re picking random winners to win prizes!

checkmark COMPLETE PROJECT