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Poems in the Center

Master List
© 2008 Delia M. Turner, Ph.D.

This list is a work in progress, organized by themes, annotated to show possible elements of poetry, grammatical aspects, and writing prompts for
each poem. The writing prompts are meant to be simple and easy, and serve as starters for a daily five-minute writing time. Poems with an asterisk (*)
are my students’ favorites.

Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts


Ciardi, John The Shark* Animals Rhyme Predicate and - List all the adjectives
Repetition attributive adjectives - Use 2 lines of the poem as a
pattern to write about something else
- Write a rhyming poem warning
someone about something.
McLeod, Irene Lone Dog Animals Rhyme Attributive adjectives - List all the adjectives and whether
Rutherford Rhythm they are predicate or attributive
- Write a poem from the point of
Repetition view of an unhappy animal.
Nash, Ogden The Tale of Custard Animals Ballad Compound sentences. - Write a rhyming poem in which
the Dragon Refrain the end-words have been changed in
order to rhyme.
- Write a poem in which each stanza
is a sentence.
Hughes, Ted Mooses Animals Personification Different types of - Identify five different parts of
adjectives speech used as adjectives
- Write a poem about being lost.
Dunbar, Paul Sympathy Animals Repetition Adjectives - Write about someone whose inside
Laurence Rhyme scheme is different from his outside.
Phillips, Robert The Panic Bird* Animals Diction Concrete nouns - List ten concrete nouns from this
Metaphor poem.
- Describe an emotion as if it were
an animal or other thing.
Tennyson, Alfred, The Kraken* Animals Imagery Adjectives - Choose five of Tennyson’s
Lord adjectives to describe some
everyday event.
- Create your own monster in poem,
story, or list form
Dickinson, Emily XXIV (“A Narrow Animals Ballad form Abstract and concrete - Write about a time you
Fellow”) nouns. encountered something unexpected.
Mass nouns.
Verbals
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Roethke, Theodore The Heron Animals Imagery, Diction Nouns - Observe something closely and
Prepositional phrases write about it as if it were the most
important thing in the world.
Hughes, Ted Hawk Roosting* Animals Voice (Mask) Abstract and concrete - Name four concrete nouns and four
nouns abstract nouns in this poem.
- Write a poem or story about some
animal or thing as if it were
speaking.
Tennyson, Alfred, The Eagle (a Animals Metaphor and simile Verbs - Describe a wild animal using verbs
Lord fragment) that normally are used for human
beings.
Hoban, Russell The Sparrow Hawk Animals Metaphor Nouns - Write a list of metaphors for
something, either using the pattern
“x is y” or using verbs to show the
comparison.
Coleman, Mary Ann If I Were a Hawk Animals Voice Past subjunctive verb - Write an “If I Were” poem.
mood - Write a series of comparisons like
“an umbrella of stars” in the form “a
---- of -----”
Stevens, Wallace Thirteen Ways of Animals Variations Verb person (1st and - List 13 words connected with some
Looking at a 3rd) common thing, animal, person,
place, or idea
Blackbird - Write as many stanzas as you can
about ways to look at a pencil or
other common object.
Angelou, Maya I Know Why the Animals Line length Sentence subject - write about any topic using only
Caged Bird Sings Diction (short words) (“bird”) one-syllable or only two-syllable
words.
(Compare with Conjunctions - Argue in favor of or against
“Sympathy” by keeping animals in captivity.
Dunbar) - Use the poem as a pattern to
compare two different things.
Hopkins, Gerard The Windhover Animals Alliteration Sentence fragments - Choose a letter of the alphabet and
Manley describe something (waking up,
walking the dog, going to school)
with as many words starting with
that letter as possible.
Oliver, Mary The Summer Day Animals Prayer (invocation) Pronouns - Which two lines of this poem do
not have any pronouns in them?
- If you were going to write a prayer,
what would it be and why would
you write it?
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Yeats, William Butler The Cat and the Animals Diction Nouns - Compare something non-living to
Moon Metaphor an animal.
- Use ten nouns from this poem to
write a different poem.
Hughes, Ted Crow’s Fall Animals Denotation and Personal pronouns - Write a list of connotations for the
connotation words “white” and “black”
- Create a legend about the way
(Compare to “The Cat something first happened.
and the Moon” by
Yeats)
Poe, Edgar Allan The Raven Animals Meter (trochaic Verbals (participles) - Write a poem in which all the lines
octameter) end in “-ing.”
Belloc, Hilaire Jim Who Ran Away Animals Ballad Capitalization - “My parents always warned me . . .
from His Nurse and Tetrameter “
- Write a sentence that uses the rules
Was Eaten by a of capitalization backwards.
Lion
Giovanni, Nikki Possum Crossing Animals (Compare with “A Adjectives - “out of the corner of his eye, he
Metaphor Crosses the Ellipsis saw . . .”
- write a poem or song about road
Road” by McFerren Commas (there are kill.
and “Traveling through non) - should animals have the same right
the Dark” by Stafford) to live as humans? Explain.

Dickey, James The Heaven of Animals Stanza length Varying sentence - describe your own heaven or the
Animals* structure heaven of some other thing or
person.
Adverbs - use the words “forever,”
“desperately,” “silently,” and
“again” in a sentence.
Field, Rachel Something Told the Animals Personification Indefinite pronouns - Use the pattern “Something
Wild Geese told . . .” as the base for a poem.
Make it clear what the “something”
is without saying so.
Anonymous I Saw a Peacock Animals Enjambment Capitalization - Write a four-line puzzle poem like
Personal pronouns – this one, in which the poem reads
differently depending on where you
first person singular start in the line.
subjective
Revere, Jonathan Gull Skeleton Animals Form, repetition, rhyme Verb tense – simple - In a poem, rewrite reality to suit
present, present you.
perfect, simple past
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Cisneros, Sandra Abuelito Who* Family & Metaphor and simile Relative pronouns - Write a poem about a father or
Childhood Complex sentences other male relative.
- Write as long a sentence as you
can, using relative pronouns to
create subordinate clauses
Eady, Cornelius One Kind Favor Family & (Compare with Personal and - What things would you want to fix
Childhood “Abuelito Who” by indefinite pronouns if you only had a little while to live?
- Find the two indefinite pronouns in
Cisneros) this poem
Collins, Billy On Turning Ten Family & Irony Pronouns – - Find one example each of four
Childhood (Compare with “Flash demonstrative, types of pronouns in this poem
- What did you believe when you
Cards” by Dove) relative, indefinite were younger that you don’t believe
now?
Thiel, Diane Memento Mori in Family & Metaphor Verb tense – use of - Compare school to heaven, a
Middle School* Childhood Terza rima simple past, past factory, the Olympics, a shopping
mall, or any other complicated
perfect place.

Dove, Rita Flash Cards Family & Imagery Prepositional phrases, - Write a poem about something a
Childhood (Compare with “On personal pronouns parent makes you do.
Turning Ten” by
Collins)
Wright, Judith Legend* Family & Myth Comparative - Why doesn’t the author use
Childhood Ballad adjectives quotation marks to show when
someone is speaking?
(Compare with “I Personal and - Write your own legend—what
started early, took my indefinite pronouns great feat did someone achieve?
dog” by Dickinson)
Roethke, Theodore My Papa’s Waltz* Family & Iambic trimester Pronoun antecedents - Describe an peaceful event or
Childhood Irregular verbs scene as if it were violent, or a
violent event as if it were calm. Use
verbs to achieve the effect.
Kunitz, Stanley The Portrait* Family & Metaphor Verb tense - Write about a painful memory and
Childhood Imagery how it makes you feel right now.
Hayden, Robert Those Winter Family & Enjambment Verbs – irregular - Find one of each type of pronoun
Sundays* Childhood verbs, tense, modals in this poem: personal,
interrogative, relative, indefinite
- Make a list of things people in
your family do that aren’t
appreciated.
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Brooks, Gwendolyn We Real Cool: Family & Enjambment Personal pronouns: - write a poem in which each line
Seven at the Golden Childhood Rhyme and rhythm first person plural ends with the subject of the next.
Shovel subjective
Hayden, Robert The Whipping Family & Perspective shift Pronouns – shift from - Describe together something that is
Childhood third person to first happening now, and something that
happened in the past.
person - Should children be spanked? Why
Punctuation: colon or why not?
and ellipsis
Flynn, Nick Cartoon Physics, Family & Enjambment Pronoun choice - What facts about the world did
Part I* Childhood your parents hide from you?
- Should parents hide things from
children?
Hales, Corinne Power Family & Pronoun antecedents - Describe a prank you or someone
Childhood Verb tense you know played on someone.
- “Everything had gone terribly
wrong . . . “
Stevenson, Robert Bed in Summer* Family & Iambic pentameter Verb infinitives - find an example of a first, second,
Louis Childhood and third person pronoun in this
poem.

Ondaatje, Michael Bearhug Family & Enjambment Questions - Give an emotion an animal’s name
Childhood Simile
Nesbitt, Kenn Brandon Branson’s Family & Rhyme scheme Pronoun antecedents - What do you have in your
Backpack Childhood List poem backpack, and why?
Doggerel
Hemans, Felicia Casabianca* Family & Parody Irregular verbs - Write a parody of “Casabianca” –
Childhood Rhyme scheme “The boy stood on the burning
deck . . . “
Walters, Ricky Children’s Story* Family & Feminine rhyme Pronoun antecedents - Tell a story about an event in your
Childhood Rap as poetry life starting, “Once upon a time . .”
Use of slang
Graves, Robert Warning to Family & Recursive structures Punctuation – ending - “I untied the string . . . “
Children Childhood marks - Write a warning to children.
Nouns of address
Suffixes
Duhamel, Denise When You Forget Family & Similes Pronouns – reflexive - How might a child have to take
to Feed Your Childhood case care of a mother? List the possible
ways.
Gerbil*
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Orr, Gregory Father’s Song Family & Punctuation – - Write a poem about trying to teach
Childhood semicolons, colons, someone caution.
periods, commas
Irwin, Mark My Father’s Hat Family & Compare to “The Verbs: Tense shift, - Write a poem about someone’s
Childhood Whipping” modals, participles, possession so as to describe the
person who owned it. Use sensory
Imagery passive images.
Hughes, Langston Mother to Son Family & Voice Spelling, apostrophes - Write a poem of metaphors,
Childhood Metaphor starting with “Life for me ain’t been
no . . . “
Kooser, Ted Student Family & Metaphor Verb tense, personal - Make a list of things that a
Childhood Relate to “Brandon pronouns backpack could represent.
- Describe some people you know
Branson’s Backpack” (without using names) as if they
by Nesbitt were animals.
Merwin, W.S. Yesterday Family & Enjambment Quotation marks - Find four adverbs in this poem
Childhood Relate to “Abuelito Personal pronouns - Write about a time you missed a
chance. What did you lose? What
Who” by Cisneros and Adverbs did you gain?
“The Portrait” by
Kunitz
Heaney, Seamus Digging Family & Metaphor Adverbs - Write about a relative and his or
Childhood Diction Prepositional phrases her tools
- Choose five prepositional phrases
Compare to “Budapest” Phrasal verbs from the poem and put them into
by Billy Collins your own poem.
Enjambment - Identify five phrasal verbs in the
poem
Gildner, Gary First Practice Family & Narrative Verb tense - How are sports different from the
Childhood rest of life? What is the same?
Make a poem or list or write a
paragraph.
Herrick, Steven Seeing the World Family & Typography First person narrator - “Every _________ or so, when
Childhood Repetition ________ and I are bored with
_______”
- Describe what you see from an
unusual place.
FitzPatrick, Kevin Bicycle Spring Family & Narrative Second person - Tell a story in the second person,
Childhood narrator using the present tense.
Present tense
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
cummings, e.e. anyone lived in a Family & Meter Indefinite pronouns - Identify the protagonists in this
pretty how town Childhood poem and describe their lives.
- write a story in which “someone”
or “no one” or “everybody” is the
protagonist
Frost, Robert “Out, Out--” Family & Narrative Personal pronouns - Look in the news for a story of an
Childhood accident, and write a poem about it.
Riley, James Nine Little Halloween Rhyme scheme Conjunctions - List the pronouns in the fourth
Whitcomb Goblins* Contractions stanza of this poem
- Riley only describes four of the
Pronouns Goblins. What do the other five
look like?
De La Mare, Walter The Listeners Halloween Narrative Irregular verbs - Write a story or poem about a
Ambiguity Conjunctions conversation in which one person
does not speak.
- Who are the “listeners” in this
poem?
Kipling, Rudyard The Way Through Halloween Rhythm Second person - What is the antecedent of “thy,”
the Woods Compare to “The Road narration “it,” and “his” in this poem?
- Write a poem in the second person,
Not Taken” by Frost Conjunctions starting “ If you . . .”
and “The Listeners” by
De La Mare
Dunbar, Paul We Wear the Halloween Metaphor First person plural - What if, on Halloween, the trick-
Laurence Mask* or-treaters were really hiding their
true selves?
- How do people in the world wear
metaphorical masks?
Stevenson, Robert Shadow March Halloween Personification Verb participles - Make a list of things the night
Louis Anapestic rhythm does, and then write a poem based
on your list.
Bryan, Sharon Sweater Weather: Language Nonsense poetry, Phrases and clauses - Find one of the six similes in this
A Love Song to cliché, simile, (only three clauses in poem
- List as many clichés, slang
Language alliteration, Tercets, the poem) phrases, advertising slogans, and
Tetrameter, Internal overused sports phrases as you can
rhyme and make a poem out of them.
- Find one complete clause in this
poem
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Updike, John Player Piano Language Alliteration and Sentence structure - How many sentences are there in
assonance this poem?
- Write a short poem speaking from
Mask the point of view of an object. Use
Personification alliteration.
Quatrains
Grennan, Eamon Cat Scat Language Rhyme (exact and Questions - Find three prepositional phrases in
slant) Prepositional phrases this poem
- What does listening (or smelling or
Line Present participles touching or tasting or seeing) look
length/Enjambment like?
Collins, Billy Budapest Language Metaphor Verbs - Which poem is better, this one or
Simile Prepositional phrases “Digging”? Why?
- My ______ moves like the
Personification _______ of a __________.
Compare to “Digging”
by Heaney
Collins, Billy Winter Syntax Language Personification Sentences - See how many prepositional
Similes and Metaphors Prepositional phrases phrases you can find in this poem
(there are 30 of them)
- Are they functioning as adverbs or
as adjectives?
Hirsch, Edward Fast Break* Language Elegy Sentence structure - How many sentences are in this
Prepositional phrases poem? (Answer: one)
- Write the longest sentence you can,
using conjunctions and prepositional
phrases
- Write a story using metaphors
from a game
Kowit, Steve The Grammar Language Villanelle Parts of speech - Write a sentence using the same
Lesson* word as an adjective, a noun, and a
verb.
- Find three lines that play with
words.
Pereira, Peter Anagrammer Language Diction “If” conditional - How many words can you make
from the letters in the word
“anagrammer”? (+40)
-What would the poem mean if you
changed (or removed) the
conjunction “if”?
McKenzie, Duncan “I” Before “E” Language Doggerel Spelling – shows that - List five words that do work for
Except After “C” the rule as given is the rule “I before e except after c”
not correct for many
English words
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Scannell, Vernon The Sentence Language Analogy Sentences - Write “A sentence is . . .” and list
Metaphor Imperative Mood as many nouns as you can think of
that a sentence resembles.
Nesbitt, Kenn I Have to Write a Language Poem writing Verb tense – simple - “I have to write a poem, but . . . “
Poem future - using a rhyming dictionary, find
four sets of rhyming words and
Infinitive phrases write a poem using them.
Carroll, Lewis Jabberwocky* Language Nonsense poetry Parts of speech - Act out the nouns and verbs in this
(Dodgson, Charles) Sentence structure poem. How do you know which
part of speech is which?
Simpson, Louis American Poetry Language Metaphor Pronouns and - What’s going on with this poem?
Poem writing prepositional phrases What does it mean? Why does the
author choose those things? What is
he comparing poetry to?
Herbert, Zbigniew The Pebble Language Metaphor Adverb “not” - The poet says the pebble can’t be
Simile Prepositional phrases compared to anything else, but he is
comparing it to something. What is
it?
Krysl, Marilyn Saying Things Language Sound Nouns - Open a book, any book, from the
shelves, and copy out twenty nouns.
Arrange them into a poem.
Francis, Robert Silent Poem Language Diction Nouns - Is this a silent poem? Why or why
Rhythm not? Why does it have this title?
Alliteration
Assonance
Fields, Kenneth Passive Voice Language Enjambment Passive voice - Find three examples of the passive
voice in this poem.
- Write a poem about something in
the news.
- Why does the author use the
passive voice in this poem?
Donne, John Death Be Not Death Personification Case - 2nd person - Write out this poem in modern
Proud* Apostrophe singular personal English
- Write a poem of your own using
Sonnet pronoun (archaic Donne’s spelling (poore, sleepe,
thou/thee/thy) doe, goe, poison, etc.)
Millay, Edna St. Dirge without Death Synecdoche Adverb “not” - Write a poem or list of things you
Vincent Music Repetition Effect of starting are not or things you will not do.
sentences with “but”
or “and”
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Dickinson, Emily XXVII (Because I Death Personification Adverbs - In the first two lines of the poem,
could not stop for find the adverb.
- Write a poem or story in which
Death)* something (school, hatred,
homework, boredom, or any other
such thing) is personified.
Thomas, Dylan Do not go gentle Death Villanelle Imperative mood - Tell someone not to do something
into that good (you can use the adverb “never” and
contractions if you want to)
night.*
Hughes, Langston Life is Fine Death Repetition Adverbs - Write a song or a rap about
Refrain something you decided not to do.
MacNeice, Louis Prayer before Birth Death Internal rhyme Imperative mood - Who is the speaker? To whom is
he speaking? Why do you think so?
Swenson, May Question Death Metaphor Punctuation (question - Where should the missing
Rhyme mark) punctuation marks go in this poem,
and what kind are they? Why did
the author leave most of them out?
Merwin, A.S. For the Anniversary Death Simile Appositives - In the first stanza, what are the
of my Death Metaphor Participles three subjects and the three verbs in
the three clauses?
- What anniversaries do you
celebrate in the cycle of the year?
Tennyson, Alfred, Charge of the Light War and Heroes Narrative poetry Sentence structure - What are the subject and the verb
Lord Brigade* Word order of the first stanza?
- Into the (noun) of (abstract noun)
rode the (number) . . .
Whitman, Walt O Captain! My Heroes & War Apostrophe Interjections - Find a line in which the poet uses
Captain! Typography Imperative mood the imperative mood.
- Write a poem about the death of a
Punctuation famous figure.
Longfellow, Henry Excelsior Heroes & War Refrain Word order - What is the subject and verb of
Wadsworth Ballad Form “From his lips escaped a groan.”?
Put the sentence in normal order.
- We heard a cry from outside . . .
Nye, Naomi Shihab Famous Heroes & War Refrain and variation Sentence structure - How many things are famous in
Linking Verbs pattern the poem?
- Write a poem in the pattern (noun)
Passive voice is (adjective) to the (noun)
Longfellow, Henry The Village Heroes & War Eulogy Sentence Structure - Choose a sentence from the poem
Wadsworth Blacksmith* Word order and list its simple subject and simple
verb
- Write a eulogy about someone in a
hard job
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Dickinson, Emily XXVII (I’m Heroes & War Iambic trimester Pronouns (personal, - Write a story or poem from the
Nobody! Who are indefinite, point of view of Nobody
you?) interrogative)
Longfellow, Henry Christmas Bells Heroes & War Refrain Sentence structure - Find a clause in this poem and list
Wadsworth the subject and predicate.
- Write a poem (anti-war, pro-war,
or other) using a common phrase as
a refrain.
Arnold, Matthew Dover Beach Heroes & War Stanza length Subject-verb pattern - Compare a sound in nature to a
Tone (melancholy) Intransitive verbs sound made by human beings, or
vice versa
Linking verbs
Correlative
conjunction
neither/nor
Owen, Wilfred Dulce et Decorum Heroes & War Imagery Compound predicate - “Dulce et decorum est pro patria
Est* Iambic pentameter Pronouns mori” was a truism Owen rejected.
Think of a modern-day truistm and
give a strong example of a reason to
reject (or accept) it.
Neruda, Pablo Keeping Quiet Heroes & War Imagery Verb tense: simple - Why twelve? What comes in
future, future twelve? Make a list of ten things
that come in twelves.
conditional (would - How many different kinds of
be), simple present silence are there?
- If you had the power, what would
you make the world do?
Reed, Henry Naming of Parts Heroes & War Voice Verbals – gerunds - Name the parts of some complex
and participles object – a machine, a room, a group,
a sport. – and make it into a poem.
Adverbs - What do you think about when
Indefinite pronoun other people are talking?
“this”
Hall, Jim Maybe Dats Youwr Heroes & War Persona Diction - Write about the downside of being
Pwoblem Too Voice a hero.
- What parts of speech ar”extwa,”
Dialect “evwybody,” “booglar,” and
Compare to “acwoss?” How do you know?
“Jabberwocky” by
Caroll.
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
H.D. (Doolittle, Hilda) Helen Heroes & War Rhyme Scheme Sentence structure - What is the subject of the sentence
Metonymy or in each stanza?
- Write a poem describing someone
Synecdoche famous who is hated.
(Compare to “The face
that launch’d a
thousand ships” by
Marlowe)
Marlowe, Christopher The face that Heroes & War Hyperbole Interrogative, - In the poem, identify an indicative
launch’d a thousand Simile (Compare to imperative, and sentence, a question, and an
imperative sentence in this poem
ships “Helen” by H.D.) declarative (or - Write a poem speaking to someone
indicative) sentences. in hyperbolic statements (for
Verb tense instance, to a teacher trying to
convince him or her to give you a
better grade)
Millay, Edna St. An Ancient Gesture Heroes & War Classical allusion First and second - Compare yourself to a famous
Vincent person narrator Trojan War character in some way.
How are you alike? How are you
Punctuation – colon, different?
semicolon, comma,
period, dash
Daniells, Roy Noah Heroes & War Italian sonnet Coordinating - Tell the story of the end of the
“turn” or “verso” conjunction “and” world from the point of view of
the only survivor
Compound sentences - Write two compound sentences
Personal pronoun ending with the same rhyme
antecedents - “They gathered around and told
him . . . “
Merwin, A.S. Odysseus Heroes & War Mythic Allusions Expletive “there” - What is the subject of the sentence
(Compare to “Ulysses” Subjects of sentences “There were the islands”?
- What is the subject of the sentence
by Tennyson) “Always the setting forth was the
same?
- He couldn’t remember . . .
Tennyson, Alfred, Ulysses Heroes & War Mythic Allusions Prepositional phrases - “How dull it is to pause, to make
Lord Dramatic monologue an end,/To rust unburnishe’d, not
to shine in use!” Do you agree or
(Compare to disagree? Why?
“Odysseus” by
Merwin)
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Thayer, Ernest Casey at the Bat* Heroes & War Hubris Expletive “there” - Write the description of a famous
Lawrence Verb tense recent sports loss, or the failure
of an athlete.
- What qualities of Casey were
heroic, and what qualities
weren’t?
Browning, Robert How They Brought Heroes & War Ballad Verb tense – simple - “I was the only one who knew—I
the Good News Anapestic tetrameter past had to tell them before it was too
late . . .”
from Ghent to Aix (same as “Star
Spangled Banner” and
“The Night Before
Christmas”)
Sandburg, Carl Grass Heroes & War Mask Verb mood – - What do Austerlitz, Waterloo,
(Compare to “At the imperative, Gettysburg, Ypres, and Verdun
have in common?
Un-National indicative, - What is the “work” some other
Monument Along the interrogative common thing has to do in war?
Canadian Border” by
Stafford)
Stafford, William At the Un-National Heroes & War Rhyme scheme Relative adverb - Write three sentences in the
Monument Along “where” pattern: “This is the _____ where
the _________ did not
the Canadian _________.”
Border-
Lowell, Amy The Wind Weather Personification Repeating clause - What is the tone of this poem?
Refrain structure - Rewrite a stanza of the poem to
make it gloomy, angry, or
(Compare to “Wind” Active voice impatient
by Ted Hughes)
Hughes, Ted Wind Weather Metaphor Compound-Complex - Use ten of the specific words in
Simile sentence structure this poem in a poem of your own.
- Is this poem better or worse than
Lowell’s “The Wind”? Why?
Christopher, Nicholas Through the Weather Narrative Prepositional phrases - List three verbs in this poem that
Window of the All- have direct objects and three
verbs in this poem that do not
Night Restaurant have direct objects.
- Describe a common setting in a
mysterious way.
Frost, Robert Bereft Weather Rhyme scheme Noun clauses - Imagine the weather intends you
Metaphor Transitive and harm, and tell a story about it
Tone intransitive verbs
Diction
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Lampman, Archibald A Thunderstorm Weather Sonnet Sentence structure - Write two sentences in which the
Simile verb comes before the subject
- Describe the moment when
Metaphor everything changed.
Frost, Robert Desert Places Weather Rhyme scheme Sentence structure - How do you scare yourself? In
Tetrameter what way?
Personification
Wilbur, Richard Boy at the Window Weather (Compare to “The Verbals (gerund) - What is the fear surrounding the
Snowman” by William child? Is it the same fear as in
Frost’s “Desert Places”?
Carlos Williams)
Williams, William The Snowman Weather Imagery Impersonal pronoun - How many sentences are in this
Carlos (Compare to “Boy at “one” poem? (one)
- Who is the person in the poem?
the Window” by Sentence structure
Richard Wilbur)
McGough, Roger The Trouble with Weather Rhyme scheme Punctuation (single - Which poem is the best—“Boy at
Snowmen (compare to “Boy at quotation marks) the Window,” “The Snowman,”
or “The Trouble with
the Window” by Snowmen”? Why?
Wilbur and “The
Snowman” by
Williams)
Berman, David Snow Weather Simile Verb tense - Tell about a time when you tried to
Metaphor frighten another person
Bridges, Robert London Snow Weather Metaphor Present participles - Describe a war you have waged
Rhyme scheme Adverbs with something not human
Imagery
Frost, Robert Stopping by Woods Weather Iambic tetrameter Nested clauses - Write a poem in aaba rhyme
on a Snowy Rhyme scheme Infinitives scheme
- Use ten different infinitives in a
Evening* End-stopped lines Indirect object rhythmic poem
cummings, e.e. In Just- Weather Repetition Conjunctions - Write a poem or story with unusual
Typography Independent clauses capitalization, punctuation,
spacing, and indentation. Have a
Classical allusions reason for doing it.
Hughes, Langston Dream Deferred Dreams Rhyme Scheme Auxiliary verb “to - Use this poem as a pattern – “What
(Compare to “A Dream do” for question happens to . . . .”
Lies Dead” by Parker) construction.
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Parker, Dorothy A Dream Lies Dead Dreams Italian sonnet Modal verbs may, - What is the difference between
Metaphor (conceit) can, and must “may” “must” and “can”?
- Describe a dream you have
Verb tense (present) surrendered or one you refuse to
surrender.
Hughes, Langston Dream Variations Dreams Rhyme Verb infinitives - List 4 infinitives and 2 present
Variations Fragments tense verbs in this poem.
- Start a poem with an infinitive –
“To ____”
Poe, Edgar Allan A Dream Within a Dreams Metaphor Verb tense (present - Is all that we see or seem But a
Dream Repetition and present perfect) dream within a dream? Why or
why not?

Hughes, Langston Dreams Dreams Metaphor Verb tense (simple - How many clauses are in the first
Quatrains present) stanza of this poem?
- Make a list of ten metaphors
Dimeter Conjunctions starting “Life is . . . .”
Rhyme scheme Compound sentences
Norman, Peter Awake Dreams Quatrains Verb tense (simple - Where does this poem change verb
ABBA rhyme scheme past) tense, and why?
- Use familiar machines as
metaphors in a story about
vacations, holidays, accidents,
injuries, or family arguments.
Meredith, William The Fear of Beasts Dreams Sonnetina Verb tense (simple - Write a story in which a dream or
present, simple nightmare comes alive.
- Name two verb tenses in this
present, simple poem.
future)
Modal verb must
Imperative mood
Pinsky, Robert Vessel Dreams Slant rhyme Verb tenses - Make a list of metaphors for your
Rhyme scheme Present participles body when it is asleep. Write a
poem extending one of those
Couplets Rhetorical questions metaphors.
Metaphor - Make a list of rhetorical questions.
Noyes, Alfred The Highwayman Outlaws, Pirates, Alliteration and Verb tense change - Tell a very short story (ghost story,
& the Sea assonance adventure, or mystery) in the past
tense and then switch to the
Rhyme scheme present tense at the end.
Simile
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Masefield, John A Ballad of John Outlaws, Pirates, Trochaic octometer Passive voice (“She - Describe something bad that you
Silver & the Sea (Compare to Poe’s was boarded, she was or someone else did, but use the
passive voice. (“Mistakes were
“Raven”) looted, she was made!”)
Rhyme scheme scuttled till she
Quatrains sank”)
Alliteration
End-stopped
Lee, Dennis Bloody Bill Outlaws, Pirates, Iambic trimester Verb tense: simple - Choose a public figure (an athlete,
& the Sea Rhyme scheme ABAB past for narrative, a politician, an actor, a celebrity)
and imagine that person talking
Internal Rhyme present imperative to the way the narrator does in this
Light verse address the reader poem. Write what he or she says.
Masefield, John Cargoes Outlaws, Pirates, Diction Verbals – no actual - Describe lunch, recess, class
& the Sea Alliteration verbs in this poem, change, or class using only
participial phrases.
Rhyme scheme only participial
phrases
Nesbitt, Kenn My Excuse Outlaws, Pirates, Doggerel Verbs – past - Write an outrageous excuse for
& the Sea Monotonous meter and progressive, simple forgetting your homework,
missing a test, or goofing off
rhyme past, present, passive during class.
Compound and
complex sentences
Smith, Stevie Not Waving but Outlaws, Pirates, Metaphor or analogy Third person and first - How do you know who is speaking
Drowning* & the Sea Slant rhyme person shift in this poem?
- “He was waving, and I thought . . .
Omission of “
quotation marks –
showing speech
Indefinite pronouns
Stevenson, Robert Pirate Story Outlaws, Pirates, Quatrains Prepositional phrases - Did you pretend when you were
Louis & the Sea Trimester Present participles young? Describe what you did as
if it was real.
“Shall” and “will” - List the verbs in this poem that are
auxiliary verbs in the present progressive tense.
Masefield, John Sea-Fever Outlaws, Pirates, Falling and rising Lists - Find the gerund in this poem.
& the Sea rhymes Conjunctions - The poet says “All I ask” but he
asks for a lot. How many things
Alliteration Compound object of does he ask for?
preposition - Write a poem asking for what you
want.
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Wylie, Elinor Sea Lullaby Outlaws, Pirates, Conceit (sea as Appositves - Find the passive voice verb in this
& the Sea murderer) Verb tense – shift poem.
- Why is this poem creepy?
Quatrains from present to past
2-syllable and 1- to present
syllable rhyme
Parker, Dorothy Song of Perfect Outlaws, Pirates, Octets Repetitive structure - List eight infinitives in this poem.
Propriety & the Sea Rhyme scheme Infinitives - Why does the narrator describe
herself as a “little lady”? What is
Alternating meter Modal verbs should the tone of the poem?
(tetrameter and and would
trimester)
Refrain
Meigs, Mildred Plew The Pirate Don Outlaws, Pirates, Refrain Prepositional phrases - Use one of the stanzas in this poem
Durk of Dowdee & the Sea Light verse as a pattern for a funny poem
about a person, real or imaginary.
Ballad
Alliteration and
repetation
Dickinson, Emily XIX (I Started Outlaws, Pirates, Extended metaphor Simple past tense - Choose a stanza, and identify the
early, took my dog) & the Sea Simile subject and the verb.
- “I started early, took my _____ . . .
Quatrains in ballad
stanza
Poe, Edgar Allan Annabel Lee Outlaws, Pirates, Rhythm Relative clause - Choose a sentence from this poem.
& the Sea Tone Compound sentences How many clauses does it have?
Repetition
Rhyme (internal and
end)

McFerren, Martha A Metaphor Decisions Metaphor Compound verbs, - What is the metaphor in this poem?
Crosses the Road (Compare to compound objects - Describe a time you or someone
you know hit something with a
“Traveling through the Verb tense and mood car.
Dark” by Stafford and
“Possum Crossing” by
Giovanni)
Stafford, William Traveling through Decisions (Compare to “A Verbals - Of the six present participles (“-
the Dark Metaphor Crosses the Verb tense ing”) in this poem, which two are
gerunds?
Road” by McFerren
and “Possum Crossing”
by Giovanni)
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Henley, William Invictus* Decisions Metaphor Prepositional phrases - Choose a sentence in this poem
Ernest Simile (starting sentences) and identify the subjects and
verbs.
Tetrameter - You are a mass murderer
condemned to death. What poem
do you choose to give to the
newspapers as your statement?
Frost, Robert The Road Not Decisions Iambic tetrameter Sentence structure - Find a gerund in this poem
Taken* - Write a poem set in the future,
talking about a decision you
made in the past and how it
affected your life.
- How many lines long is the first
sentence in this poem?
Collins, Billy Another Reason Decisions Analogy Modal verbs - Find a verb in: simple future,
Why I Don’t Keep Verb tense present progressive, simple
present, past perfect, simple past.
a Gun in the House - “The _____ will not stop
_________ing . . .”
Frost, Robert The Armful Decisions Iambic pentameter Verb tense - List five infinitives in this poem
Infinitives and identify whether they are
used as adverbs or nouns.
Pronouns (personal - Describe a situation in which you
and indefinite) are juggling a metaphorical
armful.
Atwood, Margaret Provisions Decisions Line length Modal verbs - When did the decision in the poem
Enjambment (“should, could”) take place?
- What would you take with you?
Sentence structure - How many sentences long is this
poem?
Pinsky, Robert Shirt Justice Triplets Sentence fragments - Choose a common object—a paper
Enjambment clip, a pencil, a phone, a dollar
bill—and write a poem about it.
Imagery (Note: This poem is worth a week)
Nye, Naomi Shihab For Mohammed Justice Word play Expletive “there” - Write a poem about a victim
Zeid, Age 15 Verb tense - To whom is the writer speaking in
this poem?
- Does it make a difference to you
that this poem is about an Israeli
army officer being convicted in
the killing of a Palestinian boy?
Author Title Theme Elements of Poetry Grammar Writing prompts
Angelou, Maya Still I Rise Justice Simile Suffix –ness - Make five adjectives into nouns
Metaphor Verb tense using the suffixes –ness, -itude,
-ity, -ance, -ence, -ship, or –hood.
Rhyme & Repetition Use them to make a poem.
- Write a chant poem in which you
are declaring something.
Du Bois, W.E.B. The Song of the Justice Repetition (anaphora) Verb tense - Write three sentences in the
Smoke Rhyme scheme present progressive with the same
subject. Use them as the start of
a poem.
- Declare all the things you are,
using this poem as a pattern.
Angelou, Maya Alone Justice Metaphor Different ways of - “Lying, thinking/Last night . . . “
Rhyme indicating future
Rhythm using verb tense
Brooks, Gwendolyn The Bean Eaters Justice Variation Capitalization
Aspectual verb “to
keep"