Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday Poetry Stretch - Animal Poems

In The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach, Deborah Digges suggests the following writing activity.
Write a poem in which an animal figures prominently. As you decide on your subject, consider an animal that fascinates, even confuses you, one that incites in you wonder, perhaps even fear. Brainstorm a bit, taking quick notes on any particular experiences you've had or heard about in relationship to that animal. Reread stories, fairy tales, biology texts, in which your animal appears. Go look at it if you can, or study its features in a book. You might also trace the etymology of its name to discover new facts and information that might trigger your imagination.
I wrote a lot of poems about animals for my students when I was teaching middle school. I still like to write poems about them. Here's one I wrote about bats.
Nocturnal navigator
aerial magician
and flip
and grab
erratic flights of fancy

Not feathered
on the wing
This is a topic about which much can be written. So, that's it. Your challenge is to write a poem about an animal. Leave me a note about your work and I'll post the results here later this week. Have fun!


  1. An old poem, published within the body of an article:


    "Live like the velvet mole. . ." Elinor Wylie

    Mole in his hole,
    The soft brown of old rubbed velvet,
    Wrinkles up dirt through the night.
    Does he daydream of grass
    Or the roots of grass?
    Does he listen to beetles passing?
    Does he recognize in his blind way
    The pink ribbony worms?
    Or are his thoughts
    As dark, as deep
    As velvet tunnels,
    As velvet sleep?

    --Jane Yolen

  2. Tricia,

    I decided to revisit an old animal mask poem about a toucan for your Poetry Stretch this week. I had changed the ending of the poem a number of times--but was never happy with it. I did a bit more research to see if I could get some fresh ideas for the poem--and maybe write a better ending. Here's the URL for my post:

    It's great to have you back blogging. My thoughts have been with you and your family.

  3. I've been lurking on your blog for a while. I really enjoy your insights and the links that you have. P.S. Is that the real Jane Yolen that commented above?!