Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Poetry Stretch - Mask/Persona Poem

In my Poetry Friday post I shared a poem from the book DOGS AND DRAGONS, TREES AND DREAMS by Karla Kuskin.
Published in 1980, Kuskin wrote:
An Introduction Children May Feel Free To Ignore 
The double purpose of this introduction is to bring together poems I wrote for children between 1958 and 1975 and to discuss the process of introducing poetry to children.
Throughout the book the poems are prefaced with insights into the nature of reading, writing, and appreciating poetry. Here's an example.
As you read a poem aloud listen to the sounds of the words. They have infinite variety. There are short, brittle sounds, soft rolling sounds, stuttering sounds and the sibilance of many s's, long liquid sounds flowing with o's. In some poems there is not so much sense as sound.
Near the end of the book Kuskin shares a number of mask or persona poems. The preface to this collection reads:
The following five poems do not have titles. As you read each poem you will figure out what it is describing. Each one tells how it would feel to be something other than yourself.
I've read a lot of descriptions of mask poems. I think I like this one best. Here's one of the poems she shared.

If you,
Like me,
Were made of fur
And sun warmed you,
Like me,
You'd purr.

You can read more about persona poems (and teaching them) at the Poetry Foundation.

I hope you will join me this week in writing a mask/persona poem. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. I love mask poems! I wrote all my riddle-ku during April as mask poems. Here's one:

    I’m the mountain’s crumb
    hard and old, jagged or smooth

    Broken Beautiful

    I don't have this book, Tricia--must look for it! Thanks:>)

  2. Small and neat
    I have quick feet
    that take me marching
    to something sweet
    with my sister
    and my sister
    and my sister
    who are also
    small and neat
    and can carry
    something sweet.

    —Kate Coombs, 2014
    all rights reserved

  3. Kate this intrigues me. I love the cadence? Is there a place the persona is revealed. I

    I handle book bags, flowers,
    Hot and cold meals,
    Without an complaint –
    That is the deal.

    (c) Charles Waters 2014 all rights reserved.