POETRY IN PROSE: USING POETIC TECHNIQUES IN EXPOSITORY PROSE
(A four-hour workshop ideal for summer school)
© Pegi Deitz Shea 2015
OBJECTIVE: To improve students’ motivation, confidence and skills in multiple forms of writing, and to empower them to use their writings for activism.
METHOD: Students will be:
1) Approaching and considering a topic through song lyrics/poetry.
2) Responding to literature by writing poetry on topic.
3) Critiquing and revising their work with poetic techniques.
4) Mapping an expository approach to the same topic.
5) Drafting an expository prose piece, using their poetic language and techniques.
6) Revising prose using those techniques.
AGENDA of POETRY WORKSHOP: “In and Out of Context: Poems on Race Relations”
(All minute estimations below depend upon number of students in workshop. These figures account for 6-8 students, and may vary in practice. We’ll break after step 5)
Warm-up Brainstorming Game: Assonance, Consonance, Alliteration, 20 mins.*
1. Meditation and short discussion on Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” (I have CD & lyrics.) Identification of poetic techniques in song. 10 mins.
2. Students respond to excerpts of poems (I provide) on race by writing poems of their own. They can use the excerpts if they want (allusion). 20 mins.
3. Share and critique first drafts/beginnings. Teachable skills, e.g. metaphoric language, rhetoric, enjambment (breaking lines) woven in on board. 40-50 mins.
4. First revisions – finding opportunities for, and implementing assonance, consonance, enjambment, etc. 20 mins.
5. Comparison of their new poems to the complete poems excerpted earlier. 20 mins.
6. Students identify a specific expository topic and stance in their poems, and come up with a thesis for an expository piece. Discuss formats, goal, audience, e.g. an essay bringing awareness to a problem (in school? In town? In world?) Knowing your audience helps to determine format—essay in school newspaper? A narrative about someone facing a problem which needs to be addressed? Letter to editor of local newspaper? Letter to a congressional rep? Do you want to persuade people to act? Then write a few paragraphs why for a petition to be signed by others. If you want to motivate people to take specific actions, explain those measures and how they will succeed. Draft the prose piece. 30-40 mins.
7. Share and critique. 30 mins.
8. Revise and share if time allows. 20 mins.
9. Use your works!!!! Submit them to literary magazines, newspapers, blogs, websites, etc.