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Poetry that Pops!!!
Playing with Words: Poetry that POPS!!! : Part 2: Polishing Your Poems

Wild & Wonderful World of Words

Playing with Words:
Poetry that POPS!!!

Part 2: Polishing Your Poems — Editing & Creating a Poetry Book

continued from part 1

By Molly Anderson-Childers

Today, we’re going to talk about polishing your poems until they shine like rare jewels — also known as editing! Then, we’ll work together to create a fabulous book filled with your poetry and artwork. Ready… set… GO!!!

The Five Minute Muse’s Editing Workshop… Just 4 Kidz!

Ingredients for a Fabulous Poem-Cake:

  • Colored Fine-Line Pens
  • Stickers
  • Scissors
  • Clean Paper
  • Words from Your Word-Pool
  • Poems, journal entries, free-writing and random scribblings from your writer’s notebook
  • A friend or 2

How to Bake a Poem-Cake:

First, find the right kitchen to cook in! Every chef is different, and should try out several different editing test kitchens in order to find out where you’re most comfortable cooking up a masterpiece! Do you prefer a desk, or a park bench? Music in the background, or silence? A public place with lots of people to watch, or a private one? Try everything! Find out what you like best…this will help you to stick with the editing process (even though it’s hard and scary sometimes…) and have fun doing it!

Now, look through your notebook or journal for colorful words or ideas that paint images in your mind. Anything that makes you laugh, feel excited and curious, or affects you strongly might become part of a poem or a story. Highlight or underline these hidden treasures with a colored pen, or mark your favorite passages with a symbol you like… I use stars! Stickers can also be helpful in the editing process. You can use them to organize your work, color-coding your ideas, or just decorate it! Find a system that you love, and use it!

Next, blend your ideas with some of your friends’ brainstorms… add your favorite words from the Word-Pool, and stir briskly! You can read each others’ work, offer suggestions and help, and share your opinions. This can be a little scary at first… when I share work for the first time with a new friend, I think…What if they don’t like it? What if it’s just a horrible poem? What if I don’t know it’s a horrible poem and everyone else knows, but won’t tell me? Push these fears aside, and begin. As a poet, you must begin to learn how to let your work outside of yourself… to let go of the result, and enjoy someone else’s honest opinion of it — even if it isn’t a rave review, you can figure out what works and what doesn’t, and use that knowledge to write even better poems in the future!

Write down your favorite words, brightest ideas, and most fabulous phrases on some clean paper. Cut them up, mix well, and simmer… rearrange them on new pieces of paper until a poem appears, them use stickers to hold them in place! Play with a friend, or get a group together and throw a Poetry Party! Create collaborative poems, mix everyone’s ideas together, and see how many poems you can create from this fabulously artistic blend. Repeat this process several times, until you have about half a dozen poems for your book-making project.

Creating a Poetry Book

Now, let’s create a book together! You will need two postcards (the same size, please), scissors, a glue stick, and a roll of adding-machine tape for the pages. This type of paper is perfect for an accordion-style book, because you can make it as long as you want!

First, glue one end of the roll of paper to the back of one of your postcards. It should be centered, running from one side of the card to the other, with a little room on each side to spare. Fold the paper back on itself, matching up the edges each time as you fold it back and forth like a fan. When you have plenty of pages for your poems and artwork, cut the strip of paper and glue the last page to the back of the second postcard. Using your best handwriting, copy a poem into these pages. Create a drawing to illustrate it. Fill your book, then decorate the covers with beads, glitter, photos, artwork, feathers, stickers, and other fabulous things!

Join me next month for a Poetry Primer. I’ll take you through the technical aspects of writing different types of poetry like haikus, pantoums, and sonnets, and inspire you to try new things! In the meantime, in-between time, keep writing! You are a fabulous poet, breathing fire and ice, telling the hot truth and salsa-dancing with exciting, exotic words! •

Next: A Poetry Primer Just 4 Kidz! »

© 2006 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Please respect the creator's copyright by not duplicating this material on your Web site, blog, or print publication without the author's permission.

About the Author | More by Molly Anderson-Childers
Molly J. Anderson-Childers is a wildly creative soul living in Durango, CO. She is a writer, artist, and creative arts instructor. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Fort Lewis College with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and successfully completed their Elementary Teacher Education Program. Her work has appeared in various publications, including The Durango Telegraph, Southwest Colorado Arts Perspective, Images, Voice Be Heard, The Four Corners Business Journal and On the Wings of Poetry. To contact Ms. Childers, please email her at: stealingplums[at] or send a snail mail to P.O. Box 4281, Durango, CO 81302-4281.