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Home > Archive > For teachers > Writing & poetry (English) > Paper preparations

Preparing with paper

Overview

Since your students are most familiar with traditional, print poetry, you may want to ease them into SpicyNodes by first assigning print poems that will help them think through a SpicyNodes poem. The suggested readings approach this task in several different ways, and each will set a foundation for your students to create their own work. Both Emily Dickinson and Stephane Mallarme will help your students understand how readers can interact with the language in poetry. “My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun” exemplifies how readers can choose and remove words in order to alter the meaning of the poem. “A Throw of Dice Never Will Abolish Chance” will help your students understand the decisions a reader can make given the physical representation of a piece of writing on the page.

Your students can take a different approach with Paul Violi’s “Finish these Sentences.” This poem asks readers to navigate through several incomplete lines that force them to take part in the creative process. Besides conceptually preparing your students for node poems, this piece also gives your students a head start in the writing process.

And finally, Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to my Socks” will help younger writers imagine the variety of ways in which they can describe a single object using simile and metaphor, serving as a model for the node poem they will eventually create.

Each of these assignments is suited for a particular level of reading and academic preparedness, but you can make slight modifications to each of these lessons to fit your needs.

Getting started

Emily Dickinson’s variants give more control to the reader. This lesson guides your students through a discussion of how these substitutions can alter the meaning of “My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun.”

> Go to Dickinson

“A Throw of Dice Never Will Never Abolish Chance” displays how the visual arrangement of a poem can greatly alter how a reader approaches and understands the piece.

> Go to Mallarmé

Paul Violi’s “Finish these Sentences” provokes readers to complete the poem writing process. This analytical activity also doubles as a pre-writing session.

> Go to Violi

By developing multiple metaphors for his footwear, Pablo Neruda shows the effectiveness of analogy in his “Ode to my Socks.” This poem will prepare middle schoolers to write their own poems about clothing.

> Go to Neruda

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