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Home > Archive > For teachers > Writing & poetry (English) > Pre-writing Poems

New ways to generate material

Students typically take a linear approach to the process of writing. When they’re given an assignment, they struggle from beginning to end without considering the cohesiveness of the entire piece. This is a poor strategy for any form of writing, but it is particularly ineffective for producing a nonlinear piece like that of a node poem.

The following activities emphasize the necessity for a patient process of writing, while introducing students to node thinking. Students are encouraged to try out and play with a variety of pre-writing tasks, since this experimentation prompts them to develop more exciting poems when they begin to compose their work.

Getting Started

Many students don’t know why poems are written and read. This activity has them brainstorm the rationale for poems, while also helping them to think nodefully.

> Go to Ars Poetica

For this assignment, readers don’t just peruse the content of the poem; they write the next line. This activity creates interesting lines for your students to synthesize into node form.

> Go to Exquisite Corpse

For an entertaining way to gather more material, send your students on assignment.

> Go to Eavesdropping

Here’s an assignment that will show college students how to arrange their work into node form.

> Go to Newspaper Cutouts 1

This one will help high school students familiarize themselves with the arrangement of a node poem.

> Go to Newspaper Cutouts 2

Now that your students have developed all of their pre-writing material, they need strategies to arrange this material into cogency.

> Go to Synthesizing Poems

This assignment is a follow-up to your students’ analysis of Neruda’s “Ode to My Socks.” Here, they develop their own surprising analogies for their favorite clothes.

> Go to Clothing Analogies

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