April is National Poetry Month—a time to celebrate language, literal and figurative, and the mental images a good poem can suggest. Some poems are in verse, with rhyme, rhythm, and meter. These rhyming poems are almost musical in nature. Poetry can sing without rhyme, too.
Haiku and Tanka Poems
Poetry without rhyme, known as free verse, can take many structures. One rhymeless structure is haiku. Haiku is a poem form that originated in Japan and usually features nature in some way. Each haiku has three lines, and each line has a set number of syllables—five, then seven, then five again. A tanka poem uses a similar structure, extending the poem to five lines, with seven syllables each.
Simply crisp and cold
The ground is covered with white
It’s winter at last.
Room with a View: Tanka
Looking through the glass
Past offices and a church
The lonely rooftops
Neighborhoods empty of folk
Gone to work or school all day.
Free verse can cross curricular lines, too. Integrating poetry into what your student is currently learning can be as motivating as using a brainteaser to get your school day started. Try this!
In an acrostic poem, the first letter of each line spells out a word or a message. Your student might already be familiar with this form of constrained writing using acronyms or short memorable phrases, known as mnemonics—a learning technique to aid memory retrieval. For example, you can explain U.S. history with an acrostic ...