Friday, September 25, 2009

Student Writing: Using the Image Poem Writing Prompt

Soaring through the air
Face full of goat joy
The wind flows through his thick coat
He smells the fresh mountain air
Teeth bared
Soon he will reach the slanted
Snow-covered mountain
Then rests in peace

Written by Dillon E., 10th Grade

This poem was written using the writing prompt provided on the August 31 post: "Mother Rose: Writing an Image/Sense Detail Poem." Using a photo from a National Geographic magazine of a mountain goat leaping on the grey scree of a mountain slope, Dillon answered the questions listed on the "Mother Rose" post and then wrote several drafts of his poem, discussing the poem with me between drafts.

The poem does a good job of creating a "snapshot" in the reader's mind.

Each of the first seven lines contain at least one powerful sense word, and the last line provides closure to the poem.
  • "Soaring" in line 1 establishes movement and also contains a sense of freedom and expansion.
  • "Goat joy," in the second line, is a wonderfully rich image. Goats have this mythic and literary reputation for independence and celebration of physical experience.
  • "Flows" reinforces the movement introduced in the first line, and "thick coat" reinforces the animal essence of living in the physical, introduced with "goat joy."
  • "Fresh mountain air" clarifies the setting of the poem, and "smells" further establishes the sense-focused experience of the poem.
  • "Teeth bared," the words placed on their on line, are very rich: primitive, physical joy. The image suggests lack of pretense, a lack of concern with the standards of society--fashion and decorum. The actor of the poem is taking in experience on a very basic level, consuming the experience.
  • "Slanted" and "snow-covered" of the next two lines increase the sense detail of the poem, further describing the setting, "slanting" enriching the sense of movement and "snow-covered" enriching the quality of "fresh."
  • Although the last line contains no strong sense images, "rests" provides closure to the poem. "Peace" connects to the earlier "goat joy," the ending word suggesting the silence, the earlier words the dynamism of the bliss of the poem.
This poem was a successful exercise for Dillon in writing poetry. The poem contains a vitality that invigorates the reader, expressing the simple joy of life to be found in each moment of experience. It is an example of consciousness-based writing because the understanding of the unity of silence and dynamism is integral to the poem.

You might find the poem "In Just-" by American poet e.e. cummings an interesting poem to read in conjunction with this discussion.

Now you try it!

Copyright 2009 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved

Publication of student writing on this blog does not compromise, destroy, or obviate publication rights on electronic or any other media worldwide. Copyright 2009, all rights reserved.


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