The Wednesday Five

In case you haven’t seen it already, Phil Plait from Bad Astronomy has written a hilarious poem in rhyming couplets called “The ABCs of Skepticism”.  Jonathan Swift, eat your heart out!

In this week’s Five, I wanted to focus on poetry tools instead of poetry databases.  The sites I’ve listed are excellent resources for helping writers, readers, and teachers to deal with complex poetic issues.

1. Wikisaurus
float
A little known off-shoot of the vast Wikipedia project, Wikisaurus is one of the best online thesauri out there.  I’ve got nothing against Roget’s, but the interactive nature of a wiki fits the idea of a thesaurus perfectly.  It’s like asking thousands of your closest friends, “What another word for…?”

2. Wordle
Wordle Logo

Wordle is a great site for creating “word clouds” out of your own text.  This can be great for spicing up an otherwise serious topic.  A friend of mine used a cloud from Wordle as a title page for her project on literary freedom in Iran.  Also I think that it’s important for poets to never forget that although we deal in words, much of our art is visual in some ways.  Plus, this tool is just plain fun to use!  Here’s a really great anonymous one about Spring:

3. Poetry Forge

Above is a picture of a a great flash poetry tool for metaphor, but Poetry Forge is chock full of a variety of resources for both students and teachers.  Run by the University of Virginia, this site is well-maintained and straightforward: perfect for when you start to feel bogged down by poetic challenges.

4. readwritethink
Learning Beyond the Classroom

Not to be confused with last week’s excellent readwritepoem, this site is a fantastic reading and writing guide from the International Reading Association.  Geared specifically toward education and making poetry work for teachers and students in and out of the classroom, this site is recommended especially for those of you who instruct poetry in some way.

5. twiHaiku
TwiHaiku - Twitter Poetry, the new art of words

Alright, so I’ll admit that this site doesn’t fit with today’s theme, but it fit with last Monday’s post, and I can’t go another week without mentioning it.  This pretty amazing project is part of the makeliterature.com network, a social website that offers itself up as a self-publishing medium.  With your own makeliterature account, you can submit haiku to the twiHaiku site by simply typing it into the right box, just like tweeting yourself.  Your haiku is then displayed on the @twiHaiku Twitter account.  What this creates is a network of dedicated haiku poets who collaborate to provide the Twitter community with a steady stream of original poetry.  If you can’t already tell, I’m simply brimming with excitement about this project, and watching it grow has been great fun!

And that’s it for today.  I’d like to finish by asking a question to all the poetry teachers out there: what are your favorite resources for getting your students excited about poetry?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Wednesday Five

  1. twiHaiku

    Thank you very much for Shouting up TwiHaiku, I am very much grateful for your kind review.

    You are also having a really nice and useful poetry resource here. I wish you all success with your venture.

    Dusan Knezevic
    TwiHaiku

  2. Hello, got to your site via your RT on Twitter (thanks)!

    I don’t know if this would help with resources. But when I taught poetry to adults I used a learner-lead approach. I found with my students is to give them a variety of photocopied poems (maybe three contrasting ones from different eras/different cultures/different genders) as a starter activity.

    Then gather their initial thoughts: what did they think? If you can, play them a bit of performance poetry (I’ve found Benjamin Zephaniah to go down a treat – look him up on YouTube). Apples & Snakes (http://www.applesandsnakes.org/) has some great ideas too 🙂

    Obviously, the above activity/resources will change with the level/age/ demographic of your students. For the young, paints and using everyday words would work.

    Hope that’s helpful, have found your blog helpful too – is it OK to link to it from mine?

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