FROM PROSE TO POETRY
Prose is the usual form of writing. It has complete
sentences, paragraphs, capital letters, and punctuation. When we
write poetry, we can often ignore those conventions to produce a special
effect. We are going to take your rough draft essay and turn it into
a poem using the revision strategies of cutting, adding, changing,
What you need:
What to do:
Your rough draft essay.
A pencil (so you can erase).
At least one or two extra sheets of paper.
Count the words in your essay by counting the number of words
in one line, counting the number of lines and then multiplying.
Using a pencil, cross out at least half of the words in
your essay. Try to remove all the dull, utilitarian words and leave
the colorful, descriptive language. Remember the elements of good
writing and keep them: surprise, comparison, vivid verbs, nouns,
sense details, maybe even dialogue.
Make sure the story can still be followed,
but don't worry too much about complete sentences...
Now make changes in line length and punctuation. Rewrite
the piece as a poem arranging it on the page as you wish. Think about
pauses and the effect you want to make as you add your own punctuation.
Remember that poems LOOK different
The lines don't go
All the way to the end;
Sometimes there might be
Words on a line
(for a special effect).
The lines have a sort of a
Rearrange the words if you want. Also, you may add
a few words here and there if you need to complete a thought.
Copy your final poem on to a separate sheet of paper.
Capitalize the first word of each line.
It should be 1/2 the number of words of your original essay.
Final Draft due Friday.
Summer of My German Soldier, Bette Green
If there were not mirrors or mothers, I probably
never would know how ugly I am. But it was all there, plain
as my reflection in the glass. Skinny bones, skinny face, feet too
big, nose too long. In the mirror I could also see my motherís profile:
a high cool forehead and a slender nose that stopped where a nice nose
ought to. A lot like Sharonís. And there were lofty cheekbones
that gave my motherís face form, symmetry, and on occasion great beauty.
Sometimes I think God lavished so much beauty on her outsides that when
he got around to her insides there just wasnít much of anything left over.
It was all there
plain as my reflection in the glass.
feet too big, nose too long.
high cool forehead,
on occasion great beauty.
God lavished so much beauty on her outsides,
there wasnít much of anything inside.