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JPC Allen Writes

Inspiration for Beginning Writers

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Gift

Writing Tip — Poetry

giftw-444518_1280Wither Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming up in the next few months, it’s not too early to start work on a poem as a gift. If you are new to poetry, I have two recommendations. The first is reprinted from a post I wrote last year. The second is for a site I have recently discovered. If you haven’t considered giving a gift of poetry, please do. So personal a gift is sure to be treasured.

Books of Children’s Poetry

I like studying children’s poetry because I can focus on the structure, instead of the meaning, which is usually straight forward.  Below are listed books that are a great introduction to a few different styles of poetry.

Rhyming poetry — A Child’s Calendar by John Updike

Free verse — Red Sings From the Treetops by Joyce Sidman

Haiku — The Cuckoo’s Haiku, The Maine Coon’s Haiku, and The Hound Dog’s Haiku by Michael J. Rosen

Acrostic poems — Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic, also Fall, Spring, Summer by Steven Schnur.

Shadow Poetry

The website Shadow Poetry has everything a budding poet needs to get started. Under “Poetry Types” a plethora of traditional and new styles of poetry are listed in alphabetical order and are defined with examples. Want to write your mother a sonnet? Look it up here. Japanese poetry gets its own section.

Under “Handbook” all kinds of terms associated with figurative and poetic language are defined. When I browsed through “W”, I found “wrenched accent”. It means the “forced change in the normal accent of a syllable or syllables to make a word conform to the prevailing metrical” pattern. I’ve often come across this accent in rhyming children’s books and thought it was just called “bad poetry”. What’s worse, I’ve committed this crime myself. Now at least my crime has a name.

Remember to EDIT

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, no matter what you are writing, you should always  go back and edit. No one writes their best in a first draft.

Have you ever given a literary gift? If so what was it?

Writing Tip — Gifts for Mother’s Day

mom-48958_1280With Mother’s Day approaching, many of us are thinking about what gift to give to our mothers, or grandmothers, or wives, or other female relatives.  As a writer, you can always make a gift of your art.

Poetry

Writing a poem is wonderfully personal gift.  I have given poems as Christmas gifts.  Know nothing about poetry?  I recommend checking out books of children’s poems to introduce yourself to this writing style.

I like studying children’s poetry because I can focus on the structure, instead of the meaning, which is usually straight forward.  Below are listed books that are a great introduction to a few different styles of poetry.

Rhyming poetry — A Child’s Calendar by John Updike

Free verse — Red Sings From the Treetops by Joyce Sidman

Haiku — The Cuckoo’s Haiku, The Maine Coon’s Haiku, and The Hound Dog’s Haiku by Michael J. Rosen

Acrostic poems — Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic, also Fall, Spring, Summer by Steven Schnur.

Even if you only write four lines of verse in a card, that personal touch will mean so much. (That rhymed.  Mmmm … maybe I have the beginnings of a poem.)

 

Prose

Putting down on paper a significant event you shared with the woman you want to honor makes a thoughtful preset.  Your recipient may not know how much that event meant to you so letting her know is a true gift.

I wish I had written to my grandmother how much it meant to me to spend time with her and my grandfather at their house when I was a kid.  I thought she knew.  It was only when I was an adult that I discovered she didn’t.  She had thought my sisters and I all had a good time, but she didn’t know those visits were some of our fondest childhood memories.

Unless you are an experienced writer, I would keep your story to around 500 words.  Even if it only runs to 200 words, that’s fine.  Short can definitely be sweet if it delivers a story in a concise, imaginative way.

No matter what kind of writing you choose, be sure you edit it.  No one writes her best story the first time.  Reread and rewrite as much as you can before you give it away.  Every time I reread a piece, I always find ways to improve it.

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