Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Chautauqua Poetry Workshop

on July 27, 2007

During the Chautauqua Highlights Foundation Writing Conference, Kathi Appelt presented a great poetry workshop. One of the new, innovative ways to display poetry is action animated poems by Billy Collins.

If you want to find more of Kathi’s poetry exercises, she has written two great poetry books:

Poems from Homeroom

Just People and other poems for young readers

The following are a couple of Kathi’s exercises for poetry.

Exercise #1-Telephone Poetry

1. Write down your phone number vertically on the page.

2. Underneath that number, write down a friend’s phone number vertically on the same page.

3. Topic of the poem: Self-Portrait–Who are you? What memories do you have?

4. Each line should be the number of words that correspond with the phone number on that line. For example, if your number is 425-3345 then the first line should have 4 words, the second line 2, and so on.

5. Give yourself five to seven minutes to write the poem. The idea is to write fast and don’t let your brain think too much. Just write what’s on the heart.

Exercise #2–Writing Off the Line

1. Gather a collection of poems

2. Read poems and choose one line from the poems which speaks to you

3. Use that one line as a starting place for your poem

Kathi recommends this poetry exercise as a way to start your writing day.

Exercise #3

1. Brainstorm a topic such as summer

2. List all the words associated with summer you can think of

3. Choose one word and write an acrostic

For Example (This was my poem for Summer/Fireworks)

Flashing fire

In the sky

raising my

eyes upward





Sparkles in the night.


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