Kennings are an Old English turn of phrase that acts as a replacement for a noun. It typically consists of two words, often an adjective and noun, that describe the purpose or action of the original noun.
Challenge: Read the list from the Huffington Post and write at least five of your own kennings.
Extra Challenge: Do some research of your own. Learn about the etymology and find some of your own favorite kennings. Books like Beowulf and other epics are riddled with them!
Challenge: Read the article on sonnets and search for your own, pick at least two. I’m sure you all know Shakespeare, so try to branch out. When you find your sonnet, write out the rhyme scheme. Compare the two sonnets, what is similar about them what is dissimilar?
Extra Challenge: Read the second article on rhyme and write a sonnet of your own, but focus on the rhyme and not the meter. Play with internal rhymes and slant rhymes, try to get more complex than “cat” and “bat.”
Challenge: Pick either a Ghazal or Pantoum. Write one. Let it be bad. The process of editing and finding a way of making sense within the parameters of the style will help you become a better poet. Structure may seem frustrating, but it forces you to use words and phrases you may not have before. It helps you discover something new.
Extra Challenge: read your poem a week or two later. How do you feel about it? Do you like it? If not, write it again. How do you make it better?
Challenge: Read through the narrative voice article. Write a poem about the same thing/ scenario, from the same narrator but using first, second, and third person. Which one do you like the most? Which one is the most intimate? Which one is easiest/ hardest? Which one yields the best result
Extra Challenge: Write from the perspective of something non-human.
Pathetic Fallacy and Other Emotional Techniques (Mood and tone):
Challenge: Choose an emotion and write a poem centered around that feeling. Avoid using synonyms for the emotion, try to represent it through images and sensory descriptions. At least once, use pathetic fallacy to strengthen the tone of your poem.
Extra Challenge: Read several poems and highlight the words that create the tone of the piece. Write one word to describe the tone for each poem.
Using any combination of techniques you’ve learned, write a free verse poem about anything. Enjoy yourself and really get in touch with your emotions!