What Is Poetry?

Dark Emperor by Joyce Sidman from ReaderKidZ.com (Google Images)What Is Poetry?

"Poetry is language in its most connotative and concentrated form." (Kiefer, 2010, p. 341) Poetry has no specific definition, according to Kiefer (2010), but it does have certain characteristics.   Poetry is characterized by rhythm (the daily beat of our everyday lives), elements of sound such as rhyme, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, and repetition, imagery, figurative language, shape, and emotional intensity.

Children's poetry should be related to familiar experiences of childhood.  It  is written in forms such as narrative poems (poems that relate to a specific event or tell a long tale), ballads (narrative poems adapted for song), lyrical poems, limericks (a 5-line nonsense form with a specific rhyme pattern), free verse, (relies on rhythm or cadence) haiku (a 17-syllable form with a specific pattern), and concrete poems (picture poems that make the reader see what they are saying).  While teachers need to understand the language of poetry for their own  background and ability to teach it, they should not require children to analyze poetry for technical elements.

Teachers committed to poetry  provide children with a strong poetry-book collection, use poetry across the curriculum, and provide children the opportunity to read, listen to, and share poetry.


Additional Information and Resources

For additional information about poetry, follow this link, and browse the web links listed below.

Teaching Resources