A KICK IN THE HEAD
An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms
Janeczko, Paul. Ill. Chris Raschka. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. 2005. Candlewick Press.
Introduction: This collection of poetry selected by Paul Janeczko showcases a variety of poetic forms using playful illustrations and text. Show the illustrations as you read each poem aloud.
After reading a poem, share the name of the poetic form and briefly describe what that means, then read the poem again and see if students hear or see the pattern.
Here are a few of my favorite poetic forms, along with a poem example from the book.
1. A List Poem: a simple everyday form of a list used to describe something in detail.
"Slug File" by Avis Harley
Dusk 'til Dawn.
Likes to Climb.
Height and Weight:
long and lean
Next of Kin:
Extension: Invite children to experiment with list poems. Have them create their own.
2. Concrete Poem: Aka "Shape Poem." The words in a concrete or shape poem are arranged on the page to indicate the poem's subject.
"A Kick in the Head" by Joan Bransfield Graham
It opens its arms to me,
jabs me in the heart
In the Head
Extension: Share many other concrete poems with children and let them create their own concrete poem. Model how it is done in front of them. Choose a simple subject and ask for words that describe the object. Make a class concrete poem on chart paper or butcher paper.
I highly recommend this Janeczko poem collection. It is a great resource for teachers and students, as it provides simple definitions and examples of various poetic forms.
Other Books by Paul Janeczko.
Janeczko, Paul. A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing and Shout. 2009.
Janeczko, Paul. Dirty Laundry Pile: poems in different voices. 2001.
Janeczko, Paul. A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems. 2001.