Sunday, October 2, 2011

Picture Yourself Writing Poetry: Using Photos to Inspire Writing

Picture Yourself Writing Poetry: Using Photos to Inspire Writing 
Capstone Press, 2011
“The best poems are magical, miniature worlds.”

Laura Purdie Salas has constructed a “how-to” guide for young writers wanting to write poetry. She asserts that, “A great  poem is like a short vacation to an exotic land.”  First, she spells out the writing process, detailing prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. She then begins to focus on the use of photography to generate ideas for writing poetry. She offers a photo of two girls legs with stripped stocks and bright colored shoes. She asks: “Do you think of the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz? A striped prison uniform? Shoe shopping with your mom?” Clearly her objective is to get kids to generate ideas from images.
Salas continues to define sensory language, metaphors, concrete nouns, imagery, filler words, and randomization in poetry. Salas writes about character and voice. She makes it clear to students that not every poem needs to be written in first person. The book includes a glossary, internet sites, a list of book resources, and an index. Using this with upper elementary students would be great for supporting their use of resource materials.
This book would be a great way for fourth or fifth graders to start writing poetry. I like her visual approach to the written word. Some of the photos in the book are quite compelling. She writes that, “Poems are powerful tools that can help strengthen your poems.”
Laura Purdie Salas has recently written another book called, Bookspeak: Poems about Books. Check out the trailer below!

    1 comment:

    1. I didn't even think to review a book about writing poetry! This would be a great teacher resource to use during a unit on poetry. Are there sample poems in the book as well? The idea of using photographs to inspire poetry is great. Students could use personal photographs from home which would really help them to connect to their writing.

      The trailer for Book Speak is neat! I want to read the book now...which is perhaps the point ;)