The Teachers & Writers Collaborative is having a book sale! If you teach English, writing composition, creative writing, anything… these handbooks are a tremendous resource.
The T&W titles on my shelf are: Poetry Everywhere and The List Poem, though I can vouch for numerous others (Listener in the Snow, Handbook of Poetic Forms, etc. ) as well. I’ve found these books to be useful not only in leading poetry workshops, but in teaching middle school writing composition, and even elementary school grammar! The prompts are wonderfully versatile, and can be adapted for writers of any age.
Because new (and even used) books can be a bit pricey, I would definitely recommend checking out this sale. All books on the T&W website are selling for $8, which is an incredible deal for titles like Poetry Everywhere by Jack Collum and Sheryl Noethe (normally about $20). This book in particular is a great resource because it contains over sixty writing exercises, ranging from the place poem to “illot-mollo,” a writing game developed in the 1920’s by the dada and surrealist movements.
One of my favorite prompts in Poetry Everywhere is the “How I Write” poem, which is essentially a list poem that provides structure and impetus for writers of any age to reflect on their idiosyncratic writing practices. I’ve had great success with this one, particularly in working with students who are resistant to writing, as it allows them to write about writing (why they dislike it, what they do in order to avoid it, what they wish they were doing instead…) in a productive way. It almost always leads to productive discussion about why and how people write (or don’t write, depending), and can be step 1 in identifying and breaking down barriers to writing.
This holiday season, please consider giving someone (like a teacher- or writer-friend) a T&W book, or even stocking your own shelf with a few of these titles! I’m sure you’ll find them helpful in both your teaching and writing of poetry.