Naomi's Rough Draft Blog

Archive for April 2011

Compare these sentence, each the same in words:

I have a question.

And:

I

have 

a question.

The second example?  That’s a little thing called poetry.

Poetry is a interesting way of expressing what you want to say, and there’s many ways to go about doing so.  One way is the one above, “splitting” a sentences into pieces.  So, while the exact same words are said, they are expressed in a different way, and we can “hear” how the speaker is saying his or her words.

All poetry writers (who can be just about anyone, if you have something to write it with) have something called their “poetic license”, which allows them to break the rules of grammar and split sentences, capitalize words wherever they see as necessary, etc.  (Warning- it is not a physical object, so don’t try getting one on E-bay.  I will not be responsible for any wasted cash)

When you’re writing an essay, you generally have to stick to the rules (MLA format, double spacing, things like that) but poetry is over-all a “free” way of writing.  You can split sentences or you can split words; you can indent and you can put punctuation on the next line.  Here’s an example:

No matter

where I turn,

I’m

                falling

                                into

                                                your      

                                                                arms

                                                                                .

I try run

ing, but you’re

everywhere I

go.

Neat, huh?

As a coincidence, we just started the poetry unit in my English class, and our first notes were given today.  Our English teacher, Mrs.  Chen gave this as a definition of poetry: the art and craft of putting feelings into special combinations of words.

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?  Poetry isn’t just writing some words on a paper, it’s an art.  Poetry isn’t just looking up some words in the dictionary, it’s a craft.  Poetry’s not just plopping down what we think on paper, it’s feelings put into special words.

You probably encounter poetry every day.  Listen to some songs on your I-Pod?  Hear those lyrics?  That’s poetry, put to music.  Sometimes that type or poetry (which we call songs) makes a stronger impression that it could than by just being read aloud.  For an example, Google Letters From War by Mark Schultz.  I’m sure you’ll agree that listening to that makes a much better impression that printing the lyrics and reading them.

As you probably know, poems don’t have a rhyme.  Sure, most of them do, but it’s not a set rule that all poems have to rhyme.  Some of the best poets (Emily Dickinson, for one) had poems that did not rhyme, but still left impact on the reader.

Poetry is a good way to express yourself, or to put an experience into a more interesting perspective.  So, if you want to write poetry, grab your poetic license, get a paper and pen, and start doing the art and craft of putting feelings into special combinations of words.

Summer is coming to a close- that’s some words that we don’t want to hear, especially for school kids; it means that homework is on the way (groan).

For Scout, it means that Dill is going back home (sniff) and that today’s the last day to spend time with him.  So of course, Atticus agrees that she and Jem can sit by Miss. Rachel’s (Dill’s aunt, the person he says with over summer) fish pool during that last day.  And, while talking, Dill asks to go for a walk.

Hmm . . . something’s suspitious here.  As Scout says, “Nobody in Maycomb just went for a walk.”  After probing, she finds out Jem’s into this too, and they’re going to peek into the window of the Radley house to try and see Boo.  So Scout comes along.

They crawl under the high wire fence surrounding the Radley place, and they’re in; so far so good.  But when Jem tries to open the gate to the house, it squeaks.

After much spitting (and dry mouths) he tries again, and the door opens silently.  They’re in the backyard!  Soon they reach the window, and Dill and Scout boost Jem up to it.

He sees . . . curtains.  So, despite Scout’s protests, Jem tries the window on the porch.  His steps don’t creak, thankfully, and he looks in quietly.

Scout sees a shadow that looks like a man with a hat on.  At first she thinks it’s a tree, but then it.  Starts.  Walking.  Towards.  Jem!

Dill sees it next, and when it’s standing right over Jem he finally spots it.

They run from the Radley place, out the gate, to the fence, running from the sound of a shotgun behind them!  When Jem crawls through the fence, his pants gets stuck, so he kicks them off and they all run to the schoolyard!

After catching their breath, they see people gathering outside the Radley place and decide to join them.  “They’ll think it’s funny if we don’t show up,” Jem says.  So they go, and hear that Mr. Radley (Nathan Radley) apparently shot at . . . a Negro.  Phew; they’re safe for now.

But then they notice Jem’s in his boxers “before God and everybody,” as Scout says.  Atticus asks where his pants are, but Jem can’t think of a good lie fast enough.  So Dill comes up with a good one: he won Jem’s pants in a game of strip poker.

Now, you have to remember that Scout and Dill were six and seven, and Jem was ten.  Good ages to be playing strip poker?  I think not.  Not to mention the townspeople don’t know what strip poker is.

But Miss. Rachel seems to know, and she marches Dill away, talking about how bad she’s going to punish him for playing strip poker.  Luckily they were playing with matches (well, in their lie, anyway) or they really would have had it.  Nevertheless, Atticus orders them not to play poker in any form again.

Later that night, Jem decides to go and get his pants, and to Scout’s relief he comes back alive, but he is very quiet for a week.  Scout reasons that if she had gone to the Radley place at 2AM, she would have been dead that afternoon.  So she leaves him alone.

Second grade starts, and reading is still forbidden in the classroom (as Scout says, “The second grade was as bad as the first, only worse- they still flashed cards at you and wouldn’t let you read or write.”)  One day, when Jem and Scout are walking home from school, he admits there’s something he didn’t tell her about the night he retrieved his pants.

When he went to get them, they were folded on the fence, not tangled in the wire.  And someone had sewed them, but the sewing was crooked, not like a woman’s sewing.

Hmm . . . could it have been Boo?

Later, when they’re walking home from school again, there’s something in the knot-hole again.  Scout pulls it out, and they’re . . . carved figures of themselves (yikes!  I don’t blame Scout for freaking out when she sees them).  They decide to write a letter to the person who’s leaving them the knot-hole gifts.

But the next day, the knot-hole’s filled with cement.  Nooo!

Upon asking Nathan Radley why, he tells them the tree’s dying and you plug them with cement when that happens.  When Jem asks Atticus, he says the tree doesn’t look dead, but Nathan Radley might know it better than he.

Will we get anymore “Boo Clues” or is this it?  If I didn’t know better I’d say Nathan’s trying to . . . hide Boo.  Hmm . . .


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