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My teacher told me write a free verse poem about "Summer." And I'm not sure my grammar...

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terepark1 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:52 AM via web

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My teacher told me write a free verse poem about "Summer." And I'm not sure my grammar is correct. Can anyone fix my mistakes that I make in my poem?

Here is my poem:

Summer is finally here,

We have lots of fun outdoors;
Vacations, for a sweet retreat,
To mountains, plains, and shores.

Kids in constant summer motion,
Free from school and teacher’s rule,
Camping and fishing gear,

Things we cannot do the rest of the year.
Juicy summer fruits,
A frosty ice cream cone.

Grilling on the barbecue,
Green grass and flowers,
A gazillion fun things to do.

At the beach or pool,

Summer flip flop, shorts, and swimsuits,

Head to toe in suntan lotion.
To me, summer is a special treasure.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 6, 2010 at 1:51 AM (Answer #1)

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Actually, there is no right or wrong (especially concerning punctuation) when it comes to writing poetry (and particularly free verse). Nevertheless, I will provide some punctuation changes and some suggestions below.

Summer is finally here.
We have lots of fun outdoors:
Vacations, for a sweet retreat;
To mountains, plains, and shores.

Kids in constant summer motion,
Free from school and teacher’s rule.
Camping and fishing gear,
Things we cannot do the rest of the year.

Juicy summer fruits, a frosty ice cream cone,
Grilling on the barbecue.
Green grass and flowers,
A gazillion fun things to do.

At the beach or pool,
Summer flip-flops, shorts and swimsuits,
Head to toe in suntan lotion.
To me, summer is a special treasure.

I should point out that free verse usually precludes the use of rhyming verse or a repetitive meter. You have used various rhymes in the first three stanzas, but not in the fourth. If your assignment is to specifically write a poem in free verse, you should eliminate the rhymes in the first three stanzas. Your ideas and examples are good ones, but your teacher may not consider it a poem in true free verse.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 6, 2010 at 1:52 AM (Answer #2)

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The beauty of free verse is that you can bend (not eliminate) grammar rules.  This poem looks good.

I love that you've used various rhyme - but no rhyme scheme - and several places show alliteration.

Obviously poetry is personal, so any suggestions I make are completely up to you to fix - but here are some things you could consider playing with:

  • The use of commas.  I think you have too many.  In free verse you can employ the use of space over punctuation.  For example, instead of using commas in your lists - you could use line breaks and indent the list in stair-steps going down.  This will (in my opinion) create a more dramatic pause, and give your poem more visual appeal.  Another thing you might consider is the dash instead of the comma.  *I personally love the dash... less formal... again visually appealing.
  • The use of "we" in the second line and "me" in the final line: This suggests the presence of a speaker (or group of speakers) who do not necessarily exist anywhere else in the poem.  The subject of the poem is just summer so by removing the existence of people in it, it points closer to your ultimate focus, which is the season, not so much yourself.  Also - "To me, summer is a special treasure." - What if you revised this to "Summer.  A special treasure."  It is final.  It is clean.

When revising poetry my best advice is to sit on it for a few days.  Write.  Ignore for a day.  Re-read--and start slashing...cut out any unnecessary words, make passive verbs active if you can, bring your reader straight into the heart of the poem...don't dabble on the edges.

Your images are great.  "Juicy summer fruits" ; "Frosty ice cream cone." Consider some of the more vague ideas in this poem and how you can specify them in as few words as possible.

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