Try This! - Keep a Poetry Journal

By Kate Coombs:

My notebook is on my computer. If you look at my desktop, you will see a lot of writing files, like these:

Click to Enlarge this Screenshot

I keep documents with ongoing notes for a lot of different writing projects, but today I'll share my poetry journal.

Mostly I just try to write a poem (or two or three) in the morning before I go to work on a topic I find in my head, but this April (2015) I got some good ideas about writing prompts that have made my poetry journal even more fun. 

For example, I found out about a book of poetry forms by Robin Skelton called THE SHAPES OF OUR SINGING, so I've been trying some of those. I'll give you an example of an old Cornish poetry form I tried this week below.

Image result for the shapes of our singing

I believe in writing fast and then revising. Sometimes I end up with just a page or two, but last week I filled six pages reworking a particular poem. I copy and paste each version above the other as I go in case I want to retrieve part of an earlier version. I did the same thing years ago when I wrote my poems by hand in spiral notebooks. 

Here is the top page for this poem with a fairly final version marked in blue. Note that "AABCCB" indicates the rhyme scheme required by this poetry form.

Click to Enlarge this Digital Notebook Page

An idea I got from Irene Latham last month was to use images as prompts. She has been using beautiful paintings from museums, but I've been taking images from Pinterest, many of them about myths and magic because I'm a sci-fi/fantasy and fairy tale writer. 

Here's a little poem about an image that I wrote last week. You'll notice I got interested in the shape of the poem on the page, making each line longer than the last. Now that I look again, that shape echoes the shape of a turning page or a bird's wing as shown in the image.

Click to Enlarge this Digital Notebook Page

My poetry journal makes me happy and keeps me writing even when a lot of other things are going on. Sometimes, like in an ordinary journal, I write poems about my life, whether I'm feeling excited or sad or just struck by something that has happened. 

When you keep a writing journal or notebook you can use it for all kinds of things--and its words will make magic in your life.

Kate Coombs is author of several books for young writers including THE TOOTH FAIRY WARS, WATER SINGS BLUE, THE RUNAWAY PRINCESS, and THE RUNAWAY DRAGON.  You can find her online at

To go back to the list of all Try This! ideas, click HERE.
Please share a comment below if you wish.

1 comment:

  1. I have a great site for the students. The reflective journal assignment is a very best way to make a best assignment. Thank you very much