Sometimes students appreciate opening up the definition of what makes a poem.
Grant Snider, creator of Incidental Comics and author of The Shape of Ideas, is a comic strip artist who explores the creative process in his work. Many of his pieces read like poems and might spark students to create their own.
I discuss these questions with my students: Is "Lightness" a poem? Why or why not? What is poetic about it? How does it challenge or expand our definition of poetry?
The opening line makes a quick, useful mentor text for Writer's Notebook practice in creating metaphor. Students might complete the statements "I would most like to be a __________________." If you have time for an entire lesson, completing a nine-frame comic extending that metaphor would also be a meaningful experience for your students.
Brett Vogelsinger is a ninth-grade English teacher at Holicong Middle School in Bucks County, PA. He is the faculty adviser for the school literary magazine, Sevenatenine. Besides his annual blogging adventure on this site, he has published work on Nerdy Book Club, The New York Times Learning Network, and Edutopia, and you can follow him on Twitter (@theVogelman).