Posted by: nancyisanders | June 22, 2011

Summer Reads: Poetry Journal

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Poetry

by Nikki Moustaki

When I started reading this second book this summer, I made a decision to start a poetry journal. I mean, how could I study poetry if I didn’t explore writing poetry?

So I went to a local store and bought a $1 journal. It’s even summery with a picture of a watering can and gardening tools on the cover. So it will always remind me that I started this journey in the summer!

For starters, in the front of my journal I wrote about WHY I want to study poetry (to improve my skills at writing children’s stories).

Then I wrote down my FOCUS for studying poetry and reading this book. My focus involved three key points:

Point #1: To write in rhyme for kids.
Point #2: To use elements of poetry to improve the prose I write for kids.
Point #3: To write poems for kids.

Next in my journal, I started a list of books I actually read about how-to-write poetry. This one is first on my list.

And next I started a little dictionary of poetry terms.

Have you thought about keeping a journal this summer as you read a how-to-write book? I mean, how can we learn about writing if we don’t explore writing the actual techniques ourselves? And a journal is a perfect place to write down our explorations with words. It just takes it to the next level of fun.


  1. Nancy, I was at a small weekend retreat recently with Rebecca Kai Dotlich, a marvelous children’s poet. One thing I came away with was the idea of making a word journal. I decided to keep it beside my bed with the book I’m reading there. And I record words that intrigue me or just feel good on my tongue. It’s been a fun experiment. I recently posted my current reads on my blog, but forgot to add my book about plot to it. Here’s the link if you want to see what I’ve been reading.

  2. Hi Doraine, what a list of summer reads! Thanks for sharing. And what a great idea about keeping the word journal. I have a similar journal or writer’s notebook that I write an alphabetical word list in, too. Enjoy! -Nancy

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