You guys know Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ Ditty of the Month Challenge at Today’s Little Ditty, right? Where she features a guest, who issues a poetic challenge? This month she featured J. Patrick Lewis, who shared a poetic form he created, the zeno. You can read all about the zeno (and Pat) here. I encourage you all to write and send a zeno to Michelle, who will kindly post them in a roundup at the end of the month! (Directions for sending the zeno to Michelle are in that same post. And don’t miss Pat’s beautiful featured book there, Everything Is a Poem.
Teachers, here’s why I love zenos. Students love to write in rhyme. But most rhyming poems have a strict meter that is incredibly hard to create/maintain. A zeno is based on syllable counts, so if your students can count syllables and come up with three words (one-syllable words, preferably) that rhyme with each other that relate to one topic, they can write a successful zeno! It’s really a terrific form for all beginning rhymers!
I wrote a zeno and sent it to Michelle. Then, a couple of days later, I had to send her this:
Oops–as I was working on another zeno this morning, using yesterday’s template, I realized I counted syllables wrong. Ack! Please DON’T share the Field Mouse zeno.
I guess you can write a zeno even if you CAN’T count syllables (blush). Anyway, Michelle’s got my REVISED zeno up at her blog today, so you can go check it out if you like. I hope you and your students will give it a try!