Sea Horse

sea-horse-1176394_1280

 

Sea Horse

 

Simply shining

easily gliding

and then beautifully still

 

How peaceful you look

over the tangling seaweed

regal and miniature

slip-sliding away now

easily moving in the soft, blue glow

                                                Andrew Pender-Smith

I wrote a number of acrostics to do with the sea a few weeks ago. You may read them in the earlier posts on acrostics simply by scrolling down. This particular poem appears in the current anthology within the syllabus of  the Speech and Drama Association of South Africa.

Floating into Happiness

toucan-2247143__340

The title comes from the short story for children that grew out of the creative writing exercise discussed below.

Creating Characters from Objects.

A highly effective way to help children develop their creative writing skills is to turn objects into characters and then to use the characters in a story. People who wish to write for children will also find this exercise very useful. The completed stories could also be used to encourage children to read aloud. Reading out a story one has written usually provides much enjoyment for the writer and the listener. If you are a teacher working with a class, this exercise could further be extended by encouraging students to draw the characters they have created.

To start off with, find objects you would enjoy turning into a character. A stone? A potato? A carrot? An ice block? Some cheese? A USB? A CD? A chair? The list is almost endless.

To illustrate this discussion I have chosen a carrot, a potato and a large balloon.

This is what I have decided about the carrot, potato and balloon after looking at them and thinking about names, clothes, movement and temperament and asking questions such as:

What do you look like?

How do you dress?

How do you speak?

Are you brave, timid, outspoken, happy, sad, lonely, friendly…?

Where are you when the story starts off?

What are you doing?

What happens to you?

The questions help to build a whole lot of knowledge about the characters and their situations. They help develop the story from opening through to a conclusion. Here are a few things I came up with when it came to the actual characters.

Carrot has long purple hair, purple shoes with bright yellow laces and he has big, purple hands. Carrot is excitable and loves exercising and dancing. His name is Sylvester. His mother called him Sylvester because she liked the name.

Potato’s name is Linda. She wears a soft, pink dress, has curly blonde hair, large blue eyes and wears huge glasses because she cannot see too well. Her shoes are pink pumps that match the colour of her dress. The ribbons in her hair also pink.  Linda loves to sing and dance. She and Sylvester a good friends.

Balloon is huge and round. Balloon is a deep blue in colour and has big, big eyes and a wide, rubbery mouth. Balloon has a long yellow string attached to him. He has been all over the world because his string often comes loose and he floats and floats high in the sky from place to place. Balloon’s name is Big Bruce.

The story begins:

‘’Oh no, oh no,’’ Linda said between sobs. ‘’I heard her say it. I honestly did. We are going to be eaten this evening, and I did so, so want a long life and to do and see lots of lovely things. I wanted to be a famous singer. I wanted thousands and thousands of people to come and hear me at concerts. Now I’m going to be put into a stew.’’

      ‘’It’s the worst thing for both of us,‘’ Sylvester said in a deep, sad voice. ‘’And in the two days we have known each other, I have loved dancing in the kitchen while you sang to me. I always wanted to be on stage as the world’s first dancing carrot. I also wanted to be famous, and now I never will be.’’ … … …

How does the toucan, the bird with the colourful beak, feature in all of this. You will need to ask the characters the story to find out that. ‘Floating into Happiness’ – the little story with a big heart – is available for the princely amount of 99 American cents on Amazon. Here is the link:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B074KCSSZ2

 

Underwater Poems Done as Acrostics Continued …

underwater

Dolphins

Delightful

ocean lovers

leaping

playing

happily

in near-blue sea

spinning, racing, diving

 

Oceans

Cold and clear

endless

and

never-ending vistas of mesmerising,

softly undulating underwater scenes

 

Shark

Sharp

harpoon

arrowing

relentlessly

Ka-Pow!

 

Sea Storm

Savage fury

erupting

across miles of ocean

 

Sending fish scattering

travelling in mad panic

outwitting oscillating currents

rampaging winds whip waves into

mighty jumps and crashes, flaying thousands

                                                     Andrew Pender-Smith                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underwater Poems Done as Acrostics

ocean-life-215133__480Here are eight acrostic poems dealing with the sea and some of the creatures that live within briny depths. Four are offered today and four tomorrow. In time they will form part of a poetry book dealing with nature and animals. If any of you have read earlier postings, you will have learnt that I use, and encourage others to use, poems as educational tools in a variety of ways. Here goes with the first four underwater poems.

 Bubbles

Bountiful

under the sea

billowing

beautifully

lightly

endlessly streaming

serenely

 

Seaweed

Swaying

elegant

art

wonderfully blooming

entire flowery gardens

exotic and silently

dancing

 

Octopus

Occupied, waiting

crafty

tangled tentacles

ominously

pondering the next catch of

unsuspecting fish

swimming too, too close …

 

Fish

Fabulous flaming jewels

intimate with light and shadow

silently swimming

hanging orbs in cold, clear waters.

 

The next four poems follow tomorrow. 

A Matter of Perception – Play Time! (Part Three)

butterfly-1413678_1280

A Jungle Storm

The brightest butterfly in the world

lands flicking, fluttering on

a beautiful jungle flower.

A buck comes to sip from

a silent jungle pool.

Then a jungle storm comes,

loud and strong,

tossing jungle trees,

and the brightest butterfly in the world

waits quietly

beneath soft jungle leaves.

                               Andrew Pender-Smith

The above poem is a short lyric. The poem below also looks at a butterfly in a peaceful jungle setting until a storm arrives. This poem consists of five haiku that have been linked together to create a lyric.

A Jungle Storm

A butterfly on

a forest flower

beautifully there.

A buck comes

to sip from a silent pool

dainty and watching.

Then, a jungle storm

tossing, bashing jungle trees.

Where is the butterfly?

The radiant beauty

is beneath jungle petals

just waiting, quietly.

                                         Andrew Pender-Smith

Which of the poems works better? You decide. Now, how about trying an exercise like this yourself. Perhaps turn a lyric into a narrative or, as I have done, take the thoughts and feelings explored in a lyric and see if you are able to express them just as well, or even better, in a series of haiku. A newspaper report as a ballad or epic? Enjoy experimenting. 

With good luck from me.

Andrew Pender-Smith

Parts one and two were published on the 6th and 7th of July. 

 

 

 

 

A Matter of Perception – Play Time! (Part Two)

gun-revolver-fire-firing-370202

In this second experiment in which prose is turned to poetry, I have used a headline and the first few sentences of a newspaper article.

Brazen Armed Robbery

 Just before closing yesterday, a group of armed men stormed a grocery store and held up the manager and staff at gunpoint. A few terrified shoppers managed to run for cover as shots volleyed through the store.

 Just before closing yesterday, a group of armed men stormed a grocery store and held up the manager and staff at gunpoint. A few terrified shoppers managed to run for cover as shots volleyed through the store.

Brazen Armed Robbery

Just before closing yesterday,

a group of armed men

stormed a grocery store

and held up the manager

and staff at gunpoint.

A few terrified shoppers

managed to

run for cover

as shots

volleyed

through the store.

Which one is more likely to impact on a reader? The two poems that resulted from the prose passages ( See ‘Part One’ for the first.) are not great works of poetry, but hopefully help to illustrate the idea that writers need to be playful explorers if they wish to sharpen the skills required to become a successful communicator.

Happy writing.

Andrew Pender-Smith

 

A Matter of Perception – Play Time! (Part One)

leopard-wildcat-big-cat-botswana-46254

QUESTION: When do we perceive what we are reading as poetry and when do see consider it to be prose? First look at the following:

Leopards on the Loose

Two leopards escaped from the local zoo today by climbing up a tree that had fallen into their enclosure. It is believed they climbed up the uprooted tree and jumped down from there. One was darted and recaptured. The other is still on the loose. Residents are requested to stay alert. (A short newspaper article.)

Leopards on the Loose

Two leopards escaped

from the local zoo today

by climbing up

a tree that had

fallen

into their enclosure.

It is believed they

climbed up the

uprooted trunk and

jumped

down

from there.

One was darted

and recaptured.

The other is still

on the loose.

Residents are requested to

stay alert.

‘’The eyes see only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.’’ is a useful quote by author Robertson Davies with which to start.  In the context of this discussion it is perhaps more accurate to say the eyes see the way the mind has been trained to perceive. I am limiting this discussion to matters of layout concerning writing and reading when it comes to thoughts and feelings typed or written onto a page. Broadly put, if a writer uses literary conventions pertaining to prose when placing information on a page, it is read as prose. Should a writer employ one of the genres open to poets (lyric, sonnet, narrative, epic, elegy, ballad, haiku), the reader will talk of having read a poem. I have deliberately kept this discussion brief. There is a lot one can find online regarding the inter-workings of the eye, ear and brain. What I am most keen on is encouraging writers to work at putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and getting them to play around; to experiment and explore. Start with turning prose to poetry and then poetry to prose. Then extend this by working within either one and ask how readers are likely to perceive your work if, for example, you alter sentence, paragraph and chapter lengths or use different fonts and page formats. What, if any, paradigm shifts are likely to occur when a form of presentation is altered? See it as a game. You’re likely to have more fun that way. Keep writing and reading.

Andrew Pender-Smith        

Note: Another prose-to-poetry experiment will be posted in a day or two.

 

Building Readership Starts Here (Part Two)

boy with big glasses

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Joseph Addison

The first part of this discussion was published on the 26th of June 2017.

How you can help: Donate books to schools, libraries, families and individuals. CD’s, DVD’S and even computers, laptops and iPads are also welcome donations when institutions cannot afford them.  I know of individuals and service clubs who pay for internet connection in instances when schools and children’s homes cannot afford it.

Read and tell stories to young children with whom you are in contact. Sing to them and teach them songs. Include actions when possible. Volunteers at children’s homes, hospitals and under-privileged schools are most often greatly welcomed. Readership, which mean a love of stories and learning through them, starts from the youngest of ages and it includes YOU.

When doing all of these, make sure the material is appropriate to age and ability.

As this is a blog posting and full discussion is limited by constraints of space, only an outline of benefits and how to help have been included. There is a great deal available online or through discussion with teachers (especially teachers of Speech and Drama and those involved in early learning phase education), with whom you can discuss further. Hopefully you can all come up with ideas on how to develop literacy in your community or one which desperately needs it. Some of your future readers might come from the very children you have helped. You might even be tempted to write stories for these young audiences and, in so doing, find a whole new market for your writing. Older children can be encouraged to write and illustrate stories and poems of their own. You might even make copies and place them in other classrooms and school libraries. Children often love reading stories and poems written by other children. 

Have fun inculcating and building a culture of reading and writing in the young. It will benefit others, and you.

 Andrew Pender-Smith

https://www.amazon.com/author/andrewpendersmith

Never Too Old

 

 

 

Building Readership Starts Here. (Part One)

 

laughing boy

If we want readers, we need to grow the base from the beginning. This beginning starts with very early childhood, and includes infants.

When you read to a child, when you put a book in a child’s hands, you are bringing that child news of the infinitely varied nature of life. You are an awakener. Paula Fox

Aim: To encouraging listening, thinking, observation, participation, imagination, empathy and speaking through reading and storytelling.

I read many blogs and books designed to help writers improve their craft and help market their work. We also need to be proactive about developing readers and, more particularly, developing them from a very young age. This comes through reading to children, sharing and discussing pictures with them, and encouraging them to observe, interact with, and question their environment and all within it. I regularly meet children who live in towns and cities with access to a library or resource centre who are never encouraged to visit it. I also encounter children whose parents do not read to them. In terms of cognitive and emotional development this is really setting a child up for failure.

In areas where books are scant or non-existent, parents should be encouraged to tell stories to their children. These could be imaginative tales or of a biographical or autobiographical nature. When it comes to the latter two examples, this helps keep family history alive while children’s listening and language skills are improved. Once children are able to draw and paint, they can create illustrations of the stories they have heard. Singing songs together is also a great way of enhancing confidence and communication. It is even better if some action is included.  If parents and children do have access to books, it is still important to tell stories and sing songs. In other words, the more activities you include, the better.

Andrew Pender-Smith

Part two follows in a day or two.