Albany Poetry 
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Chagall Rest
Marc Chagall

Note to Educators

This lesson satisfies 2.1 for Writing: Writing Applications, Grade 4. English-Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools.

Formal lesson plan for this exercise is available for download in the Teachers' Guide.

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Integrated Poetry Writing


So far, you've written poems using 1) the five senses, 2) metaphor, 3) simile, and 4) personification.

A poem which arises from a single sentence written from triggering image can be an intuitive method of working with language.

Here, we will draw on the four previous exercises and write a poem which includes the five senses, a metaphor, a simile, and a personification.


Please browse through these paintings by Marc Chagall. As you browse through the archive, look for an image that amuses you, saddens you, makes you happy. Your strong reaction to the painting will assist you in making a strong poem. When you have found a Chagall painting to inspire you, return here to finish the writing exercise. Find a painting by another artist to work with, if you wish.

Now that you have located a source painting, let's bring together all of the techniques we've considered thus far to construct a poem that includes:

1. Three images of the five senses

2. One image of metaphor.

3. One image of simile.

4. One image of personification.

Begin by folding a sheet of paper in half, and then half again, so when you unfold it you have four squares.


Observe your painting, and then in the upper right square on your sheet, write down three images of the five senses. What do you smell when you enter the painting? What do you taste? What do you hear? Write in complete sentences to describe physical sensations that you might have were you actually a part of the painting.

In the second square, write a metaphor. You do this by entering your painting; become some thing in your painting and make a list on your sheet of five strong action verbs that could apply to that noun. Looking back at the painting again, find a second noun. Use this noun to describe the first: her hand is a swan dancing with the lake.

For a simile in the third square, repeat what you have done in the second square and use "like" or "as" to make the comparison between two unrelated objects.

For a image of personification, look again at your painting. Using two complete sentences, describe how some THING in the painting has feelings. Your personification will be strongest if you select an inanimate object from the painting.


Review the lines you have written on your sheet. Find the line you have written that has the strongest emotional resonance for you. Use THAT line as your starting line when you write.

Refer to the folded sheet of paper when you run out of images, and ask yourself what image would best fit below the line you have written last.

Continue in this fashion until you have used all of the lines from your folded sheet. Add and subtract lines during the writing process.

Revise and check your draft to see that it includes most of the four elements we discussed above. Edit and revise.

Using the above techniques, write a poem of 15-20 lines, and submit it for consideration on the APW Forum/Guests' Pages. Email subject line: Integrated Poem.


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