Creative high school poetry idea: Poetic Art

Merge objects and verse for a new poetry activity

If you need a fresh and fun poetry idea, try “Poetic Art.”

This is an unexpected idea inspired by a post I saw in a Facebook teachers’ group credited to the Free Verse Project from the Academy of American Poets. Even though the links at the poetry site no longer connect, I’ve provided as much as possible below to get you started.

If you want to give your high school students a new angle on poetry that allows them some hands-on and screen-free time, this might be a good activity to try. It’s rather self-explanatory, but I’ve outlined some tips below.

Here are the basic directions for Poetic Art:

  • Find a published poem with a line or lines that appeal to you.
  • Recreate the line in a creative way using objects and text.
  • The lines cannot be written or typed on paper. Instead, use the poem’s content to determine the materials you use.
  • Photoshopping not allowed.
  • Think outside the obvious. Get creative!
  • Photograph your composition and display.

Using a line from Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” I created the example at the top of this post for my students. I literally made it on my desk one afternoon using pine needles from the front yard of our school, some black construction paper, and a couple of apples. Instead of a “O” made of a needle, I opted to go with a round piece of bark instead.

Poetic Art example for the poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot

Here’s another excellent example courtesy of the internet gods. (Honestly, I can’t determine the photographer or creator, but I’m including it here anyway as inspiration.)

Armed with a few example, my poetry students followed suit by creating their own versions of Poetic Art. Three of their creations follow below.


poetic art
Notice how this student used her hat in place of the word “hat.” Poetic Art by Ashley C. | “I Want My Hat Back” by Jon Klassen
poetic art
Poetic Art by Eva A. | from “Ode to Red Lipstick” by Megan Falley
poetic art
Poetic Art by Summer M. | from “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns
Marilyn Yung

Since this is National Poetry Month, I thought I’d pass along to you this easy poetry activity. If you decide to try it, let me know how it goes!

Also, check out this post for more interesting poem ideas!

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Featured Photo: M. Yung Poetic Art

Published by Marilyn Yung

Writes | Teaches | Not sure where one ends and the other begins.

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