"Poetry is the school I attended to learn to write prose."~Vivian Paley


I studied and wrote poetry in college, and later found that writing picture books and writing poetry had much in common. Both use distilled language in a concentrated presentation. Every word counts. Both are frequently read aloud and both are generally more rhythmic, more musical forms than straight prose. This is true even of free verse. When I was asked by teachers to add another writing workshop, a poetry section came to mind.

Past workshops have introduced students to basic poetic techniques I find useful in everything I write: metaphor, alliteration, economy, voice, tone, internal and slant-rhymes revision, meter and more. Each class opened with poems by a few of my favorite poets, poems meant to get students thinking, illustrate various techniques and to spark the workshop-long homework assignment: Write a poem or two or ten of your own. We write, read and discuss poems in each class.

Download Clay's Poetic License:

~The Best Poetry Links~

Academy of American Poets


Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate


Poetry Daily

A new poem every day



~The Best Poetry Links continued~

Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project


~Library of Congress Links~


Poetry 180

A Poem a Day for American High Schools

from the Library of Congress web site


Library of Congress Webcasts






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