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Here Come the Presidents!~Classroom Poem News!, Issue #004- -
November 14, 2018

Our Newest Poem
The Poetry-Writing Process
& Publish Poems Here!!!

We have new poems posted, and page updates just about every week. This week’s poem is “Invincibly Great/A President William McKinley Poem.” Unlike most of my president poems, it is an overview of his entire administration. Usually, to make a poem work, I have to choose just a slice of the information (make that a tiny slice) of what makes a president (or his administration) tick.

How did I write the poem? I will share the creative process. First, I research. Yes, it sounds weird to research for a poem, but when you are writing about an historical figure, it’s a good idea to gather facts and decide what you are going to write about. In McKinley’s case, he was president during an exciting time in US history. The young country was finally flexing its international muscles. As a result of the Spanish-American War, the United States, under William McKinley, annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. This all started with US intervention in Cuba’s battle for independence from Spain.

But what about the poem? How do you go from facts to a poem? I can share my own process. Research reveals facts. Fact are written down with words. Words are the building blocks of poems. You see them, you hear them if only with your inner ear. You gather them and put them in some kind of order. And then you start to play. The first two lines of this poem sum up the McKinley administration: “At the start of the Spanish-American War/Americans knew what real power was for” You can read the rest of the poem for yourself here.

After the poem has some “order,” the next step is to let it steep, simmer, marinate (to use many food metaphors), and then edit with fresh eyes and ears. Voila! A poem!

Special for teachers and librarians/media specialists. If you are an educator, you might find the entire US Presidents List section exciting. It’s been a huge project. My goal is to have a page for every president. As you can see, the drawings are done. So are the poems, actually. My challenge is to make an accurate fact-filled page for each president, along with every poem. It’s fun, but I’m a perfectionist so it takes time. Publish Student Poems Here! If you are working with students or your own kids to write poetry, don’t forget that there is a place to get published – for free! – on this site. Go to the Publish Poems section and have your student/child post one poem at a time, along with the info requested in the fields. There is even a field for illustrations or, perhaps, a photo of the poet. I will get these poems “live” as soon as possible, and even share it on Facebook and Twitter. I encourage you to do the same.

Coming Soon… I’m on president #25 now. That would be Theodore Roosevelt. What an exciting character! With some luck I’ll have the page posted before Thanksgiving. In any case, I wish you and yours the very best this holiday season!
Denise Rodgers

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