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Harlem Hopscotch

Lesson 37 Chapter 5 Module 4

This week we’ve been learning a fair bit about some different styles and structures for writing, from drafting essays and articles to bulleted-lists, with some medieval literature and one looooonnnnnng run-on sentence as well.

There are lots of different ways that you can use your writing and available creative tools (comprehension, words, grammar, etc) to tell your story in a unique way.

It may be something that is easier for the reader to scan on the internet or it may be a complete loss of stop-punctuation to give the prose a breathless crashing urgency.

I would be remiss to be talking about different styles of writing without delving into one extremely important genre that might just make some of you want to run screaming for the hills—poetry.

To be honest, I’m not always the biggest fan of poetry myself. I used to write a lot of it (badly) when I was younger. One particularly horrifying series that somehow incorporated cabbage into the topic of unrequited love scratches painfully at my memory bank.

But poetry is such a fascinating structure to learn from.

While prose has the luxury of using a lot of words to get a general point across, poetry is more shrewd.

Each and every word in a poem has to earn its place there.

Those few words should relay something that will resonate with and leave an impression on the writer. It is a confluence of emotion and thought and experience and view, crashing together in a short space.

That’s pretty damn hard to create.

Have no fear, though. I went out and found an expert. Not just by my standards, but by Oprah’s standards as well.

And really, who am I to argue with Oprah?

When she started featuring poetry in O Magazine during the month of April (National Poetry Month), she and guest editor Maria Shriver got in touch with Dr. Maya Angelou with a simple question:

How do you write a poem?

What Angelou teaches is a master class in and of itself...in literally 300 or so words.

That’s a powerful writer right there.

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