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Carol-Ann Hoyte: Jump-start your poetry motor

In honour of the December 25 broadcast of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" with WireTap's Jonathan Goldstein, we're devoting ourselves to Canadian children's authors and other Seussian surprises here at Canada Writes.

In her Seussian writing tip, children's poet Carol-Ann Hoyte offers unique ways to jump-start your inspiration.

Carol-Ann Hoyte.jpg
"If you want to write a children's poem but don't know what to write about or where to begin, you can try your hand at found poems. This form is a great way to jumpstart your poemmaking motor. Find a non-poetic text (ie. newspaper article, advertisement) and cull words from it to write a poem. You are only allowed to use words as many times as they actually appear in the text and you are not allowed to use words that do not appear in the text. 

To create other types of found poems, you can use children's books to craft book spine poems. You create these poems by stacking books, with their titles lined up, in an order that appeals and is meaningful to you. You are to use the titles as they are and are not allowed to add words. (Note: The top title is the first line of the poem and the bottom title is the last linie of the poem). Don't forget to take a photo of your finished poem. 

Here's a very short book spine poem which I created: "Dragons Dragons / The Dragons are Singing Tonight / In Flanders Fields". If you'd like to gain a visual sense of what book spine poems look like, you can check out the abundant samples of them posted online."

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Carol-Ann Hoyte is an emerging Montreal children’s poet who made her debut in February 2008. She is the creator and co-editor of the award-winning international anthology for children entitled And the Crowd Goes Wild!: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems. Most recently, three of her poems appeared in Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's The Poetry Friday Anthology: Poems for the School Year with Connections to the Common Core (K-5 Edition). Her poems for children have also appeared in the highly-regarded School Magazine Australia, Sheree Fitch’s book, Breathe, Stretch, Write, as well as children's magazines based in England, Canada, and the U.S. Carol-Ann loves novels in verse, limericks, and riddle poems. When she's not immersing herself in poetry, she works full-time as assistant librarian at Selwyn House School in Westmount, QC. 

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