4/3 – Concrete imagery

Welcome to our Poetry unit. This week we’ll be doing minilessons and experiments each day. I’ll lead today and tomorrow, and Mr. Sloat will lead on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, we’ll have a visiting author/publisher visit as a part of the Mission Creek Festival. Next week we’ll be doing our contract writing for poetry.

My goal on previous contracts is to get them back to you before you finish your next one. That’s not ambitious, but it gives me two weeks to really read your work. Please be patient. I like to give your work time and attention.

Daily warm up Write a quick draft of a poem that features 3 different objects from the room where you slept as a young child.

Daily Minilesson

Today we’re going to talk about one of the most important skills in poetry, and one that’s typically undervalued by younger poets: concrete imagery.

For the lesson, I’m borrowing ideas from this article, so if you miss class, you’ll probably want to read it!

We’ll start by looking at these two poems together, and talking about them.

We’ll cover a couple of key terms in the process:

  • concrete
  • abstract
  • cliche

And we’ll talk about why poetry is not a “gush of feelings,” but a craft–and concrete images are a big part of making that craft happen on the page.

We’ll make lists for what makes language more concrete and what makes it more abstract.


Today your practice assignment is to write a poem that relies on concrete images. Note that doesn’t mean it can’t be deep or meaningful. It doesn’t HAVE to be about “nose hairs in the sink.” But it does have to be grounded in concrete images, at least for this assignment.

This poem is due tomorrow. It should be at least 15 lines or longer, and the majority of the lines should be longer than four words.


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