A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms compiled by Paul B. Janeczko (Candlewick, 2005)
Here is a Digital Trailer for A KICK IN THE HEAD created by graduate student Karen Storrie.
Here is a Readers' Guide for A KICK IN THE HEAD created by graduate student Kendra Hensley.
Janeczko, Paul B. 2005. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. Ill. by Chris Raschka. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press. ISBN: 9780763606626
Recommended age level 8 and up
A Kick in the Head is second in a trilogy of poetry books from Paul Janeczko. In this beautifully illustrated guidebook, he teaches about poetic forms from a bevy of poems he has compiled. Twenty-nine poetic forms including couplets, haikus, limericks, acrostics and clerihew fill these colorful pages. What’s a clerihew you ask? Clerihews and many other types of poems are described in this poetry guide that presents poems from many different poets including Shakespeare. Definitions run along the bottom of the page and explain the rules of each form of poem. Chris Raschka, the illustrator, employs mixed-media in the form of watercolors, ink and torn rice paper to make the fun collages that appear on each page. He places a clever design on the top corner of each page to give the readers a clue to understanding the different types of poems.
• “This smart new collection, assembled by the creators of A Poke in the I, beautifully introduces the rules of poetry on a variety of literary playing fields.” – The Horn Book (starred review)
• “A beautiful, beautifully clear celebration of the discipline of poetry – and the possibilities offered by that discipline – this offering will find use both in the hands of eager poets and on the reference shelf.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
• “Readers will have the good fortune to experience poetry as art, game, joke, list, song, story, statement, question, memory. A primer like no other.” – School Library Journal (starred review)
• “This is the introduction that will ignite enthusiasm.” – Booklist (starred review)
• Claudia Lewis Award for Poetry Winner 2006
• Lupine Award Winner 2005 Picture Book
• Parent's Choice Award Gold 2005 Picture Books
Questions to ask before reading
To assess background knowledge, ask the following questions:
1. What is an acrostic poem?
2. What is a pattern?
3. How are some ways we can name a pattern? (e.g.abab, abba, etc)
4. What is a concrete poem?
5. What are some forms a concrete poem might take?
Suggestions for reading poems aloud
• “Slug File” by Avis Harley (a list poem): The teacher will first read the poem modeling correct pronunciation and inflection then he/she will read each phrase and the students will read the responding phrase chorally (For ex. teacher says: “Home Address:”, students say: “Shady Lawn”).
• “Morning has broken” by Eleanor Farjeon (an aubade): Play the accompanying music from Cat Steven’s album and have the students sing along.
• “Is There a Villain in Your Villanelle?” by Joan Bransfield Graham (a villanelle): Divide the class into 6 groups. Each group will read a 3 line stanza. Then the whole group will read the last verse of the last stanza (e.g. “Read on, my dear, for only time will tell.”)
Follow up activities
• Math: Students can look at different poems and try to identify the patterns in them. For example, a quatrain usually has an abab or an aabb pattern.
• Writing Poetry: Paul Janeczko explains many different types of poetic forms. Have the students try their hand at writing couplets. Here is a web site to get them started: http://volweb.utk.edu/Schools/bedford/harrisms/couplet.htm
• Science: Students can write a haiku about something in nature that they are studying.
• Art: Students can make collages, from torn up construction paper, to illustrate their favorite poems.
Related web sites/blogs
• Paul B. Janeczko
[Find out more about the poet/ teacher/writer in the Q&A section here.]
• Choral reading web site
[Look here to get ideas on how to implement choral reading in the classroom.]
• Giggle Poetry web site
[This is a fun poetry web site. Learn how to write haikus, clerihews and limericks.]
• Kid’s poetry
[Look here to find even more examples of how to write different types of poetry.]
*Paul B. Janeczko’s trilogy on concrete poems, poetic forms and poems to speak:
Janeczko, Paul. 2001. A Poke in the Eye: A Collection of Concrete Poems Ill. by Chris Raschke. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
Janeczko, Paul. 2005. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. Ill. by Chris Raschke, Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
Janeczko, Paul. 2009. A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing and Shout. Ill. by Chris Raschke, Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
*Other related poetry books:
Grandits, John. 2007. Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Prelutsky, Jack. 2008. Pizza, Pigs and Poetry: How to Write a Poem. Greenwillow Books.
Fleischman, Paul. 1988. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices. Ill. by Eric Beddows. Harper Trophy.
*Nonfiction books on patterns:
Harris, Trudy. 2000. Pattern Fish. Ill. by Green, Anne Canevari. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, Inc.
Sidman, Joyce. 2011. Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature. Ill. by Beth Krommes. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul B. Janeczko is a writer, a poet and an educator. He was born in Passaic, New Jersey. Growing up he said he wasn’t much of a reader until he got into the Hardy Boys series. He said, “Frank and Joe set me straight about the joys of reading.” Mr. Janeczko travels the country heading writer’s workshops and visiting schools.
[Paul B. Janeczko. Retrieved July 8, 2012 from http://www.paulbjaneczko.com]