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Aug 01
Grace's picture

Details: Concrete vs. Abstract

We want our writing to feel genuine, and to connect with our readers to the point where they can visualize our words in their heads. A great way to learn to connect to readers through writing is by understanding the difference between concrete and abstract details. A concrete detail/image, most of the time, will engage your reader, and make them have that visual and deep reaction to your writing. 

Concrete vs Abstract. A concrete detail/image is one that is grounded in tangible ideas, examples, and descriptions. An abstract detail/image has language and examples that are conceptual and have multiple interpretations. 

        Concrete: The plant just barely brushed the bottom of my knee; its flower was broad as my face, and its stem as thick as my pinky. 

Jul 28


Write poetry about your friends. 

One of the strongest communities we will ever have is our friend group. Friends give us support, happiness, and a shoulder to cry on. Reflect on how your friends have helped shape you as a person, and write poetry based on these thoughts. 

First, think about your friends, and, specifically why they are your friends. What are the qualities and elements about them that make you want to be their friend? 

Second, think about all of the good memories you have had with each of them. How have they made your life better. 

Third, ask yourself this hard question: what would my life be like without this person? 

Fourth, write a poem about each of your friends. Think about all of these elements, and really try and focus on why your friend community is so important to you. 

Comment on the works of your peers. 

Read your poems to your friends. 

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Kevin Huang]

Jul 27
admin's picture

Haiku and Tanka

Tell your community story through poetry. Try the simplicity of Japanese haiku and tanka.

Japanese author Daistez T. Suzuki on the haiku poem: “[They] get inside an object, experience the object’s life, and feel its feelings.”
The haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that developed out of group poetry.  Nearly nine hundred years ago groups of young poets gathered to write together what is called a renga, a type of collaborative poem.  By the 1400s the short sections of the poem broke from the long poem and developed into haiku.
What is haiku? Although nothing is hard and fast, a haiku poem has these qualities:

Jul 26


Write a poem about someone who has evoked a positive change in your life. 

Think of someone you admire, someone who has helped change your life for the better. Write a poem that reflects on how this person has helped shape you as a person.


1. Create a list of mentors in each of your communities (family, town, school, teams, etc). These are people who have sparked at least one positive change in your life.

2. Pick one of these people and think about the change you have experienced because of this person. Write your poem. Don’t mention their name, just their actions.

3. R
ead your poem to your mentor and ask for their reaction. You never know, you might be able to turn their reaction into the last line of your poem.

4. The best will be published in The Voice, YWP's digital magazine.

5. Comment on the poems of your peers.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photi by Kevin Huang, 2015]


Jul 26

Family Traits

Think about what you have inherited from your family community and write a poem. 

This is a poetry prompt that will get you to reflect on who you are, and a community that has greatly helped shape you as a person. You will produce something creative, and something reflective.

Imagine you are deep in the woods, and deep into the rainy night, with nothing but your fire for company. You find yourself thinking about home... about your parents and family. You think about the traits you've inherited from them, but also the ways you're very different.

1. Make a list of those similarities and differences.
2. Make a "list poem" out of the traits list you have created and out of the setting in the challenge.
3. Read your poem to yourself. Does your poem give you a new insight into how your community shapes you?
4. Comment on the poems of your peers, and ask for their feedback on yours.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Kevin Huang, 2016]