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Life Poetry
By Brenda B. Covert

1     Today we're going to learn to write poetry that celebrates your life. You are alive today; that makes you a survivor! During times of struggle, whether it be personal problems or perhaps a national attack, you can remember that you are a survivor. You are worth celebrating.
2     I call this poetry, "Life Poetry." It is also called "catalog or list poetry." It's easy to write. There is no rhyme or rhythm involved unless you want to use them! The only rule for "Life Poetry" is that you are honest.
3     To begin, get a clean sheet of paper. You are going to be making short lists under six headings. After you have completed the lists, I'll explain how to turn them into a life poem.
4     Think of the room in your home where you spend most of your time. List four to six nouns that relate to that room, without naming the room! You can include verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. For example, if I were to make a list for my kitchen, I might write this: sink cluttered with dishes, the aroma of peach butter, corn flakes scattered everywhere, fluffy cat looking for a treat, child proudly making a sandwich. Those things are not always there, but they represent that room of my house! Notice that I didn't write complete sentences in my list. Make your first list. Be creative!
5     The focus of the next heading is a little larger. While the first list was about a room, this heading covers your home and yard or play area, the places where you primarily live. Think not only about objects in these places, but also activities and emotions that are common there. Are there any sounds or smells that are familiar to your home and play area? Choose around six thoughts for your list.
6     The third list is about your community and state. By community I mean the country, small town, or big city where you live, local places you have visited, and things like that. Are there any attractions where you live? For instance, if you live in Cincinnati, Ohio, you could include King's Island in your list. This list should include things with which you are familiar; you shouldn't have to research your community. Then move on to your state, which may require research. Without naming your state, list clues that a person could use to guess your home state. What makes your state different from other states? What makes it special?
7     The fourth list is about our country. Without writing the words "America" or "USA," write down some of our most famous landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell, and your feelings about our country and its people. Think about how we help each other during times of crisis. Remember the courage of our police officers, our firefighters, our military, and even our ordinary citizens who risk their lives to protect us and keep us safe!
8     Now we'll switch gears and focus on your heritage. Think about your ancestors as well as your living relatives. Did they come from other lands? What types of work have they done? Don't list them all, but choose the ones that stand out in your mind. How do you feel about your heritage? This list will show others the path that leads to you.
9     Your last list will be about your vision for the future, not only your future, but your family's future, and also your country's future. Are you optimistic about the future? Are you pessimistic? Do you have hopes and dreams? List all of that here. This list may include some things you enjoy now, such as music, food, sports, and so on. Again, you don't need complete sentences.

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