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Poetry Enterprises :: Writing Prompts, Teaching Reading, Writer's Workshops & Teacher Lesson Plans

- Ben Kaiel
Founded by Roger Weaver in 1997, the purpose of Poetry Enterprises is to advance global peace and justice through the civilizing influence of poetry.
In January 2006 Poetry Enterprises was
notified that it received a 2005 Oregon
Literary Fellowship to Publishers by
Literary Arts.

Poetry Enterprises is a private educational nonprofit which benefits poetry in a variety of ways--through the international poetry anthology , to volunteer teaching in local area schools, and schools around the state about poetry, to providing free educational materials to teachers and self-taught poets, and promoting the cause of poetry through readings, student poetry awards, and other benefits related to poetry.

Poetry Writing Prompts

Included among the educational materials are writing prompts for poets in a "stall," or who are waiting for the push to start the train of words along the track to writing a poem to a destination that is perhaps unknown. This is train's engine is still in the "I think I can" phase. Some of the writing prompts focus on specific celebrations of life, love and relationships. Some obviously had mature poets in mind, while others are directed to younger writers more lacking in life experience. Read more about writing prompts.

Teaching Reading With Poetry

Teaching reading with poetry engages the reader with the poem, by asking questions of the students which lead them to informed interpretations, with the understanding there are no single correct interpretations, but that one should be able to locate the basis for any interpretation in the poem. The brevity of most poems lends itself to teaching reading in more compact time segments than longer prose passages would allow. Read more about teaching reading with poetry.

Writer's Workshop for Elementary Teachers in Haiku

The haiku is a natural choice for a writer's workshop for elementary teachers. Children count the syllables in this three line Japanese form--line 1 has five syllables, line 2 seven and line 3 five. Nature images that imply a season of the year present a picture in the first two lines, and line three jumps to what that picture reminds the poet of, or what the picture makes the writer feel. Haiku about people are called senryu, after the Japanese master who wrote them. Read more about a writer's workshop for elementary teachers in haiku.

Poetry Lesson Plans for Teachers

Poetry shows what we value. Poetry lesson plans for teachers evoke responses in elementary and middle school students through exercises like these: 1) Students are asked to name words that "bounce" for them, or give off energy when they are spoken aloud. 2) Ask students if they wrote about their feelings today, how would those feelings "look"? Ask them to give their feelings a face in words. 3) Ask students to write down their favorite colors, then in columns next to those colors, to list what each color would smell like, the sound the color would make, its taste, or the texture the color would have if they closed their eyes and felt it with their fingers? This association between the five senses is called synesthesia, the mingling of the senses, and can be seen in Artur Rimbaud's "Le Bateau Ivre," or "The Drunken Boat," for one example. Read more about poetry lesson plans for teachers.

Information About Poetry Enterprises

Poet and retired professor of English, Roger Weaver, is the founder and Executive Director of Poetry Enterprises. He may be reached at 712 N.W. 13th St., Corvallis, OR 97330, or at

Contributions to Poetry Enterprises to benefit the Kip Smith Young Writers Award,* or the O.S.U.Weaver Undergraduate Poetry Award (through the Academy of American Poets),** or any of the activities and readings of the Poetry Interest Group, including books donated to schools or the Jackson Street Youth Shelter with a donation value of at least $25, will qualify for a tax-deductible receipt from nonprofit 501(c)3 Poetry Enterprises, if requested. Please designate how you would like your donation to be used.

To Topos
Inquire regarding submissions to Poetry Enterprises at weaverr66timmy@yahoo.com.

Individual pages from a poetry handbook by Roger Weaver may be ordered here. To view and download a sample, click the appropriate page for the Handbook in the menu. (These are from a handbook called Standing on Earth, Throwing These Sequins at the Stars; a Handbook for Poets.)

Wider involvement has included volunteer teaching about poetry at Oregon schools such as the Crossroads School in Oregon City, the Da Vinci School of the Arts in Portland, and the Willamette Valley Community School in Corvallis, Oregon. I continue to teach Junior Great Books at the Adams Elementary School in Corvallis, and like to help organize, publicize and stage poetry readings for as wide a constituency of poets as are found in the mid-Willamette Valley. Finally, Greece has been such an inspiration for my poetry because I owned a house on the island of Paros for eleven years.

*The Kip Smith Young Writers Award recognizes excellence in writing in any genre by high school seniors in Benton Co., OR. A cash prize has been involved since the award's inception
in 1985.

**The Weaver Undergraduate Poetry Award is O.S.U.'s oldest
continuous writing award, and is available annually since 1986 to all poems submitted by currently enrolled O.S.U. undergraduates. The cash prize from O.S.U.'s Poetry Interest Group is augmented in perpetuity by the Academy of American Poets, through its University and College Prizes program.