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Poetry & Playwriting

Introduction to Writing Poetry and Plays

The goal of this class is to introduce students to the basic elements that make up

various poetic forms and to the basic elements of writing a one act play. There will be

no homework and no grades in this class. I hope the student will go away with an

appreciation for and an elementary understanding of poetry and plays.



Week 1 How should we define poetry? What are the basic elements of

poetry? Example: “Fog” by Carl Sandberg (Free Verse)

Write a free verse poem.

Week 2 Metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia

Example: “The Bells” by Edgar Allen Poe

Write a free verse poem using one or more of these elements.

Week 3 Rhyme schemes, slant rhymes, internal rhymes

Example: “Lady from Leeds” (Limerick)

Write a limerick.

Week 4 Line breaks and enjambment

Example: “Endymion” by John Keats

Write a poem using the form of your choice. Think about line breaks

and why you are breaking lines where you are.

Week 5 Metrical patterns: meter, foot, syllable, stress

Explanation of metrical patterns; definition of foot; counting syllables

and determining stress. Practice in counting syllables in Haiku poems.

Write a Haiku poem.

Week 6 Stanza/strophe

Poetic forms examined: Sonnet, Couplet

Write a sonnet.

Week 7 Poetry workshop: for this class, we will work on the six poems we’ve


Week 8 Introduction to Playwriting: elements of a one-act play

Week 9 Setting: time in history, social milieu, and location

Mapping out the setting (drawing, describing, or creating a collage)

Week 10 Characters: physical description, personality, personal history

Creating a character profile: character types

Week 11 Plots and structure

Mapping out the plot structure: what’s the conflict?

Week 12 Dialogues, monologues, asides, narration

Role playing to reach natural dialogues

Week 13 Stage direction: entering, exiting, moving around the stage.

Costumes and props.

Week 14 Workshop: putting on the finishing touches

Week 15 Play rehearsals

Week 16 Performing the plays


Ages: 12+yo.

Teacher: Beverly Rousseau

Cost: See pricing chart

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