Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Shaping Up Poetry: Metaphor Thirds


joyous heart

joyous heart (Photo credit: Leonard John Matthews)



I’ve made this a part of our sophomore poetry curriculum and I am always taken by surprise at the superlative poems students produce with this format.  I found this form in  the book Risking Intensity by Judith Rowe Michaels.

Metaphor Thirds

1. Fold a piece of paper into vertical thirds

2. In the first third write five emotions, then fold back the paper

3. In the second column write five colors—these can be basic ones like red, blue, yellow or a bit more imaginative like periwinkle, chartreuse, silver-gray—then fold over this section

4. In the last column write objects or animals

5. Open out all the sections and read directly across

anger                    red                            door

sad                        periwinkle              mirror

 joyful                  chartreuse              star

loneliness         indigo                       blanket

nervous             brown                      rabbit

6. Read each line across to make five metaphorical statements. For example: Anger is a red door, sad is like a periwinkle mirror, joyful as a chartreuse star, loneliness is like an indigo blanket, nervous like a brown rabbit

7. Choose a metaphor statement and begin to think about the feeling, the color, and the object. What associations come to mind? Brainstorm some of what comes to mind with the image.

8. Begin to work the metaphor statement into a poem, either placing the statement as it is written or work the image into a conceptual piece. The metaphor thirds poem actually works best in a free verse form, although internal rhyme works well.

Chartreuse Leaf

Chartreuse Leaf (Photo credit: teresia)

multicolored splendor
that’s just how my day
has been
confetti bits of happiness
round about me
bright lights
of promise
like spring after
a tedious winter
A happy day filled
with greens, and light

Joyous like a chartreuse star

-(first draft of the poem found on the Triptych of Daffodils post)

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