This set of creative writing ideas is taken from a text written some years ago – Crafting Poetry: Original Writing for GCSE [written coursework, still available for assessment at the time]. All of the ideas were built around poems by the writer Phil Bowen – with a few others – and his reading/performance of these.
The history leading up to this is I had invited Phil to work in my school a few times as a visiting writer, and his ability to engage students with his personality, performance/reading and distinctive poetry was always a huge success. Always.
My friend and colleague Martin Phillips had worked with Phil Bowen too, and through Martin’s English advisory work with Devon County Services and running of the Digital Media Education Centre, he engaged Phil to be filmed reading and discussing some of his and other writers’ work. I wrote the accompanying booklet of creative writing ideas based on these.
The book and DVD from this project are no longer available, but I will present a selection from this here for you to download and use if you wish. One of my key intentions is to eventually use Phil’s poem Blue Docs and provide his reading for this, but that may take some organising. I have received permission to use that poem from Phil, and I will work on how to select and make available his reading online. Blue Docs became the most successful ‘copycat’ poem I ever used in working with students to engage and encourage their creative writing and using it as a template/model – more on this when I am able to post.
I am presenting here a set of creative writing ideas based on Hands, and this theme was prompted by Phil’s poem Blue Hands which he also read and discussed in the film, though I cannot provide this too. Rather than rewriting these, they are scanned from the original booklet, with the addition of new headers – in colour!
The following resources were written for students so the explanations, suggestions and support should all be self-contained within them:
This is a writing activity rather than a creative prompt. There is the potential for being creative and through copying the model poem Elk River Falls by Billy Collins.
I haven’t altered this much at all from its original format [and its beginnings can be read here]. It is quite a complex task for students/writers, but that was the point in some respects.
Above all there is a genuine focus on the listening to and hearing the rhythms of one’s writing, the idea is that this empathetic approach to writing is better than the formulaic/grammatical, not that functional elements do not matter as is evidenced in the activities to do with punctuation and connectives. But the idea is to foreground the empathy – that ‘feel’ for writing writers do develop.
1 ERF TeacherGuidance Notes
2 ERF StudentWriter Notes
3 ERF Poem
4 ERF Prose Version
5 ERF Sequencing Exercise
6 ERF Prose Punctuation Focus
7 ERF Prose Connectives Focus
The two following Dickens’ resources are an extract from Dombey and Son as an example of mimetic [and therefore empathetic] writing about the movement of a train, relentlessly forwards. These can be used as a further example of the long sentence is wonderful operation [the second version removing the dark references to ‘death’].
8 Dickens passage
9 Dickens passage2
Perhaps this is a spoof ‘creative’ writing resource.
But the creation of the Sentence Hamburgers image is too good not to post, so the resources come with it.
It isn’t really about creative writing, but it isn’t about secretarial writing. It is about having some fun embracing both. But hugging the first one tighter.
It is a challenging task: organise the deconstructed sentences into a ‘correct’* order and punctuate accordingly. If you don’t feel you would/could present to students/writers, try it yourself. But no peeking first at the ‘completed’ sentences. Try the actual exercise with each individual sentence grid.
*This doesn’t come from a previous diabolical English SAT so naturally there might be quite acceptable variations/alternatives. This being the possible outcome, the ‘completed’ sentences download is irrelevant.
If you want to read the 2015 genesis of this idea, you can here.
first hamburger sentences
second hamburger sentences
completed hamburger sentences
One of my completed hamburgers:
Here are creative writing resources on the theme of Light [NPD 2015].
This is a wonderfully simple, expansive theme. Everything is hopefully explained in the Teacher/Guidance notes.
Anyone immediately drooling at the idea of a ‘subordinate clause’ poem is a serious cause for concern…
PDF resources here [right-click to open]:
1 TeacherGuidance Notes
2 My Light-Hearted Poem
3 LightnessDarkness Poem
4 Subordinate Clause Light Poem
These creative writing resources are on the theme of Remember, and this was the NPD theme in 2014 I seem to recall…
The resources are explained in the TeacherGuidance notes. The Word document  is a Remember poem template which can be downloaded and used to write on, though it is quite a simple template!
1 Remember TeacherGuidance notes
2 Remember ‘Prompt’ Poem
3 Remember ‘Complete’ poem
4 Remember template
I Remember poem
The theme for this collection of creative writing resources is The Future. This was the NPD theme in 2005, so this work originates in a relatively distant past which didn’t predict this future.
The ideas and approaches are contained in one sheet of teacher/guidance notes, and then there are resource sheets illustrating the models for writing.
An ultimate aim is for students/writers to have poems about being ‘human beings’ that they can send into the future [which is perceived here as outer space], literally.
Well, literally as an email into a pretend outer space which is in the future, obviously…
1 Poem into the Future T – G Notes
2 Human Being Acrostic
3 Exercises Ideas
4 Human Beings Poem
5 Adrian Mitchell
This set of creative writing ideas took me back: to 2010 when the NPD theme was Home. I was also struck by the minimalism of my ideas/content then!
Perhaps I was uncertain what the uptake would be; perhaps this is when I introduced List Poems as a key model for such resources.
The logo for this theme is new, done today. Maybe there is some further development to be made with ideas for the Ablution-Poem and the Mystery-in-the-Basement Poem. Have a go, and let me know!
1 Home is
2 Home is
3 Home Is TeacherGuidance Notes
The theme for these resources is Truth [NPD 2019]
All of the following resources are designed to encourage and support students/writers to write poetry on the theme of Truth. The ideas are not about reading poems and then spotting/commenting on devices used and similar. Hopefully students/writers will share their work, but this is about creating, not analysing.
Some of the resources are still in their ‘NPD’ referencing, but that is only because this wasn’t easy, and not necessary, to change. The erasure text resources are models and templates for this kind of writing. Any reproduced in Word is so that they can be opened and edited in Word.
Resources/Downloads [right click]:
1 Truth Lines
2 Truth Poems – When I
3 Truth Poems – Truth Text Erasure
4 Truth Erasure Text eg
5 Truth Erasure Text eg 2
6 Truth Erasure Text eg 3
Truth Erasure Text in Word
Truth Erasure Text
The Poetry of Truth Quotes
7 The Poetry of Truth Quotes Erasure Text
8 Found The Poetry of Truth Quotes Erasure Text
This is a fulsome resource based on the theme of Freedom [the NPD theme in 2017].
There are student/writer notes, models, suggestions, prompts, whole poem sheets, teacher/guidance notes and a short PowerPoint. Dip in and out. Here are the resources:
1 Freedom To
2 Freedom To
3 Freedom To
4 Freedom To
5 Freedom is Randomised
6 Freedom is Randomised SS
7 Freedom is Where
8 Liberty Poem
9 Liberty Poem Edited
10 People of the World
11 A Song poem
12 Freedom to write PP
13 Freedom – TN