Writing List Poems

Contributor: Emily Love. Lesson ID: 10785

How would you like to turn a grocery list into a work of art? You are a poet and don't know it! Use some great online examples and your own creative mind to make imaginative poems out of simple lists!



English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Imagine that you get to do the grocery shopping for your family this week. Make a list of all of the items you would buy at the grocery store. You can add items you actually need and items you wish you had in your house all the time!

People use lists in their everyday lives, from to-do lists to bucket lists (things they want to accomplish during their life).

But did you know that you can also make poetry out of lists?

Writing poetry gives you the opportunity to express yourself in a succinct, creative way.

While there are many forms of poetry with which you can experiment, one of the best ways to begin is by writing list poetry. A list poem contains a catalogue or running list of things, people, places, or ideas that all contribute to a main theme. You can include repetition in the poem or even rhyming words; however, the form of list poems is flexible in order to allow the author to communicate his or her theme clearly.

The list should not be a random list, but one that is centered around a central theme and has been carefully compiled. Each item of the list should build up to your final line, which should be the most powerful, humorous, or emotional item on the list.

You can begin a poem with a random list, then revise it to make a beautiful poem that communicates your main idea in a unique way.

Take a look at the poem, Mother Doesn't Want a Dog, by Judith Viorst, courtesy of Poets.org.

This poem focuses on all of the negative traits of dogs. The author uses humor throughout the poem, along with the repeated phrase "Mother doesn't want a dog," to show that the speaker is a child.

In this case, the last line is meant to be funny and surprising because the child has figured out a tricky way to get a dog!

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