Poetry Anthology Assignment Examples

Every year since our founding, The Telling Room has undertaken a yearlong Anthology Project, a themed writing and art project that engages hundreds of youth at our Writing Center and in local schools.

Our anthologies are as diverse and amazing as the students we work with.

The Telling Room reinvents itself annually under the auspices of a new theme that permeates our daily writing programs for young people and sets the stage for a new set of ideas, questions, projects, and activities. These themes serve as a way for our community to learn about contemporary life from the perspective of the young people who tackle these questions and ideas in their writing with us. In the past, we have explored themes of belief, neighborhoods, place, food, and more.The theme serves as an anchor to our diverse and multi-faceted programming, and each yearlong project culminates in the publication of our yearly anthology of student writing.

The anthologies in our Telling Room library are as diverse and amazing as the students we work with; each is filled with incredible and empowering stories from kids who might have thought they had no voice. As local bestsellers, these anthologies have been used in classrooms throughout the state, and have begun to change how kids see each other and how adults see the youth in their communities.

2017-18 Theme

This year’s theme: COLOR. In the past, we have explored the ideas of neighborhoods, place, food, belief, water, time, encounters, and more. With this year’s theme, we have our senses—and our pencils—trained on color. Students will be invited to explore the theme in different ways as they write stories, essays, or poems—perhaps with certain hues and shades as a setting background, a descriptive detail, a character's name, or a trait or symbol. We never know what kids will write about and we are excited to discover what they uncover and create as they write around and within this year’s theme. A big part of the work we do with young people is to provide a framework for thinking about—and writing about—their lives differently, whether in relation to the larger world, their personal history, the future, their community, place, history, nature, and so forth. Writers are observers, witnesses. This year’s theme will act as a great canvass to explore the many ways that COLOR weaves and is woven into our world, each other, ourselves, The Other, the unknown, the ordinary, and even mystery. There are many possible topics—both for using the issues around colors as writing prompts, and also for investigating how writers use themes to craft poems and tell good stories that others will be eager to hear.

We hope you'll join us for this exciting new year of programs!

Check out these videos to get a sense of our previous Anthology Projects – each captures a different year-end event, typically held in May to celebrate the release of our newest book.

Encounters - 2017

Time - 2016

Water - 2015

Wild - 2014

The Encyclopedia Project - 2013

Searching for Maine, Searching for Me - 2012

Play - 2011

At the Table - 2010

Neighborhood Stories - 2009

The Belief Project - 2008

The Storyhouse Project - 2007

Poetry Anthology

Learning Goal: We are learning to identify and experiment with a variety of poetic elements and forms in order to create our own poetry anthology.

An anthology is a collection. You will create an anthology of poems written by you! We will be studying several poetic elements and forms, allowing you to experiment with a variety of styles and techniques.  You’re a poet, and just don’t know it!


Putting it together:

Your anthology will include your FIVE favourite poems (each one must represent a different form studied and contain an example of a poetic element).

Your anthology will need a cover page, a title, and a table of contents. It may be electronic or paper.

Each of your five poems will be on a page of its own. You should illustrate your poems or decorate each page. Poetry is very visual, so you must take care in how you present your work. Overall presentation is important.

On each poem in your anthology, you need to include an explanation for each of the poems you chose. In addition, you need to identify the poetic element you used in each.

Make sure your writing is clear (carefully consider word choice, pay attention to spelling, etc.)

Be creative. Have fun. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Poetry is a very forgiving form of writing.


Success CriteriaNot YetApproachingMeetingExceeding
I can identify specific poetic elements and explain how they help communicate meaning
I experiment with different poetic elements and forms
I can produce a finished, professional copy of my anthology that meets identified criteria listed above.


Poetic Elements & Terminology

Alliteration: Repetition of the same consonant sound at the start of several words in a line of poetry or sentence.  E.g., Hot-hearted Beowulf was bent upon battle.”

  • Betty Botter bought some butter, but, she said, the butter’s bitter; if I put it in my batter it will make my batter bitter, but a bit of better butter will make my batter better. Betty Botter by Mother Goose

Free Verse: Poetry written with no rhyming scheme, meter, or form.

Idiom: Common phrases composed of words that cannot be understood through their literal or ordinary meanings.  E.g., A Chip On Your Shoulder, A Piece of Cake, An Arm And A Leg, etc…

Imagery & Descriptive Writing: Language that appeals to the five senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight. It does not use generic adjectives. For example, “nice” might become “angelic”, and bad might become “fiendish”. Your armpits don’t “smell”, they “wreak like the fluid at the bottom of a garbage can”.


Metaphor: A direct comparison between two unlike things without the use of the words “like” or “as”. E.g., “All the world’s a stage,” compares life to a movie. “All our words are crumbs that fall from the feast of the mind,” compares words to crumbs, and thinking to feasting.


Simile: A comparison between two unlike things, using “like” or “as”. “Her eyes shone like stars,” “As black as night”, “As quiet as a mouse,” “Her voice is thin, As the ghosts of bees”. Avoid clichés!


Onomatopoeia: The use of words that sound like the noise they describe. E.g., crunch, meow, bang, psst, splash.

Hyperbole: An exaggeration used for creating humour or for emphasizing a point when describing. Kids are great at this! Example: am so hungry I could eat a horse. I had a ton of chores to do. If I can’t get a Smartphone, I will die.

Personification: A form of figurative language in which poets attribute human-like characteristics to an animal, object, or idea (i.e. the ability to think, speak, feel, hear, etc.) The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes.  The leaves whispered their secrets to the night sky.

I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

Repetition: The deliberate use of a sound, word, or phrase more than once.

Rhyme: The repetition of somewhat like sounds. These could come at the end of a line in poetry creating end rhyme or they could be within a line for internal rhyme, when two similar sounds appear together.

The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical.
But the good ones I’ve seen,
So seldom are clean,
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

Opposites/Contrast: In order to emphasize one feeling or emotion or colour, poets often compare it to it’s opposite to make their point.

Rhyming scheme: The pattern of rhymes (aa/bb or ab/ab or limerick)

Stanza: A group of lines in a poem set off by empty spaces, much like paragraphs.

Symbol: The use of an idea to represent or stand in for something else.  For example colours represent various things: Black is used to represent death or evil. White stands for life and purity. Trophy for victory…


Mood: The feeling captured in a poem through the poet’s use of words, phrases, repetition, rhyme, and sometimes exaggeration. Usually this is a product of several elements working together “The river, reflecting the clear blue of the sky, glistened and sparkled as it flowed noiselessly on.” What mood does this sentence create and why?


Tone: The suggested attitude that the writer takes toward the reader or audience or topic.

Voice: This is usually the speaker and establishes the point of view taken on by the writer or poet.


Created by Carolyn Mills

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