Poetry: What is Acrostic? Create a Poem From the Letters of Your Name
Poetry is a creative process, and the medium for this process is words. The letters of your name provide a great resource for gathering words and brainstorming ideas. These letters are familiar to you and inspire themes of identity. Acrostic poetry uses the letters of your name as the first letter of each line to make an acrostic name poem.
Incorporate a tactile element in the creative process by using letter tiles to engage multiple senses when writing your own acrostic poems. A multi-sensory approach to writing helps you to make connections between words, ideas, and emotions and truly engage in acrostic form when writing this form of poetry.
Use Letter Tiles
Before writing your poems, make letter tiles out of cardstock, or gather tiles from word games. Stock up on these by combing yard sales and thrift stores for discarded games. Gather the tiles that contain the letters of your name. You now have something to work with. By using letter tiles, the poet engages multiple senses. Besides the obvious visual prompt, the tiles provide a tactile experience. The sound the tiles make when they snap or clack together provides an auditory stimulus as well.
Write an Acrostic
An acrostic is the most recognized type of poem you can write using the letters of your name. In an acrostic poem, the letters of a word are each placed on a single line at the left margin, in this case, the letters of your name. Think of words and phrases that describe you that begin with each of these letters.
Acrostic Poem Example
For the name “Luna,” the poem could contain lines such as “lovable / unique / near to friends / alive.”
You can do this form using multiple stanzas as well, and use your middle or last name as well. You can find acrostic poem templates and worksheets online if you want to use this activity with children; there are many subscribers of acrostic poetry online. This should be any easy and fun activity for kids – they just need to take their first word and separate the first letters out to make new words. For kids, it’s fun to use “my name” to make a poem!
Another way to form an acrostic is to rearrange the letters of your name and apply them to different aspects of yourself. For instance, assign different themes to your poem. Rearrange the letters of your name and use them to inspire words and phrases that describe how you feel today. Rearrange them again to inspire words that recall childhood memories. Rearrange them a third time to inspire words that symbolize things you hope for. The options are endless. If this exercise is for a classroom, students can use the letters of their names to recall elements of a social studies or science lesson, such as words relating to the Civil War or things found in the ocean.
There are many types of acrostic poems, and the poet is free to make choices about rhyme scheme, the subject of the poem, the number of lines of the poem, and whether there is a hidden message or not. You can even use the last letters of each line instead of the first letters. The English language allows for many fun ways to manipulate this form of poetry and use acronyms to be creative.
Make a Word Bank
A poet needs words. Use the letters of your name to generate a word bank. Scramble your letter tiles and rearrange them to make words. For instance, the letters in the name “Jaqueline Smith” can be rearranged to come up with these words: quite, quiet, just, smile, main, thin, nice and minute. Once you have created a word bank, incorporate these words into various poetry forms, for example, a couplet, which contains two lines that rhyme. Try a haiku, which contains three lines: the first containing five syllables, the second seven, and the third five. If you prefer freedom from form and convention, write a free verse poem, which disregards any rules of meter and rhyme.
Poets who are known for writing acrostic poetry include Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe, and Paul Hansford.
A double acrostic is an acrostic poem whose stanzas, except for the first two stanzas, are clues. The first letters of these words, in order, make a word that is described by the first stanza; the last letters, the second stanza.
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