How to Write a Catalog Poem on Things You Do Everyday
A catalog poem, also known as a list poem, involves a series of lines that begins as a simple list and, when rephrased, describes a specific theme or event in a creative way. This type of poem can vary in length from only a few lines to many pages, and the length will depend on the effect the poet wants to create. Topics for a catalog poem may vary, but an easy poem to form may come from simply listing the things you do each day.
Create a List
Begin by making a list of your daily activities from morning to night. You may remember enough of your typical daily activities to create your poem, but if you want a complete, accurate list, you may want to add to your list as your day progresses. For example, you may include waking up, getting out of bed and eating your breakfast. You may also want to add more detailed activities such as looking for your car keys and putting on your seat belt. Do not have concerns about the way you form this initial list since it will act as a source to work from but may not resemble your final poem.
Before you start putting together your poem, you need to decide the voice or style of your poem. For example, you may want to include humor throughout the poem or have small moments of humor. You may also want a poem that includes rhymes at the end of each line. The style of poem you choose will influence how you pull together each line and may also affect the content in your catalog poem.
Once you know the style of poem you want to create, you can revisit your list of daily activities. The list of things you do each day will start to make up the lines of your poem. Keeping your intended style in mind, look at each activity. If you want a funny catalog poem, you may want to focus on the activities from your list that may add humor. Cross out activities you do not want to include and make note of the lines you find interesting and want to include in your poem. These lines will help you start the catalog poem.
With your revised list of activities in hand, read the lines out loud. You may start to feel a rhythm take shape. You may need to adjust some of the lines to keep with the rhythm or to enhance a rhyme if you chose that style. Work with some of the lines to repeat certain sounds, words or phrases. To finalize your poem, continue to read it aloud until you feel confident that the list represents your everyday life and your best ability as a poet.
- Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft; Janet Burroway
- Colorado Humanities: The List Poem Assignment
Kate Beck started writing for online publications in 2005. She worked as a certified ophthalmic technician for 10 years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Beck is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel.