Let’s explore teenage poems. Teenage poems are poems written by teens. First, you’ll read some teenage poems and then you’ll find directions for writing a fun type of poem called a cinquain (sin-kane).
Let’s get going with teenage poems in two fabulous poetry books.
The first book is You Hear Me? Poems and Writings by Teenage Boys, Edited by Betsy Franco, Photographs by Nina Nickles. Candlewick, 2001.
The second book is Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, Edited by Betsy Franco, Photographs by Nina Nickles. Candlewick, 2001.
Wow and Wow. In these two books, teens from diverse cultures and backgrounds write from the heart in free verse poems and brief stories. Raw emotions bring us deep inside a lot of topics and issues including identity, relationships, drugs, AIDS, family, rejection, loss, and survival.
Listen to these guys from You Hear Me? Poems and Writings by Teenage Boys:
Joshua White, age 12, in “Dark Cellar”—“I like to hide in my dark damp cellar/Where rats scurry across the cold cement floor…./All I know is that anger and sorrow/Evaporate into clouds of air…/When I’m there….”
James Balzer, age 14, in “I Am”—“I am the ungodly thing/Preached against in church—/ Preached against in politics./I am loathed,/I am shunned,/I am feared,/I am gay.”
Shysuaune T. Taylor, age 19, in “Black Boy Blues”—“Baby black boy eyes watch/dream smoke rise/from glass/pipes…/burning away bills, food, hungry baby mouths.”
Seth Chappell, age 14, in”Does My Mother Look Like This?”—“Does my mother look like/a person who would/leave four sons and a daughter/and go to another place?”
Troy Williams, age 16, in “I Want”—“To know/If there’s a ghetto/In heaven.”
Juan C. Medina Arias, age 18, in “Love Between Two Cultures”—“Between two cultures you find peace and friendship,/and when you fall in love/it doesn’t matter of what blood, just the blood/that is in your heart.”
Emmanuel E. Carter, age 14, in “Mail”—“Tomorrow I’m going to/seal up my heart/and send it to/my one true love./When she receives it,/I hope she will sign it/and send me hers.”
Stephan Johnson, age 17, in “Song For My Father”—“At night I say “I love you” and hear no response./The song of his silence is thrown down from pulsating stars/telling me to go on.”
And now girls tell us about themselves in Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls.
In these poems, you’ll meet teenage girls from diverse cultures and backgrounds with so much to say about love, rejection, grief, fear, vulnerability, pride, and happiness.
Listen to these girls in Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls:
Danya Goodman, age 15, in “Hallway Between Lunch and English (Freud Can Kiss My Sexually Ambiguous Arse)”—“…we are all armed/with our polysyllabic sabers/uninformed by our lust/united by our laughter/unique by our will/we march together toward/the war we cannot name/but at least we are dressed for it.”
Becky Mann, age 17, in “Contemplating fat and thin”—“Contemplating fat and thin/as I lift my foot upon the scale/my heart skips a beat/to see the tortuous needle/point to the number I don’t want to see/No food, you’re fat….”
Miriam Stone, age 16, in “Damn, I Look Good”—“…This coquette can get/Any man she’s set eyes upon—-/A female Don Juan./The best, I confess,/Cannot help but obsess/Over me,/Devil walking/In one hell of a dress.”
Marion Liu, age 17, in “A Man’s Strength, But a Woman’s Mind”—“I am not a superhero who changes gender by touching water, nor do I punch out bad guys on a daily basis. But like Ranma, in this Japanese anime, I break the stereotype of a girl as a dainty little thing who needs a man by her side in order to do anything. Like Ranma, I try to be the best girl that I can be.”
Lindsay Henry, age 17, in “Apricot Bath”—“…But if you must love me/Love the little smooth scar on my knee/not my eyes/Love my round belly/not my legs/Love the two freckles on my neck/that looks like a vampire’s kiss/not my lips/Love my square, pudgy toes/not my smile….”
Mahogany Elaj Foster, age 16, in “Words”—“Words fly across the paper like blackbird across the sky/and I think to myself why oh/why oh why/why why,/Why would anyone use words like/I hate and/I can’t and/I quit, therefore, I won’t….”
Laura Veuve, age 15, in “I know I am strong,”—“I know I am strong/both in my convictions and in myself./I know I am beautiful/both inside and out./I know I am powerful/and growing more so./I know I will do just fine.”
Go to your library–public or school–and find a copy of Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls and You Hear Me? Poems and Writings by Teenage Boys. Professor Granpa Tonio found both books at his public library. YAY!
Hey ho: Now it’s time for you to become a teenage poet.
Write a CINQUAIN (sin-kane). A WHAT? A CINQUAIN IS AN UNRHYMED POEM WITH A FIVE-LINE STANZA.
To write a cinquain, follow these easy directions:
- Line 1 A one-word title (a noun that tells what your poem is about
- Line 2 Two adjectives that describe what your poem is about
- Line 3 Three —ing participles that describe what your poem is about
- Line 4 A phrase that tells more about what you’re writing about
- Line 5 A synonym for your title, another noun that tells what your poem is about
WHEW! Sounds hard, right? Wrong. Make it easy:
- Write about something or someone you like
- Write about something you don’t like
- Write about something you see around you.
- Write about something that happened to you
(Thank you for the suggestions: Ken Nesbitt’s Poetry 4 Kids)
Examples of cinquain will help you get motivated. Visit this website for good examples:
Cinquain Poems | Examples of Cinquain Poetry
Ready to write? Think friends, family, first love, pets, dreaming, losing, gaining, fear, success, teachers…
Go ahead, get that poem down. Put your poem and/or your notes about the poem in your writer’s notebook. HUH? Writer’s WHAT? Right here, on this website, you’ll find my blog about WRITING TOOLS. That’s where you’ll find a description of the writer’s notebook. Go there now. Be happy.
SHARE YOUR POEM WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS Happy Reading!
And away we go…