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Poetry Writing Inspired by Shakespeare – Moving beyond the Sonnet

While Shakespeare is well known as a sonnet writer, anyone who has studied any of his plays, knows he had a few more poetry tricks up his sleeves. So, each year as my students study Romeo and Juliet, we notice his poetic language and use it to inspire our own poetry writing. The following are just a few of the poetry freewrites and prompts we experiment with together.

Two-Voice Poems:

When Romeo and Juliet first meet, they speak to each other in a two-voice sonnet. After we spend some time discussing the back and forth of this conversation (and the implications for their budding relationship), we look at other two-voice poems for additional inspiration.

One of my favorites to study is Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye’s “When Love Arrives.” In this poem, Sarah and Phil go back and forth, sometimes overlapping voices, to describe the different phases of love and relationships. It is a great model to watch and notice how they crafted their delivery to enhance the poetic meaning. Students also notice and discuss the contrasts between the relationship described in this poem and the short lived relationship between Romeo and Juliet.

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