Posted by: jeannineatkins | May 10, 2013

A Way to Write a Poem about Science

Read widely. Cut a path. Find poems in the sidetracks as I move in and out of my comfort zone.


Look through a book from a long-dismantled shelf with my father’s penciled check marks besides plants he’d seen. Feel tender, which may suggest the shape and mood of a poem. Robert Frost said, “A poem begins with a lump in the throat.”


Dilly-dally. Focus. Take a break to read poems I like. Decide I want a bit of humor and kick up the rhythm and plot ways to end on rhymes. Or leave some in the middle of lines.


Pare down. Pat the dog. Pour more tea.


Come up with three or five poems. Decide on one for now. Write a lot. Choose eight lines. Fiddle with each one, trying to leave questions for readers to make each poem their own. Most images and ideas get deleted, but a few point ways to new poems or picture books. So it’s back to step one, with a new stack of books.

For more Poetry Friday posts, please visit Anastasia Suen’s Poetry Blog.



  1. Lots of soil preparation, isn’t there, before a seed of an idea takes root. And yet, your poems make it seem so organic and effortless…

    IMy sister finally read BORROWED NAMES this past week–were your ears burning? No surprise, she loved it!)

    • Not effortless, but it is fun! And thank you for passing BORROWED NAMES to your sister, and for letting me know of the shared appreciation.

  2. Love this!

  3. Yes! It’s in the living! The circling ’round. The meandering path that leads to poem. Thank you again, Jeannine. I could curl up here….

    • Thanks, Amy! I’m always glad to have you around.

  4. Yes, that is how it goes! It’s NOT a linear process…

  5. Beautiful. You almost make me feel I could do it, too. xo

  6. Yes! So often when I feel I am wasting time, that results in a poem…

    • Poems needs time to meander and just dwell. Good luck with yours!

  7. Lovely!

  8. That seems like a poem in itself!

    • Thank you, Tabatha. Good wishes for your writing.

  9. I like taking a peek into your time with poems, Jeannine. Thank you for this.

    • Linda, I feel not as close as I wish I could be to the great Poetry Friday folks these days, but I love seeing your posts and comments appear when I find time to duck in and out. Your consistent creativity and generosity to others is such a pleasure. Thank you for stopping by!

  10. Thanks for sharing your process (and nicely illustrating OURS)!

    • Thanks! Can’t wait to see what your process yields!

  11. Poets, also, need time to meander and dwell. Thanks for the reminder in this lovely post.

  12. I love the way you weave through your preparation – satisfying and nourishing your creative process all the way. Such an inspiration, Jeannine!

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