The Forms of Things Unknown

Teaching Poetry Writing to Teens and Adults

By (author) Shelley Savren

Publication date:

18 July 2016

Length of book:

196 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781475827927

A college student writes: “These words I write/ open their mouths wide/ screaming the most intimate secrets.”

An inmate in a maximum-security men’s prison writes: “Within my writing, I am able to break down my prison walls and escape, leave the gangster façade behind.”

The Forms of Things Unknown: Teaching Poetry Writing to Teens and Adults draws from Shelley Savren’s forty years of teaching poetry writing to a diverse array of students, from teens with mental health issues to seniors to adults with developmental disabilities, and in a wide variety of settings, which include middle schools, high schools, colleges, juvenile halls, women’s centers, and a men’s prison.

Each chapter includes an original poem from Savren, heartfelt stories, and lesson plans that introduce poetic concepts through model poems by professionals, open-ended writing assignments, methods for sharing and critiquing, and student poems. Designed for use in a classroom or community setting, this book features forty-one lesson plans and nineteen more poetry-writing workshop ideas and provides guidance and inspiration for teaching poetry writing to teens and adults.
As a teacher of creative writing at the college and university level for over thirty years, I am always looking for new texts to engage my new generations of students. To find a text appropriate for the wide variety of talents one engages on the undergraduate level is not an easy task. Shelley Savren’s The Forms of Things Unknown: Teaching Poetry Writing to Teens and Adults has become the answer to this search. Relying upon her over twenty-five years of reading, studying, writing, publishing and teaching a wide variety of poetry, Ms. Savren has constructed the most practical, user friendly and insightful creative writing text that I’ve seen in a long time. I look forward to my students holding this book in their hands, and I look forward to sharing it with you, reader.