Friday, January 23, 2009
Just a few years ago, I was a riddle poem virgin. I had heard of riddles. I wrote poems. But I had never heard of riddle poems. Now, thanks to my UCLA children's poetry teacher, Madeleine Comora, I LOVE RIDDLE POEMS.
I remember getting to class early. I had completed all of my homework that week except the riddle poem. For some reason I had a writer's block that was holding me back from poetically riddling. I had three little kids at the time and I was officially sleep-deprived. As I lay my head down on the blank, college-ruled paper my eyes fixed on something in the distance. I immediately jerked my head up, grabbed my pencil and the following spilled on to the page:
WHAT AM I?
I have two eyes
and one round nose
for putting plugs
to make things go.
Don't stick your finger in my eye
for if you do -zip zap- you fry.
© Jill Corcoran 2009
Since that first riddle poem I have found I have a knack for poetically riddling. I have written a number of collections ranging from Rollicking Rowdy Riddles to Halloween Riddles to Sports Riddles to School Riddles and more.
I have found that kids LOVE riddles. When I teach mask poems in the classroom, riddles are the perfect form of poetry for distracted students and reluctant readers. Reading my riddle poems to the class is a joy because every kid is vying for me to call on them so they can proudly shout the answer. When teaching riddle poems, follow my mask poem lesson but make sure to tell students to include concrete clues in their poems so readers can figure out the riddle. To me, a perfect riddle is challenging but solvable.
For fellow riddle poem lovers, be on the lookout for J. Patrick Lewis and Lynn Munsinger's SPOT THE PLOT! A RIDDLE BOOK OF BOOK RIDDLES, Chronicle Books, 2009.