Three Minute Poetry

Here’s a quick idea to get the creative juices flowing this summer: Three Minute Poetry. Good for adults too!

Three minute poetry is a great way to help people break through the idea that they can’t write, or that they are not creative writers. It works best (and is most often relevant) for late elementary age and older. For younger children, three minutes is just not enough time to write down a thought, and while many younger children struggle with the mechanics of writing, most of them have not yet judged themselves to be uncreative. Three minute poetry is particularly fun in a group.

How it works:

~ Select three random words, the more interesting the better. For instance: Alligator. Pineapple. Thermodynamics.

~ Set a timer for three minutes and on the count of three, start writing.

~ Everyone has three minutes to write a poem that uses all three of the random words. Don’t worry about spelling. Remember, a poem does not have to rhyme, or be in full sentences, or make any logical sense at all. The crazier it is, the better!

~ When the timer goes off, everyone has a chance to share what they have written. It is amazing how different the poems will be, even though they were written in the same room at the same time using the same inspiration.

Because you can’t write something “good” in three minutes, all the pressure is off. And sometimes, a three minute poem can turn out to be something beautiful or funny, or can prompt a second, more leisurely draft. At the least it is a demonstration that creative writing can be fun. Shocking!