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Writing Tip: Imagery in Poetry

Using “imagery” in poetry means that the author uses words that make the reader understand the subject of the poem with five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. Imagery in a poem does not have to include all of the five senses, but when a reader can picture what an object, place, or event is like, it feels much more real when the reader can imagine how it sounds, smells, looks, tastes, and smells.

Imagine writing a poem about your favorite food using imagery. Of course the first thing you might think of is how it tastes or smells. To add more imagery to a poem about food, a poet will also describe vividly how it looks, how it sounds- maybe it sizzles on the stove, or maybe is crunches when bitten into. What about how it feels? Is it sticky like peanut butter, or smooth and slimy, like Jello?

Many young authors for Launch Pad have used imagery in their poetry with great success.
Jennifer Hepp wrote “Beach Imagery Poem” when she was ten years old, using four senses to make us feel like we are at the beach when we read the poem:

Touch: “The sand feeling hot between my toes”
Hearing: “I hear the buzz of laughter coming from little kids”
Smell: “I smell the sharp tang/ Of sunscreen”
Sight: “I see all of the brightly colored umbrellas and cabanas”

What else would you describe at the beach, with imagery? Would you feel the water? Taste salt in the air? Read the entire “Beach Imagery Poem” here, and then write your own poem with imagery! Submit it to Launch Pad when you’re done!

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