Introduction to the Compass Poetry Modules
This manual contains poetry-teaching modules that High Chair developed as part of our community-supported program Compass, launched in October 2011. Through Compass, we visit school- and community-based writers’ groups to promote poetry appreciation through discussions, conversations, and writing workshops.
These modules guide participants in writing poems using constraint-based exercises that focus on specific elements of poetry. They contain discussion points and writing prompts that one can use either independently or with the help of a facilitator/teacher.
We developed these modules in the spirit of play, which we hope carries over to their use. The constraints are meant to focus but should not stifle experimentation and openness. We have found varied and exciting the body of poems generated by these modules when we piloted and refined them, and you will find a few samples at the end of the modules. This packet also contains essays and talks that were read during some of the Compass sessions.
You may use and circulate these modules for free. All we ask is that you acknowledge the source every time so that we can, in turn, acknowledge our hosts and partners. Their generosity allowed us to run the program and reach out to as many people as possible despite our financial limitations.
We also hope you’ll send us your output and feedback on how to improve the modules. Feel free to also create your own modules following the format and to share them with us, and we’ll be happy to credit your work, use them, and upload them.