Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Acrostic

By Julie Rowan-Zoch

Welcome to the A to Z Poetry Challenge! Starting today and ending on April 30, I will be blogging about poetry from A to Z.  There will be a poetry challenge and resources at the end of each post. By the end of April you will be a poetry master!To kick off poetry month let's discuss acrostic poems. 

Acrostic poems use a word or a phrase for the subject.  Each letter in the word or phrase starts a new line in the poem. For example, take the word ‘animal’ and write it down vertically, then brainstorm a list of words that describe an animal or whatever words pop into your mind. Then starting with ‘A’ write something about that animal. Here is what I came up with: 

A birdy, a worm
Nature took its course.
It ate it up,
Munched it down—
A slurp, a crunch—
Lunch is done! 
--By Rena J. Traxel 

An acrostic poem can be simple like the one I wrote above or much more complicated.  It doesn't have to rhyme, but some choose to do so like in the acrostic poem from Lewis Carroll who used Alice's  real name, Alice Pleasance Liddell: 

A boat, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July -

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear -

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream -
Lingering in the golden gleam -

Life, what is it but a dream?

--Using the picture above as a prompt write a poem about an animal. Or
--Try writing an acrostic poem.  
Feel free to share your poem in the comments below, on your blog (leave a link in the comments), or on the poetry Facebook page.

--Get your kids involved by clicking here to find some acrostic worksheets. 
--Read a rhyming picture book review and learn more about poetry over at Louise Nottingham's blog by clicking here

If you liked this post please let others know. Tomorrow you will hear from author Bill Kirk, please come back for that. 

Julie Rowan-Zoch graphic designer morphed by motherhood into super-volunteer, spun into a pre-pubbie cocoon, soon to emerge writer and illustrator of children’s books! To learn more about Julie check out her fabulous blog by clicking here or find her on Facebook by clicking here. Stay tuned to see more illustrations from Julie. 


  1. Acrostic poems are so fun for kids. It really helps them find a poetry groove.

    1. I wanted to start the poetry challenge off with something easy.

  2. Thanks for sharing the Alice acrostic, Rena. That's the longest acrostic ever.

    I'll think of one and put it on Facebook. Julies bird is super!

    1. I was impressed with the poem and the illustration.

  3. Yes the Alice Acrostic was helpful as well as yours. Thanks Rena!

    1. p.s. Julie, I love your bird illustration!!

    2. Alligator
      By Jennifer Young

      Across the swamp
      Low in the grass
      Lies a long scaly
      Intimidating alligator.
      "Gurgle," goes his tummy
      And a head peaks out.
      Turtle eyes peer big.
      Oddly they disappear
      Right before the bite.

    3. Cute! Thanks for being brave and sharing.

    4. You're right, I almost didn't share. I thought why not? Also, since I'm not a daily blogger, I was going to post all my poems at the end of each week. :)

      p.s. I had a lot of fun with the first challenge. I'm glad I've signed up Rena!

  4. I loved reading your poem Rena and Lewis. These are two great examples for reference. Excited about this challenge!

    1. Thanks Pam! I love that I get to read everyone's poems.

  5. Great poem, Rena! I love acrostics, especially for students because it gives them parameters! I wrote my first poem but I had to cheat a little because I'm doing a mash-up of three challenges. Here's a link to the post:

    1. On my way to check it out. I think this the first time I've ever written an acrostic poem (perhaps I did in school, but I don't remember).

  6. T.hanks

    1. Yay! Thanks for the poem and the lovely illustrations.

  7. Acrostics are definitely fun. Let's see...

    A to Z challenge
    Likes to
    Pair bloggers with new and interesting people
    Always a pleasure to meet new folks with
    Blogs that
    Entertain and
    Teach new things!

  8. I am going to love following your blog this month. I am making my first attempts at poetry for the A to Z challenge. All my poems are based on my book. I am using all kinds of different poem types. I believe I have an acrostic poem for the day we do 'F'. I look forward to seeing what all you come up with.


    Pecked and pulled while
    Reaching desperately for
    Earth's embrace, only to be
    Yanked out and devoured.

    1. Cool. I will have to check your blog out. Thanks for sharing a poem.

  9. OUCH

    One’s life is another’s meal
    Unfortunatley, that’s the deal.
    Chomp! Gulp! Swallow! Burp!
    Hello stomach…goodbye earth.

    Here is the link to my blog post. Since it's the first day, I did an acrostic and an animal. I'm over zealous.

  10. I'm on the way to check your post out! I love your poem by the way.

  11. I'm an A to Z Challenger, and new at this. I love the great examples I am seeing. You are my number five and I'm checking in to say hi.


    Thanks for your lesson
    Heaven only knows
    After reading this poem
    No one will care
    Kathy is not a poet
    So see you soon as A moves to Z

    1. Thanks for stopping by and joining in on the fun!

  12. Hi Rena!

    Just popping by to say love your new website (with blog)! I've re-joined and will keep reading:) Good luck with the poetry challenge!

  13. WOW! Nicely done. And I love the site's new look! :)

    And, I gave you an award! Stop by my 4/1/12 post to pick it up.

  14. I haven't written an acrostic since I was in pigtails - what fun! And kind of a relief to do something other than my usual rhyme. So here's mine, based on the illustration:


    Bummer to get sucked
    Up like a
    My life slurped out,
    Extracted as a
    Robin's snack.

    I'll be doing one post a week with all the A-Z poems I've done to that point. I love seeing what everyone's coming up with! BTW, is it okay to use Julie's illustration on my post too? Thanks, Rena!

    1. I'm looking forward to it. Yes, you can share Julie's illustration as along as you give her credit (I know you know that but I still have to say it anyways). It would be a bummer to be sucked up like a milkshake!

  15. Thanks for a fun post on acrostics. Here is mine to go with Julie's great picture---

    Wonder of Wonders!
    Or should I say WOW!
    Robins love
    Me and this is how
    Spring comes NOW!

  16. Rena,
    I'm busy working on list poems. You're welcome to drop by

    1. Thanks for leaving a link. I'll be by shortly.

  17. I'm sorry this is so late. I'm late for everything. Been that way since childhood. Nothing I'm proud of, just a fact. Hey, wait! This sounds like a good start to something, hmmm. Anyway, my acrostic:


    Numbered Days
    Opportunity, occasion
    Tollee pays
    Inevitable persuasion.

    Circle completed.
    Energy transferred.
    Destiny greeted (worm vs. bird).

    1. Nice. This challenge is about having fun so don't stress about it being late.

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Thanks for your comments. Remember to keep them kid friendly.