A Lesson on Imagery, Mood, Perspective

Kick up your heels!

Photo courtesy of dcis steve (flickr.com).

Imagery, Mood, Perspective: “Distortions” and “Creed to Deal” by Allison Malecha

NOTE: Because of mature subject matter, this assignment might be more appropriate for teens 16 and older.

Students will…

  • read published poetry written by students close to their own ages.
  • compare and contrast two poems by the same author, focusing on imagery, mood, and perspective.
  • apply the techniques they have learned in class to write poems of their own.
  • have the option to submit their poems to YARN!

What you’ll need:

  • Poems by Allison Malecha, “Distortions” and “Creed to Deal”
  • A computer with Internet that can be viewed on an overhead screen.


  • In addition to reviewing the poetry, check out “About YARN,” “Meet the Editors,” and “Submission Guidelines” at YARN.
  • Before the lesson begins, open YARN on the classroom computer screen.

In Class:

Part 1:

  1. Start with a brief introduction of YARN to the students, showing and summarizing “About YARN” and other relevant pages.
  2. Go to the Poetry page, then to Allison Malecha’s poetry. If her poems do not show up on the main poetry page, go to the February 2010 Archive.
  3. Read “Distortions.” Depending on the character of your class, you might want to ask students to read the poem out loud, or silently, or both.
  4. Discuss the poem:
  • Start by asking students what the poem is about, always asking them to support their answers with specific words and phrases from the poem. Ask them WHY they think what they do. If students disagree, encourage them to debate their interpretations, using lines from the poem.
  • Use their answers to probe how Malecha uses imagery to create effect. What mood, for instance, does “the water/ wrapped around like silk robes” in stanza 1 produce? How does that differ from “fragile screams bubbling through the water” in stanza 3? Why is there a shift in mood or tone? What other images and moods do they note in the poem?
  • How do these images and moods relate to the perspective from which the poem is written? Does the writer seem removed or distant from the events? Or does her voice seem recent and raw? How do the images help create this perspective?

Part 2:

  1. Read “Creed to Deal.”
  2. Discuss the poem using the same kinds of questions you did for “Distortions,” but also ask them to compare and contract “Creed” to “Distortions.” What do they have in common in terms of imagery, mood, and perspective? How do they differ?


  • Ask students to write a poem that uses imagery to create a strong sense of mood and perspective. In more advanced writing classes, you might simply make the poem a take-home assignment. OR, you might break the process down like this, in class:
  • Brainstorm strong images for 15 minutes of silent writing in their journal or notebook.
  • Share images from their brainstorming and discuss what makes certain images particularly strong. What are their moods and perspectives? (about 20 minutes)
  • Encourage students to continue brainstorming more at home, and to select the best images from their list to include in a first draft of a poem.
  • When the poems are due, ask students to volunteer to read them to the class, and ask the class to listen for the images, moods, and perspectives. Discuss what’s strong about the poems and what improvements could make them stronger. (about 45 minutes)
  • Ask students to revise their poems and bring them back the next day.
  • Collect the poems for evaluation.
  • Encourage students to write more poems and submit them to YARN! (But read the “Submission Guidelines” first. Thanks.)

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One Comments Post a Comment
  1. Storm says:

    Smart thninikg – a clever way of looking at it.

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