I have 3 private writing students now and they are working on poetry. This doesn't come naturally for any of them, but what they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm! They are having a difficult time moving past prose to poetry. Poetry isn't telling a story with fancy words.
In fact, words themselves are a problem. Their word reservoirs are fairly shallow. The solution isn't to require them to memorize vocabulary words, but to present them with random lists of words and phrases from which they are to create a poem. I've discovered that this is an excellent way to stimulate poetic imagination while building vocabulary. Now and then a poem of fine quality is produced, or one nearly ready for publication.
You may want to try this at home. If so, here is a sample list.
cornered and caged
pink prom flowers
hung out to dry
I'm interested in reading what you come up with. Email me your best work here: