Workshop Description:

This workshop with Alexandra Contreras-Montesano has six challenges, and will include two opportunities for online discussions with Alex and the rest of the group. You can participate in one or all of the challenges and online discussions.

More Info:

Instructor and Mentor info
Apr 11

Poetry - Metaphors

Photo by gg
The metaphor -- a figure of speech that compares two things without using like or as -- and simile -- a comparative that uses like or as -- are the heart of writing poetry. It is what separates poetry from prose in that poems have less specific detail and more is left to the imagination of the reader. Metaphors allow you to express yourself in ways that are fresh and interesting.

YWP friend and poet Kerrin McCadden says that she starts a poem by thinking of an unusual and seemingly contradictory metaphor. She then creates another one that seems contradictory to the first one. The pair become the foundation for her poem.

Apr 11

Poetry - Haiku, etc.

The haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that developed out of group poetry.  Nearly nine hundred years ago groups of young poets gathered to write together what is called a renga, a type of collaborative poem.  By the 1400s the short sections of the poem broke from the long poem and developed into haiku.

Daistez T. Suzuki, a Japenese author said this: “Haikus get inside an object, experience the object’s life, and feel its feelings.”

Generally, a haiku will have these qualities (although, nothing is hard and fast):
  • It contains seventeen syllables in lines of five, seven, and five syllables.
  • It usually has a theme of nature
  • It sometimes includes a word or two that alludes to the seasons
  • It is written in the present tense about the present moment

I am over you.
Then my eyes meet yours once more,
and I fall in love..

-- Alisha Mead

Aug 03


The first day at school, camp, a new job can be nerve-wracking. Write about a memorable first day experience of your own or make one up, whether funny, mortifying or sad.
[YWP Photo Library, Educational Technology Clearinghouse - University of South Florida]
Jul 05

Responsibility Day

We've been warned that “freedom brings responsibility”, yet in America, we have failed, and often still fail, to take responsibility for how the founding and building of our nation affects others. For every victory for freedom, there has also been destruction. Now is the time to change that, and we, the passionate Young Writers of the United States, are the ones to do it. Now that the 4th of July fireworks have boomed, illuminating the sky in celebration of our independence, it is time to accept its counterpart. Today, July 5th, will be Responsibility Day at YWP.
Jul 04

Dear America

[Illustration credit: sophie.d]
To mark the Fourth of July, write a letter, a poem, a song, a rant, a plea to this land. Begin with Dear America ...
Jun 30

I Am

Start or end a piece of writing with the phrase, "I am the one who ... ", to describe who you are, what you love, what you dream of, etc. 


[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]
Jun 30


Write a Valentine's Day poem to a pet. Let the little critter know how much they mean to you. Post a picture of the pet with your poem.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
Jun 30


Write a love poem without mentioning the word “love.”

[Photo Credit: Sheila on Moonducks, Creative Commons License]
Jun 30


Find a poem you like on the site. Click SPROUT and write a haiku based on the poem you just read. (A haiku has three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, often capturing an image, feeling or moment.)

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp] 
Jun 01


You see a set of mysterious footprints leading from the woods behind your house and down your street. You follow them. What happens?

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
May 28


May 04


Take pictures of things that are the color yellow. Make a slideshow. Write an accompanying poem or commentary on the photos.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
May 04


Write a poem or a story that begins with the line, “This is your last chance.”

[YWP Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp] 
Apr 13

Photo 9-City

Write a poem from the perspective of a tiny speck of light in the big city. (YWP Photo Library, photo by Kevin Huang).
Apr 06


Write a rhyming poem about being stuck in the rain, and a surprising discovery you make.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Kevin Huang] 
Mar 16


Begin a story or poem with the phrase, “One thing I know for sure …

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp]
Mar 09


Finish this phrase, “In that moment, I realized …,”  and start or end a story or poem with it.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
Mar 01

Schools: Do you feel safe?

Do you feel safe in your school? Why? Or why not? Tell a story. Write a poem. Write an essay. Tell people what it's like when there is a Code Red drill.

Feb 09


Write a poem using a forest as a metaphor for either confusion or indecision. 

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Shannon Ripp]