National Writing Project

Imagery: Thinking with the Mind's Eye

By: Peggy Riley
Publication: The Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 1
Date: January 1989

Summary: Riley identifies a crucial element of reading and writing poetry: seeing in the mind's eye, connecting abstract ideas and sensory images.



My idea was to have the students write about a poem before they read it, to have them experience for themselves some of the creative energy that goes into poetry, to have them experience imagery and–yes–metaphorical language themselves before seeing how the poet uses them, thereby grounding their experience of learning something new into their own pre-existing knowledge and experience. In other words, I wanted my students to establish a connection between themselves and literature, and to establish this connection by writing.

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