Literary Parodies: Exploring a Writer’s Style through Imitation

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Lesson Introduction: 

The popular saying “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” coined by Charles Caleb Colton, is the basis for this lesson, which asks students to analyze the features of a poet’s work then create their own poems based on the original model. Students analyze sample poems and their parodies, focusing on the language and style of the original writer. They then write their own parody of the poem. This lesson uses William Carlos Williams’ poem “This is Just to Say,” but a list of alternative poems and their parodies is also included.


Learning Objectives: 

In this lesson, students will have opportunities to:

  • Read and analyze poems and their parodies. 
  • Explore the techniques of parodies.
  • Imitate a published poem to write their own parodies. 
  • Reflect on the connections between original poems and their parodies.
Materials and Resources: 
To teach this lesson, you will need:


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Poetry In Voice is a charitable organization that encourages Canadian students to fall in love with poetry through reading, writing, and recitation. All of our resources are available online for free. You may also use our resources if you reside outside of Canada.