Category Archives: Writing

An ESL Lesson: Writing a Story Using Picture Prompts and Correction Marks

… To the teacher: I took the idea for this lesson from an ESL workbook that I used many years ago. Nothing remains of the book, but for this picture, which I now use as a prompt to get students to write a story together. […]

American Music: Writing Lesson One: Pick A Bale Of Cotton. What is Rhythm? Template for a Five Paragraph Essay

… Handout One: The Work Song (making a list) … … … Handout Two: Pick A Bale Of Cotton (examining lyrics) … … … Handout Three: What is Rhythm? … … … Handout Four: Writing a song, and then an essay … … Lesson One: […]

Poetry Lesson: Fog by Carl Sandburg

… What follows is an ESL lesson I use with Fog by Carl Sandburg. I present it from the point of view of a teacher talking. The objective is to get the student writing, and that process is divided into three parts. Students first examine […]

The Storm: Creation of a Poem

… In Wuhan, China, summer of 2008, one stormy evening after my poetry workshop, Richard, a young scientist majoring in Physics, offered to walk me back to the hotel sharing his umbrella in the pouring rain as we made it up the steps built into […]

Bernadette Mayer’s Tomorrow: writing in the future

… I admire a poem by Bernadette Mayer called Tomorrow. It’s from a book of hers called Scarlet Tanager. The poem is a good prompt to get my ESL students writing about the future and the conditional. In the poem Bernadette moves at an impossible […]

Forget: Beautiful thoughts simply expressed

… Beautiful thoughts aren’t always pretty and neither are beautiful words. At the poetry workshop this summer at Wuhan I’d show two short poems by Alice Notley that were simple to understand. Here is one of them. After Tsang Chih I was brought up in […]

Exquisite Corpses: Wuhan Poetry 2010

… The six photos above were picked at random. I first picked 13 because 13 is one of my favorite numbers, then I flipped a coin, tails (odds) and heads (even) to eliminate either 6 or 7 of them. It came up heads so I […]