How to Write an"I Can't Write a Poem" Poem

by Bruce Lansky

This is one poem every one of your students can write. Why? Because it's so easy and so much fun.

All they have to do is to make a list of their favorite excuses/complaints they make every time you ask them to write a poem. Add just the right title and ending and voila! They've written a terrific list poem.

Here's how it might turn out:

I Can't Write a Poem

Forget it.
You must be kidding.
I'm still half asleep.
My eyes keep closing.
My brain isn't working.
I don't have a pencil.
I don't have any paper.
My desk is wobbly.
I don't know what to write about.
And besides, I don't even know how to write a poem.
I've got a headache. I need to see the nurse.
Time's up? Uh oh!
All I have is this dumb list of excuses.
You like it? Really? No kidding.
Thanks a lot. Would you like to see another one?

-Bruce Lansky

See what I mean?

I bet your students will love writing this one. To get them started, give them the title and the lines from "Times up?" to "Thanks a lot." Then ask them to come up with some excuses-- the more ridiculous, the better. If you're lucky, they'll come up with the last line on their own: "Would you like to see another one?"

--Bruce Lansky

If you are interested in inviting Bruce Lansky to your school, click here!