Literary Parodies: Exploring a Writer’s Style through Imitation

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:
Lesson provided by, a website developed by the International Reading Association and the N.C.T.E.

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