How To Get A Good Grade On A Bad Poem

Mostly True Memoirs

There’s a trick to getting a good grade on your writing project

Mostly True Memoirs

How to get a good grade on a bad poem

There’s a trick to getting a good grade on your writing projects.

Several years ago, my high-schooler woke me up in the middle of the night.

He had an assignment due in the morning, and he needed help.

“I have to write a sonnet,” he whined, “Will you write it for me?”

“No,” I said, “I won’t write it for you. But I’ll help.”

The first thing we had to do was define the assignment.

A sonnet is a love poem.


This teacher is going to have to grade 145 idiotic, teenage-angst-filled love poems.


I’d rather stick flaming needles in my eyes than read that drivel.

If I were the teacher, I would have assigned a limerick.

At least I’d get a laugh while I was grading papers.

I told my kid what I do when I can’t write.

I write about something else.

Writing anything at all can help to ease writer’s block.

From that first draft, you can edit and rewrite and revise and come up with something acceptable.

I had him write a sonnet about dog vomit.

He started laughing, and within just a few minutes he had his first draft complete.

We edited and rewrote and revised and came up with a poem about a boy and his dog.

A love story, of sorts.

Without the humiliation of writing an actual love poem.

It wasn’t a great piece, but it met the standards of the assignment.

He got a good grade.

But I preferred the first version.

Who knew that dog vomit, in iambic pentameter, could be so much fun?


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