Monday, July 24, 2017

Imitate to Create: Exploring Voice and Style


Charles Caleb Colton once said that "Imitation is the finest form of flattery." Yet, imitation is so much more than flattery in education. For human beings imitation is often how we learn. In writing, imitation can help a writer understand an author's voice, cadence, the texture of her words, and the structure of the her sentences or lines. Writing in another writer's style also helps a writer learn about his/her own style, and how it differs.

I love to try and imitate William Carlos Williams clean and precise voice. He never wastes a word, and creates amazingly bright and vivid imagery using literal images.  My own writing, in comparison, leans towards the figurative. I like to use metaphors and similes, and I am much, much more wordy. It is a difficult and fun challenge to try and write like William Carlos Williams. There are many poetry lessons that work with imitating William Carlos Williams. I originally found my inspiration for this lesson from Sheryl Noethe's poetry book, Poetry Everywhere, however there are lots of examples of these type of imitations on the Internet if you do a little searching. In my experience, his best poems for students to imitate are "The Red Wheelbarrow" and "This Is Just To Say". 

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