“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” #sol16

I’ve been teaching a Creative Writing elective at my school since 2011. Now in my tenth semester of teaching kids how to un-learn most of the writing instruction they’ve received prior to entering my class — or at least, to use it differently — I’m always looking for ways to improve the class.

K and I were at the library the other day and this book happened to catch my eye:


All the poems are based on William Carlos Williams’ poem “This is Just to Say” which I think is a HI-LARIOUS! concept and which I totally am going to use as a mentor text next month during our poetry unit (yay National Poetry Month!).

In the interest of practicing before I model it for the kids, here’s my own “false apology” poem, written today mid-toddler nap:


This is Just to Say


I know that

you wanted

to read more


your nap


Because if

we don’t





it’s like

we never read

it at all


Forgive me

I hid the

damn book


the rocking chair

It’s gone?

Oh well

Go to sleep






Note: the title of today’s post comes from a Picasso quotation. I stole it. Oops… #sorrynotsorry


11 thoughts on ““Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” #sol16

  1. Ariel, your poem is HI-LARIOUS! You’ll have to call this unit #Sorrynotsorry.
    I know what you mean about teaching students to unlearn what they’ve learned in their schooling. Unfortunately until I got the courage to shake up my own teaching practice only very recently, I contributed to the problem. We need a revolution. Imagine if we had a culture where all writing teachers actually write?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s easier to teach formulaic writing — I definitely did it for a long time, too. Once I started teaching Creative Writing, though, I came to realize that it’s really a misnomer: ALL writing is creative, but we teach kids that analytical/expository needs to look/sound like only one narrow thing. It would be GREAT to spark the revolution….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. False apologies! This is a really funny idea for a book. Thank you for sharing it with us! I really enjoyed your poem for your toddler…truly, hide that book.


  3. I love taking classics and redoing them to make them my own. great exercise. I used to hide books too. Ssh. don’t tell my now 13 year old. I got sick of Rainbow Fish.


  4. Your awesome parody on “This Is Just To Say,” reminds my of another parody on children’s books called, “Go The F— To Sleep.” I highly recommend it. Better yet, listen to Samuel L Jackson read it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great slice! Your poem to your toddler made me laugh. I think I have this book tucked into a cupboard at school (along with the good intentions I had of reading it.) You’ve inspired me to take a look for it tomorrow.


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