Friday, December 21, 2007


Nancie Atwell wrote somewhere (I think in In the Middle) that parody is an adolescent's natural genre, so I introduce some parodies to my middle schoolers and occasionally a student writes one. When you write a parody of something, it often makes you appreciate the original even more.

This week I posted my parody of Stopping by Woods and Dr. Bacchus' as well.

I didn't copy the original rhyme scheme in my parody, but Dr. Bacchus did, and as I was reading his poem I thought about how amazing the original is, how much he says in just sixteen lines, and how unforced and natural the form is. I remember discussing the different interpretations in college, so when I read it there are all those layers. The poem still survives as a simple, beautiful, and powerful picture.

Here's the first stanza:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Check out the results of the Poetry Stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect, too, as well as Tricia's poem (and she even includes a link to Frost reading Stopping by Woods).

Brr, all this talk of snow has me shivering, so I'm going to get back to my day in the tropics. Stay warm, everyone.


Janet said...

I can appreciate this, and don't think "mockery" is a synonym for "parody." :-) I liked both yours and Dr. Bacchus's, though I felt sorry for the poor little horse in Dr. Bacchus's.

At the same time, I can't really imagine writing a parody without poking fun at the original. I like to parody "The Red Wheelbarrow," for instance, because I think the original is a little silly (and forever marred by our shared experience with modern poetry in college!)

I guess I think of parody as a branch of satire, designed to highlight flaws and hypocrisy. But maybe that's too narrow, huh?

Cloudscome said...

I get more out of that Frost poem every time I read it. Layers and layers there! The contrasts of the beauty with the melancholy, the horse's sense and the human's philosophical ramblings, the quiet/sounds, the light/dark, the future plans and hints of death...


Ruth said...

Janet, oh, how many things were ruined by our shared experience with modern poetry in college. Sad, really. I hope I don't ruin poetry for my students the way that class did for me. I try not to. Fortunately I went into the class loving poetry and I came out still loving poetry, just not lots of the stuff we read in there.

Cloudscome, yes, it's deceptively simple but there's more than meets the eye.

Ruth said...

Oh, and Janet, on the parody question - I guess it depends what you are parodying about the poem, if it's the ideas behind it or the form or what. I guess I compare it to teasing a beloved family member. :-)