The Empathy of a Long Sentence

ERF imagepoem

This is a writing activity rather than a creative prompt. There is the potential for being creative and through copying the model poem Elk River Falls by Billy Collins.

I haven’t altered this much at all from its original format [and its beginnings can be read here]. It is quite a complex task for students/writers, but that was the point in some respects.

Above all there is a genuine focus on the listening to and hearing the rhythms of one’s writing, the idea is that this empathetic approach to writing is better than the formulaic/grammatical, not that functional elements do not matter as is evidenced in the activities to do with punctuation and connectives. But the idea is to foreground the empathy – that ‘feel’ for writing writers do develop.


1 ERF TeacherGuidance Notes

2 ERF StudentWriter Notes

3 ERF Poem

4 ERF Prose Version

5 ERF Sequencing Exercise

6 ERF Prose Punctuation Focus

7 ERF Prose Connectives Focus

The two following Dickens’ resources are an extract from Dombey and Son as an example of mimetic [and therefore empathetic] writing about the movement of a train, relentlessly forwards. These can be used as a further example of the long sentence is wonderful operation [the second version removing the dark references to ‘death’].

8 Dickens passage

9 Dickens passage2

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