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The Backwards Poem Assignment

using verbal irony or
oxymorons as a poetic inspiration


Student Writer Instructions:

"There is no lake at Camp Green Lake." This opening line from Holes grabs your attention...and it sets up the book's first instance of something call irony.  Irony in stories centers around what you would expect, and what is reality.  We expect there to be a lake, and yet there isn't.

"Backwards poems," like the famous one at right, are filled with extreme irony.   This is irony that doesn't even try to be subtle; this slaps you in the face and makes you chuckle.

Today, you'll be brainstorming ideas that you might use in your own original "backwards poem."

Press the four buttons below and then write down five or ten ironical pairings of words that you like.  For this poem to work, you'll want to keep clicking until you find several that you really think are interesting.

Once you have some ironical ideas, see if you can put one, two, or all of them in your own "backwards poem."

A Very Famous
"Backwards Poem"
There are many known variations to this poem

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back, they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.

One was blind and the other couldn't see
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play.
A dumb man went to shout "hooray!"

A paralyzed donkey passing by
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all.

A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came to arrest the two dead boys.
If you don't believe this story’s true,
Go ask the blind man.  He saw it too.

Interactive Choices for Writing:

If you're struggling to start, click the buttons below for some ideas that might inspire you to launch your piece of writing.


Positive + Negative Irony Maker:


Negative + Positive Irony Maker:





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