A Poetry-Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Come Hither,
Stay Away

Using classic poetry to foster idea development and word choice in two parts

Student Writer Instructions:

In Dead Poet’s Society, Robin Williams stated that the true need for language was not to communicate; it was to “woo women.” No one understood that better than did Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe’s poem The Passionate Shepherd to His Love is a classic example of the “Come Hither” or seduction poem, where the shepherd uses outlandish promises to seduce a young woman to be his love. In response to The Passionate Shepherd, Sir Walter Raleigh, a contemporary of Marlowe’s, crafted a shut-down poem to highlight the illogical promises that so many young men make to woo young women.

Read through The Passionate Shepherd. Write down all of the ways Marlowe’s shepherd tries to seduce the women. Why would those promises be attractive to the young woman? After you have read The Passionate Shepherd, read Raleigh’s The Nymph’s Reply. Explore how Raleigh uses the shepherd’s promises to deny his request.

In pairs, brainstorm possible seduction and denial. Use the button below to explore some possibilities, but you are absolutely encouraged to develop as many creative ideas as possible.

After you and your partner have decided on a scenario, utilize the graphic organizer to brainstorm plausible and convincing reasons for your “seduction.” Think of all of the wonderful excuses and reasoning techniques of which you already have mastery and employ them in your “seduction.”

Pattern your “seduction” after Marlowe’s poem and rhyme scheme. Choose your words wisely, as they must not only prove to convince the object of your seduction, but fit the form of the poem.

After you are finished with your seduction poem, you and your partner write the denial, modeled after Raleigh’s The Nymph’s Reply. Use the graphic organizer to create logical “shut-downs” for the argument of the seducer.


Interactive Choices for Writing:

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Scenarios for "seduction":

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