A Poetry-Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix

Navigating WritingFix:

WritingFix Homepage

Literature Lessons Homepage

Poetry Lessons Homepage


Navigating this lesson:

Lesson & 6-Trait Overview

Student Instructions

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources

Student Writing Samples from this Lesson


On-line Publishing:

Publish your students at our Ning!
(You must be a member of our "Writing Lesson of the Month" ning to post.)


Teacher's Guide:

Come Hither,
Stay Away

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

This lesson was created by Northern Nevada teacher Matt Fockler.

This on-line writing prompt is based on the poetry of Christopher Marlowe. Before writing to this assignment, students should hear and discuss the poetry of this great poet.

To our loyal WritingFix users: Please use this link if purchasing Christopher Marlowe's poetry from Amazon.com, and help keep WritingFix free and on-line. We thank you!

A note for teachers: These lessons are posted so that you may borrow ideas from them, but our intention in providing this resource is not to give teachers a word-for-word script to follow. Please, use this lesson's big ideas but adapt everything else. And adapt it recklessly; that's how you become an authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources:

Pre-step…before sharing the published model:   Before discussing the two poems, it is helpful to discuss some information on Marlowe and Raleigh. Marlowe was incredibly popular in early Elizabethan England. Born the son of a shoemaker, Marlowe attended college on scholarship and gained much public renown with his plays Tamburlaine and Doctor Faustus. He had a bawdy reputation as a drinker and a gambler and many thought that he was even a spy. Tales (perhaps exaggerated) of his death in a bar fight granted Marlowe an infamous immortality. Later scholars have even speculated that Marlowe penned some of William Shakespeare’s works. Teachers could show clips from Shakespeare in Love to support the popularity of Marlowe.

Conversely, little is known of Sir Walter Raleigh’s early life. What is known is that he rose rapidly in Queen Elizabeth’s court and was knighted in 1585. Scholars speculate that Raleigh despised Marlowe’s popularity among the commoners of London and he sought to demean Marlowe and lower his status.

Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd to His Love was written as a seduction, and was probably widely read. Raleigh’s The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd is a direct reply to Marlowe’s shepherd.

Step one…sharing the published model:    Share copies of the two poems. Before reading the two poems, have a discussion on rhyme scheme and stanza. A further extension could be a discussion on meter.

Discuss the idea of seduction poems. I find it fun to show the clip In Dead Poet’s Society, where 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.

Step two (introducing models of writing):  In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  You might prompt your students to talk about each model's word choice as well as word choice is so important to the seduction and shut-down portion of these poems.

  • We're looking for student samples from high school writers for this lesson! 

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Visit this lesson's student samples page for details.


Step three (thinking and pre-writing): Pair students up. Pass out the graphic organizers. Though word choice is the support trait for this assignment, it is important to have students focus on the word choice that Marlowe and Raleigh use in their poems. Have them write down particularly good words or phrases from the poems, ones that show the seduction and the refusal. Talk with the class about how Raleigh used Marlow’s “logic” to ultimately reject him.

Then, as a class or separately (I find in more fun to do this as a class) brainstorm possibilities for seduction / rejection.

If you need help, or examples, please make use of the interactive button game on the student instructions page. Ultimately, have each pair come up with a seduction / rejection that they wish to work with. Then, direct the groups to generate and develop ideas that would fit with the seduction. Ask them, “What does this particular seductor want? What would he/she/it say to get what he/she/it wants?"

Once students have generated that list, guide them back to Raleigh’s poem. Use Raleigh’s poem as a model for utilizing the initial argument in the rejection. Finally, have the students write poems of seduction and rejection. You can allow the students to work on this together, or separately, with each taking one side. I find the best poems come when you allow the students to make that choice.


Step four (revising with specific trait language):   To promote response and revision to rough draft writing, attach WritingFix's Revision and Response Post-it® Note-sized templates to your students' drafts.  Make sure the students rank their use of the trait-specific skills on the Post-it® Note-sized templates, which means they'll only have one "1" and one "5."   Have them commit to ideas for revision based on their Post-It rankings.  For more ideas on WritingFix's Revision & Response Post-it® Note-sized templates, click here.

Share Original Revision Techniques or
Adaptations from Your Toolbox.

Inspired by Barry Lane's Reviser's Toolbox, the WritingFix website encourages its teacher users to adapt our lessons, especially the tools of revision we have posted here. If you create an original revision tool (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original revision ideas from teacher users of WritingFix can be submitted through copy/paste or as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.


Step five (editing for conventions):  After students apply their revision ideas to their drafts and re-write neatly, require them to find an editor.   If you've established a "Community of Editors" among your students, have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers.  With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors for just one item from the Editing Post-it.  The "Community of Editors" idea is just one of dozens and dozens of inspiring ideas that is talked about in detail in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Workbook for Teachers.

Step six (publishing for the portfolio):  The goal of most lessons posted at WritingFix is that students end up with a piece of writing they like, and that their writing is taken through all steps of the writing process. After revising, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  The writing started with this lesson might become even more polished for final placement in the portfolio, or the big ideas being written about here might transform into a completely different piece of writing. Most likely, your students will enjoy creating an illustration for their writing as they ready to place final drafts in their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line? You might earn a free classroom resource from the NNWP! We invite teachers to teach this lesson completely, then share up to three of their students' best revised and edited samples at our ning's Publish Student Writers group.

To submit student samples for this page's lesson, click here. You won't be able to post unless you are a verified member of this site's free-to-use Writing Lesson of the Month ning.

Learn more about Christopher Marlowe by clicking here.
Learn more about Sir Walter Raleigh by clicking here.

WritingFix Homepage Lesson & 6-Trait Overview   Student Instructions
Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources  Student Writing Samples

© WritingFix. All rights reserved.