Recalling Mr Woodhead

Write a poem, or piece of prose, in three numbered parts in which you recall a teacher. Begin and end your text with these sentences: ‘A chilly and overcast afternoon. The students are studying.’ One numbered part should address the teacher directly. Another numbered part should have some sort of small, concrete story or anecdote at the heart of it.

The teacher should be a real teacher, but feel free to invent aspects of their life, behaviour, character.

The teacher can be someone you loved or hated or anything in between. It might well be someone whose individual humanity you can only see, or imagine, in retrospect.

An optional, further control for the poets . . .

Write one or two sections of your piece in syllabics – i.e. a seven-syllable line count. Thus your piece would begin:

A chilly and overcast
afternoon. The students are

Don’t go beyond three A4 sides.

Bill Manhire

Extract from The Exercise Book, available in all good book stores or online from VUP.

Thanks for stopping by at modernlettuce, where the salad greens are always fresh. We can see summer weather approaching, and plan to take a brief break. We’ll be back in the second week of January.

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