imitatio #1

This quarter I am taking a class at my university called “The Sentence,” in which we are learning the craft of writing sentences with clarity and grace, according to our syllabus. As one of the means of practicing this craft, our professor is having us do “imitatios.” An imitatio was an exercise used during the Renaissance, a re-write of work done by famous authors whose style was considered admirable and worthy of imitation.  It involves emptying out the content of a textual passage and filling it with one’s own material, then reflecting on what has been learned in the process. Since the class is explicitly concerned with writing style, I’ve decided to share some of my assignments on here- which is a challenge for me because I have always been self- conscious about my writing style.

“This Is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams was one of the options for our first imitatio, and the one I chose to imitate.

Here’s the original:

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

And my imitation:

I have blocked
your posts
from my newsfeed
on Facebook

of which
you were probably
my reaction

forgive me
they were annoying
so daft
and so dumb

Obviously, this was all in jest. I wanted to match Williams’s word and line count. Mostly, I wanted to have a similar pseudo- apology tone in my imitation; and what better way to do that than with such a trifling topic as Facebook?


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