Orofino, Idaho

I am sharing writing strategies with teachers in a workshop Friday. One I love to use with student and adult writers is copy change or imitation poetry. Copy change is a way to use the structure of other poets and add new words to create different meaning, thus new poems for ourselves. For inexperienced writers it provides that structure with memoir writing. Below is a sample using the poem Knoxville, Tennesee by Nikki Giovanni. It is a memoir poem remembering summers spent in Orofino, Idaho.

Orofino, Idaho
I always like summer
you can eat fresh tomatoes
from Lila’s garden
and corn
and beans
and lots of
and Kool-Aid
and homemade chocolate cake
at a birthday party
and listen to
rock and roll music
in Mary’s room
next door
and go up to the Clearwater River with
your mom and dad
and wear cut-off jeans
and be hot
all the time
not only when you go to bed
and sleep.


  1. What a beautiful photo! I hope your workshop goes well Friday--I like the idea of familiarizing yourself with structure and rhythm by writing "in the style of" other authors.

    The last few lines of this poem remind me sharply of summers in Georgia, when it was either bright and hot or dark and hot, and the humidity pressed down like a damp sweater over everything.

  2. I really love beginning the year with copy change with students. It is always something they can fall back on when they "hit a writing block". I always get energized working with other teachers. I found the photo online of Orofino. It is a beautiful town on the Clearwater River.


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