Poem on “The One Thing Wrong with Student Writing” – by Michael Tilyer


Community College Faculty were asked, “Based on the papers you receive, what do you think is the number one thing ‘wrong’ with student writing? Or, put another way: if you had a magic wand, what’s the one thing you’d change about the papers you receive?”

Michael Tilyer decided to answer this question in the form of a poem (decide for yourself which version of the question he chose to answer). To read the poem, click here…

If there were one thing,

And one thing only,

How would you say it?

How would it be said?

Hear the émigré plea?


Hear the youth

Who no longer

Hopes to succeed plea?


Hear the dead–

The stuporous. Plea?

Hear the mother or too

Young and soon to be plea.

What answer

Would you listen for?

Would it come in

Four parts or two?

A cantata?

Would it come



Would it complain?


No, it would be mute.

It would fall on deaf ears.

Because there is not

One to listen.


There is too

Little time to listen.

Time passes,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s