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When I say begin, open your test booklet and begin reading. When you finish reading, write your own list poem.
I have always loved Dean Young’s poem “True/False” from his brilliant collection Elegy on Toy Piano. Since each line can be read as true or false, the result is a hilarious and profound list poem. Here are his first ten lines:
1. Usually my first answer is correct.
2. I want to break things.
3. I hear voices.
4. I am good at following orders.
5. I like jury duty.
6. Washing your hands six times a day isn’t excessive.
7. I am a good singer.
8. I have never had sex with an animal.
9. I am fascinated by fire.
10. Sometimes, when I’m alone, I cry for no reason.
I thought it was a fun challenge to imitate these equivocal propositions, so I asked some students and some colleagues to try their hand at writing T/F lines like Young. Here’s what we came up with:
1. There is life on Mars…under a rock
2. Everything is going to be all right
3. I’ve made a terrible mistake
4. There is a point
5. When a tree falls down and no one is there to hear it- it gets right back up
6. We’ll always have paris
7. The moment has passed
I can get over anything, given time.
I have nothing to wear.
Morrissey is nothing without The Smiths.
After you die, you will go to Heaven or Hell.
You will have to pay for those spoons next time.
A colleague, Charles Logan:
I love teaching.
Annotations are helpful.
College is a good idea.
Attendance is mandatory.
My degrees make me qualified.
I care about your problems.
I can help.
There’s no “I” in ego.
You can’t put a cliche back into a tube of toothpaste.
I have superpowers.
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.
I live in a pet cemetery.
Now you just have to write some of your own.