‘when you separate it/ Into sections:’ Wallace Stevens Imitations

Inspired by Wallace Stevens’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, students examined a sea shell from different angles and then used similes to describe it in verse.

Lesson Note: Perspective and Reality. As the title suggests, the poem is about different ways of seeing and perceiving the world—with the blackbird being the specific point of focus. In fact, Stevens himself called this poem a group of “sensations”—fleeting experiences that don’t necessarily have an obvious meaning.-litcharts.com

Ms. Hooper, 6th Grade

Quinn M.

1. The shell is like an ice cream cone
withouts its ice cream .

2.The shell is like a cave as dark and narrow as the
Hallway from my nightmares

3.The shell is like the top of a carnival tent where
All the clowns live

4.The shell is like the jaw of a monster coming to eat us
All .

5. The shell is like a rhinos horn charging through the field

6.The shell is like a never ending thought looked about in many different ways.


Cora W.

The shell looks like someone wrapped and spun
up in a beige knitted blanket.

The shell looks like a disformed old person’s ear with earwax, hair,
and a hearing aid meant to blend in.

The shell looks as if an elephant trunk was raised up,
and spurting water.

The shell looks as if an old witch with long nails, was trying to claw her way out
from a stroopwafel.

The shell looks as if a snake was curling and twisting around, squeezing and squeezing,
suffocating, and killing a small mammal.

The shell looks like a vent where air is trying,
trying its best to escape.

Ms. Walsh, 6th Grade

Philip G.

The shell looks like a piece of glass that you just shattered.

The shell looks like a cinnamon waffle.

2. The shell has a mouth; it looks like it has rock pillars hanging from the top of it.

This Waffle-shell looks like itś screaming.

The shell looks like it has a cave that has a lot of rocks.

3. The shell looks like a hedgehog.

The shell looks like a drill.

The shell looks like a spiraling

The shell looks like a straw passed down for many generations.


The shell looks like a shark thatś just about to eat its prey

The shell looks like a fortress to armed soldiers.


The shell tastes like a caramel wafer

The shell sounds like peace.

6. The shell looks like a spear waiting to attack.


A Shell
by Georgia N.

Patterned like my skin
after sitting on a rug too long.

Layered like skyscrapers
On an angle as you drive past.

Spiraled like a pile of whipped cream
Before it melts into hot chocolate.

The shell is rounded
like a wave crashing onto shore.

Pointed like the tip of an iceberg
sticking out of the water.

Pinched like clay
when you separate it
Into sections

Ms. Collins, 6th Grade

Raymond B.

The seashell flowed away into the ocean like a paper airplane through the air
It sunk a little, but a wave pushed it away
It went forward, but the waves pushed back it back on the sand again
Back and forth, back and forth

I grabbed it and it was as smooth as a piece of paper
It was a spiral that confused my eyes
The point was sharp as a knife, pricking my finger

It had a hole that looked like a pothole
When I looked inside I couldn’t believe what I saw
A little crab that looked at me, but continued to sleep

The crab decided to come out and greet me
It greeted me like I was his best friend
The crab looked like a spider

Alice F-P.

1.The shell had a spiral filled with bumps like ruffled feathers.
The shell was golden brown like a perfect baked cookie.

2.The shell was tall and layered, like a grand king’s crown.
Sharp as a pyramid with sandy bricks stacked up and up.

3.The shell had a hole like a dark cave unexplored and untouched.
The shell had an opening, as if it had new ideas and hopes to give.

4.It is like the rounded back of a humpback whale.
The surface was ruff and prickly like the wood of a sharpened pencil.

5.It had spikes in the opening like jagged teeth in a mouth.
It had a tower of spirals like a tall layered cake.

6. It had a tall outer puff like a slumped chef hat
It had lines spreading across the surface like piece of art on display



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.