Lindsay Lewis

English/ ESL consultant: Word worker, writer, teacher, mentor and poet. Author of This Won’t Hurt a Bit! on writing clear content.


My first poem: How to write a metaphor.

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How does one craft a poem? Students are baffled by poetry, for it breaks all the conventions. I often refer to poems as orange concentrate. Take out all of the water, and just keep the oranges, full and bursting with flavour. Take out small words- prepositions and articles, and let the nouns and verbs sing. This is the first poem I wrote when I was seventeen, and it was published in Grain Magazine. Tree                                                                                                                                             ...

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FOLDING: A poem by Lindsay Lewis

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I wrote this poem as a tribute to a woman I met when I worked as a nurse’s aide. She was young- in her fifties- a remarkable pianist, and stricken with dementia. She passed her time organizing our linen carts, and occasionally had lucid moments in which we could engage in brilliant conversation. Her husband was a devoted, loving man who took the ferry every day to visit her. I was deeply moved by this experience. FOLDING There was a woman I once knew confined to the wing of a ward in a hospital doomed at fifty to a life of folding....

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The Poetree. Poems by Lindsay Lewis

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Almost We tossed around the word almost the last time we met our life an egg and spoon race against the clock Don’t fall for me, you said. Don’t project, I replied knowing we’d passed the expiration date. I could conjugate you all night change your endings to make them agree. At 1 a.m, I rise, boil two eggs, smile wryly yearning to spoon you and later, when I close my eyes in bed the side I let you take that my husband never shared you are with me your unfathomable sky fills my mind in a place that almost exists We could...

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Mangled modifiers thanks to Google translate

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For those of you who know I’m studying Italian, you will appreciate the humour. This is from a newspaper article in Milano Today, an Italian newspaper. This will give hope to language lovers and linguists everywhere that we can’t be replaced by computers. According to the translation, an accident, flew two meters and broke a windshield, thanks to a serious thirty year old. What were they trying to say? A thirty year old was seriously injured in a car accident, and flew two meters through the windshield.   Thank you Italian...

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L’Avvocato Porto- an Italian series with Luigi Proietti as Alexandro

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Learning another language is my passion and joy. The words themselves are so fun to learn, and Italian is so old feeling and lovely to speak. I’m watching a series about an Italian lawyer, a lovable, bumbling but bright character trying to solve a cold case of a prostitute who has been murdered. Watching videos is wonderful for learning another language because you hear all the small, natural words such as “al proposito” and “per se.” The best part, however, is the cultural humour. In the lawyer’s house,...

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Reading audio books

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In addition to teaching, I’m now narrating children’s audio books. It’s extremely fun and interesting work, as I’m doing cold reading, meaning I have no idea what the story is about, or what events will happen. Today’s stories included a child being picked up by a giant in a forest, and taken to his house. The giant was cooking other children ( horror!) I tried not to stumble reading that! – but at the end of the story, the giant picks up the child in his hand and he dies of fright. The author then states...

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Italiano- que bella ! Looking at familiar words through new eyes.

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I’m studying Italian and che bella language. I was reading the history of the Medici family, and noticed the word Parliamento.  When I think of the word Parliament, I of course imagine the Parliament buildings, but in fact, the original Parliament was obviously related to the root PARLE  – to speak. In fact, the signores would gather in Florence to discuss matters of political importance. So many of the words are Greek and Latin cognates- and they share much with Spanish and French. Tavola, le table…. Another fascinating...

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In Other Words- Jumpa Lahiri

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I’m currently reading Jhumpha Lahiri’s book In Other Words which is in fact her journey into learning another language- in this case Italian. The book resonates with me because I also feel so thrilled when I feel the word in my bones, feel it bouncing off my tongue, and feel understood by a native speaker. I taught myself a decent amount of Greek, and would thrill at the sounds cascading around my mouth. Just articulating such a beautiful language as Greek, or in this case Italian, is enough. Her book is written in Italian and...

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How to Ace English Provincial Exams

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The provincial exam is very important for grade twelves, and can make or break a university admission. Here are some tips for successfully and easily attaining an A. For the multiple choice, think of Goldilocks. One choice will be too broad, one too narrow and two will be close. Use elimination. Of the remaining two, look back at the text and ask yourself which one best suits the answer. All answers are in the stories or poems. For the essays, always follow this formula which is quick, easy and logical. Begin with a hook, and lead into author...

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Gifted Learners

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These days, I have the pleasure of meeting gifted learners. Some of them have a designated learning challenge. From my experience, they are so bright, they can’t slow down to the mundane level of school. Unfortunately, the educational system can only bend so far as there are so many students. If memory is an issue, break the content into smaller chunks. Go forwards and backwards. Show the student a sample of model writing which is interesting to read. Then, deconstruct the essay into its topic sentences and main points. Finally, read it...

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