Evaluating an Elegy Based on a Rubric



Apples are greater than ashes, but less than or equal to an empty music stand.


Couplets merit full points.


Reminder: Your peers will use this as a checklist, even if they have never yet written an elegy.


Ask: What is the atmosphere? Do birds sing when they shouldn’t?


Make sure the lines are a little prison for feeling, everyone in uniform, on a schedule, ready for lights out.


Never tell your grief, or use the word sorrow, or mourn.


Make sure every punctuation mark gives the impression of being kissed by a stubbled chin.


Be sure to include some form of the following: husk, pearls, something circular, something pried away.


As the honor code states: Any form of flower is grounds for immediate dismissal, as is looking over a dent in the earth and calling it grave.

Sarah Ann Winn’s poems, prose, and hybrid works have appeared or are upcoming in Five Points, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Massachusetts Review, Passages North, and Quarterly West, among others. Her chapbooks include Field Guide to Alma Avenue and Frew Drive (forthcoming Essay Press, 2016), Haunting the Last House on Holland Island (forthcoming Porkbelly Press, 2016) and Portage (Sundress Publications, 2015). She holds a Master of Fine Arts from George Mason University and a Master of Library Science from Catholic University of America. Visit her at http://bluebirdwords.com or follow her @blueaisling.