Luke Taylor

Grammar Grater®

with Luke Taylor

Episode 98: Poetry in Motion

Steve Kowit is a professor of language and literature at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California. He's also an accomplished poet. When a friend asked him to help her remember the parts of speech, Kowit decided to write a poem about grammar. Here's the result:
The Grammar Lesson
Steve Kowit

A noun's a thing. A verb's the thing it does.
An adjective is what describes the noun.
In "The can of beets is filled with purple fuzz"

of and with are prepositions. The's
an article, a can's a noun,
a noun's a thing. A verb's the thing it does.

A can can roll — or not. What isn't was
or might be, might meaning not yet known.
"Our can of beets is filled with purple fuzz"

is present tense. While words like our and us
are pronouns — i.e. it is moldy, they are icky brown.
A noun's a thing; a verb's the thing it does.

Is is a helping verb. It helps because
filled isn't a full verb. Can's what our owns
in "Our can of beets is filled with purple fuzz."

See? There's almost nothing to it. Just
memorize these rules...or write them down!
A noun's a thing, a verb's the thing it does.
The can of beets is filled with purple fuzz.


"The Grammar Lesson" by Steve Kowit, from The First Noble Truth, 2007, University of Tampa Press, Tampa, Fla. Reprinted here with kind permission from the author.

Kowit joined us on the podcast to read his poem and to talk about poetry and the teaching of grammar. He also spoke about the importance of grammar know-how when it comes to creative writing.

Listen to the complete interview through the audio stream , or download and listen to the mp3.

Music: "Poetry in Motion" by Johnny Tillotson; "Fuzzy Wuzzy" by Luna

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