The Makers

by Junious Ward

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Makers

Step 1

Start by watching the embedded video, a brief piece on the history of Elvis Presley and his relationship with Blues music/musicians.

Step 2

Say, “having watched the video, what are your thoughts on the matter? Are there any other artists who are “guilty” of the same sort of behavior? If so, who? And why?” Briefly discuss.

Step 3

Read “The Makers” by Junious Ward. When you’re done, briefly discuss the poem. How does it reflect the content we just watched in the short video? What is the poet’s attitude toward Elvis and his history with Blues music?

Step 4

Tell your students, “Take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts on any musician who may be the target of similar accusations. Then jot down some reasons why you think those accusations exist. What did this particular artist do to garner such criticism? Is this person outright “guilty”? Or is the issue more complex? Write down as much as you can.” Then give them a few minutes to brainstorm.

Step 5

Ask your students to compose a poem similar in sentiment to “The Makers” in which they offer their thoughts about a particular artist (musician, actor, poet, etc.) who has been criticized for their appropriation of another’s work.

Step 6

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one.

Step 2

Watch the following short piece on the history of Elvis Presley and his relationship with Blues music.

Step 3

When you’re done, read “The Makers” by Junious Ward. Briefly discuss how the poem reiterates or supports the points made in the video.

Step 4

Ask your students to open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to create a dialogue between the three speakers of the poem, one that reiterates/supports the complex perspective of the poet in “The Makers.” Then give your students time to work.

  • If you would like to share a sample dialogue to give your students a bit of inspiration, you may find one HERE.

Step 5

When your students are done, have them share their dialogues between the three characters with the rest of the class. Then have them briefly discuss why they composed the piece in that way.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Class
  • Community / Culture
  • Death / Grief
  • History
  • Race / Ethnicity / Racism

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Structure (Line Breaks)
  • Structure (Syntax)
  • Tone