There is a Lake Here

by Clint Smith

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: And No

Step 1

Ask your students to have a discussion about “things” whose reality differs considerably from commonly accepted perceptions.

Step 2

Tell students to choose one of the “things” discussed earlier. Then have your students create a two columned chart. On one side, have them develop a list of “commonly accepted” misperceptions about their chosen subject. Then have them come up with the “realities” of that subject in the other column.

Step 3

Read Clint Smith’s “There is a Lake Here” and discuss how his poem addresses the misperceptions and realities of the city he loves. Then discuss the repetition of the phrase “And no” and its function in the piece.

Step 4

Use “There is a Lake Here” as a mentor text and have your students come up with their own “rebuttal” type poem, a poem in which they defend a subject that is often negatively misperceived. When the students are done, have them share their responses.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Diction

Step 1

If your students are not familiar with the concept of “diction,” go through the introductory lesson.

Step 2

Read “There is a Lake Here” by Clint Smith. As they’re reading, have your students pay particular attention to specific words he uses that hold certain connotations. Then discuss how those specific words contribute to the message he is trying to establish.

Step 3

Have your students work with a partner to analyze Smith’s word choice in the poem. Students may work in the following document. Directions are provided at the top of the page.

Step 4

When the students are done, have them discuss their answer. Then show them the following exemplar paragraph.

Step 5

Students may read the exemplar essay provided at the bottom of the document if they wish to see a more robust analysis of the poem.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Diction


  • Appreciation
  • Children / Youth
  • Community / Culture
  • History
  • Home / Homelessness
  • Joy
  • Violence

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Selection of Detail
  • Structure
  • Tone