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A parody (also known as a spoof, take-off, play on words or joke) is designed to make fun of an existing piece of writing, artwork, music, subject, person or cultural practice.

It is believed that parodies originating in ancient Greece. The Greek root ‘par’ means ‘beside’ and ‘ody’ refers to an ‘ode’ or ‘song’. In ancient Greece is was not uncommon for writers to create songs or poems that imitated the style or flow of existing songs and poems.

Writing parodies can provide a useful structure for helping students develop their writing – particularly when writing poetry.

Provide students with a copy of the target poem. Read the poem together and discuss the theme and the poetic conventions used in the poem – the number of lines in each verse, the meter, whether or not it rhymes and which lines end with rhyming words, tense, perspective and the use of literary devices (alliteration, onomatopoeia,  figurative language, imagery, etc.).

Initially, the task could be as simple as changing names or locations.

Click on the above image to view a parody based on the poem ‘Mulga Bill’s Bicycle’ by Banjo Patterson.