CDS English Teacher Places Second in Humor Poetry Contest
Posted 08/10/2015 12:58PM

Susan White, who teaches English in the Upper School, won second place in the 14th annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. 4,436 entries were received from around the world. Susan wrote a parody of Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter" entitled "English Teacher's Daughter." She made a recording of the song with the collaboration of CDS performing arts teacher Beth Heinberg. Nancy Asch played the guitar. 


“This perfectly singable parody of Loretta Lynn's country song 'Coal Miner's Daughter' presents grammatical rules through the unfolding narrative of rural kids in tattered clothes, enjoying the freedom of the outdoors, but never forgetting 'when to say that and when to say which'. The poem keeps the original song's spirit of 'poor but proud', while turning the words around to poke fun at the type of pride to which poets are prone," said Jendi Reiter, final judge of the Wergle Flomp contest.


Susan has published two other poems this summer, for a total of 24 works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.


Here are the words to “English Teacher’s Daughter”

(to the tune of Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter")

Well I was born an English teacher's daughter.
I grew up speaking how you oughter.
We were poor but we talked well—
knew me from I is how you'd tell.
I would say, "This is she" to each caller.

Summers we camped out on a teacher's pay.
Daddy pitched the tent, where we'd lie down—not lay.
And when we wanted something from that man,
We started our sentence with may, not can.
If we spoke well, chances were he'd say okay.

When we dreamed, we all knew the subjunctive hitch,
Which means we knew to say, "If I were rich."
Though our clothes were always a mess,
We could not care less.
'cause we knew when to say that and when to say which.

We knew the meaning of literally;
It doesn't describe what cannot be.
And whenever we fished with a lure
One caught more—the others fewer.
Less is used for what you can't count accurately.

Yeah, I'm proud to be an English teacher's daughter
I know how to speak as you oughter.
Learning all those rules was hard,
But I write a heck of a thank you card.
My friend said "between you and I," and I caught her.

Well, it's true I've never lived high on the hog,
But I can speak just as well as I can clog.
For knowing standard grammar
Means living a life of glamour.
Take it from an English teacher's daughter.

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