Teaching with Emdash

This site was built as both a reading experience and a teaching tool. I’ve used the site to teach editorial ethics, print ephemeral poetics, close reading practices, and American literary history. Below are a few resources I created for my own classroom.


Each item can be a standalone exercise, or the full sequence can be used for an entire class period. Each item can also be turned into an essay prompt. Below are representative handouts for completing the exercises associated with poems on the site.

  1. Provide a Dickinson poem in print.
    • ASSIGN: Ask students to paraphrase each stanza using one (but only one) word from the original.
  2. Provide a second print version of the Dickinson poem.
    • ASSIGN: Ask students to circle differences between the two versions.
  3. Provide a scan of the poem manuscript.
    • ASSIGN: Ask students to identify differences between the manuscript and one of the printed versions.
    • DISCUSS: Ask students how they would determine the “right” way to publish the poem given what the manuscript looks like.
  4. Share links to the digital poem.
    • ASSIGN: Ask students to create their own poems by clicking on the words next to plus signs (+). 
    • DISCUSS: Ask students what choices they made and how their choices change the interpretation of the poem.

Example Handouts

  1. We talked with each other
  2. I have no life but this