“My Mother Pieced Quilts,” by Teresa Palomo Acosta
- A first-person testimonial of a Chicano woman who connects her mother’s practical art of quilt making with her personal family and cultural histories
- It’s a “plain literal translation” so it has no rhyme.
- Historically and culturally, quilts represent a visual narrative that link the universal experiences of women
- the narrator discovers the significance of the quilts in her understanding of herself
- quilt became a portrait of family and self, of life and death, of labor and love
- daughter inherits the stories in the quilts her mother pieced—preserves history and culture; serves as a historical document of the family
- Acosta personifies the quilts as living things
- mother’s piecing involves linking the past, present and future
“Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes
- free verse; enjambment;
- Set in 1920’s Harlem Renaissance (an African-American art and cultural movement in the early 20th century.)
- the black speaker of the poem reflects on his presence in an all-white English class, and how this experience is representative of a larger American experience.
- For the first half of the poem, the speaker emphasizes the ways in which his ethnicity separates him, physically and figuratively, from his white classmates and professor.
- speaker suggests that even though he is of a different race than his classmates and professor, he is not drastically unlike them
- Hughes uses a different rhythm in the third stanza when the speaker explains the things that he likes (similar to jazz music)
- his classmates and instructor are all a part of what the speaker might suggest is a larger American identity.
- Black and white — both descriptors of race and the typing on a page
- “Will my page be colored that I write?” i.e. will I be able to complete the assignment?
“Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon
- The list form is simple and familiar, and the question of where you are from reaches deep
- Write your own “Where I’m From” poem:
- food, a description of a table setting
- scenes from your memories
- an important event
- helping your parents’ work; tools they used
- description of important people in your life
- phrases you’ve said/lyrics you’ve sung
- what you wanted to say but never did
- a significant object—felt/sounded/looked/smelled like, your memory of it, a message connected with it.
- Video of the original poem and a student example
- Examples of video poems: video 1, video 2, video 3, video 4,
- emphasizes creating powerful images in poetry
“Think as I Think” by Stephen Crane
“The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats