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The Reading Series in the Classroom: Carmen Giménez Smith

This week, in continuation with our series, “The Reading Series in the Classroom,” we here at Wordplay will introduce your students to the writing of Carmen Giménez Smith. She will read at the Poetry Center on April 25th at 7 p.m., along with J. Michael Martínez and Roberto Tejada. Giménez Smith’s reading will be best suited for high school students, but her poetry also appeals to a K-8 audience. Please print and read her poem “Photo of a Girl on a Beach,” with your students, and then follow the writing prompts below. Hope to see you all at the Reading!

1. What words or images are most memorable to you in the poem?

2. Are there any lines or images that stick out to you as odd or quizzical?

3. Pick your favorite line and discuss it with a neighbor. Why did you pick the line?

4. At the end of the poem, there’s an interesting twist with narration. For most of the poem, the narrator is “I,” but by the end of the poem, the narrator shifts to “she.” Who, in your mind, is the girl on the beach? Is it the narrator or some other girl? Or do you have a different explanation?

5. Find a family photo when you go home tonight, and write a short imitation poem, based off of Carmen Giménez Smith’s “Photo of a Girl on a Beach.” For example, the title of your poem could be “Photo of a Grandpa at a Birthday Party.”

Also, to encourage your students to attend the Reading, we've included this Extra Credit Worksheet, which you can download, print, and hand-out to your students.

Finally, as an extension activity, feel free to check out this great interview on Wordplay. Local poet and teacher, Christopher Nelson, shares his insights about teaching the Poetry Center's Reading Series in the Classroom.

Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of a memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds(University of Arizona, 2010), three poetry collections—Goodbye, Flicker (University of Massachusetts, 2012), The City She Was(Center for Literary Publishing, 2011) and Odalisque in Pieces(University of Arizona, 2009)—and three poetry chapbooks—Reason's Monsters(Dusie Kollectiv, 2011), Can We Talk Here(Belladonna Books, 2011) and Glitch(Dusie Kollectiv, 2009). She has also co-edited a fiction anthology, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me(Penguin, 2010). She is the recipient of a 2011 American Book Award, the 2011 Juniper Prize for Poetry, and a 2011-2012 fellowship in creative nonfiction from the Howard Foundation. Formerly a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she now teaches in the creative writing programs at New Mexico State University and Ashland University, while serving as the editor-in-chief of the literary journal Puerto del Soland the publisher of Noemi Press. She lives with her husband, the writer Evan Lavender-Smith, and their two children in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Created on: 
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Arizona Board of Regents