- AT THE POETRY CENTER
- K12 EDUCATION
- AWARDS & RESIDENCIES
- GET INVOLVED
Sequence of Activities
Introduction: 10 minutes
Ask students if they have ever heard a poet read his/her own poems, and why it might be valuable to listen to a poet read. When students volunteer the idea that the poet’s reading invests the poem with the poet’s individual personality, invite them to consider the question from the writer’s perspective: how do poets create persona in poetry? Why might a poet choose to use an “I” in a poem that is not autobiographical? Conversely, why might a poet choose to tell a personal story in the third person?
Have students listen to Lucille Clifton’s poem “lucy one-eye” on voca. Have students pair up, give each pair of students a copy of the poem (text available here), and ask students to discuss the following questions with their partners: Why does Lucille Clifton use the third person in this poem? What revelations about herself does Clifton make in her poem, and where does a turning point occur? Finally, what is one problem you encounter as you write about yourself? Ask some of the students to share their answers with the class.
Writing Activity: 30 minutes
Point out to students that in the commentary Clifton gives before she reads the poem, she mentions how difficult it is to be honest when you are writing about yourself as an “I.” Ask students to experiment with this idea by giving them the following directions:
Conclusion: 10 minutes
Ask students how the story changed as it shifted from prose to poetry and from first to third person. What changes did students observe in the central character of the story in the two versions they wrote down?
Ask for volunteers to share their writing with the class.