‘We’re All Sitting At The Table’ : Finding a place…in poetry.

A common household object became the focus for this lesson, while studying Joy Harjo’s poem, Perhaps the World Ends Here.  Students were asked to begin the lesson by sketching an eating surface that they remembered and then to list 5 things that happened there.  Culture, famiily, feelings, conversation and much more were uncovered at these tables.

Lesson Note: Harjo once commented, “I feel strongly that I have a responsibility to all the sources that I am: to all past and future ancestors, to my home country, to all places that I touch down on and that are myself, to all voices, all women, all of my tribe, all people, all earth, and beyond that to all beginnings and endings. In a strange kind of sense [writing] frees me to believe in myself, to be able to speak, to have voice, because I have to; it is my survival.” Her work is often autobiographical, informed by the natural world, and above all preoccupied with survival and the limitations of language.

Mr. Telles, 9th Grade
Period 1

Theo C.

The dining room table. A place for eating, for

It is a place for building puzzles, playing games,
and doing school projects.

A place for conversation and celebration
A place for discussion, politics, and
A place for resentment, anger, and
A place where families split never to see
eachother agian
A table is a place of repression.

Ani A.

Every day at 12:00 the maintenance staff wheels in the grey plastic
folding tables from some church function or other.

For  sometime the tables stand alone, then are brought chairs.
They stand ‘waiting.’ The bell rings.

Children stream from every class room, walking sometimes
running to their lockers, grabbing lunchboxes, basketballs
and talking excitedly.

Now the tables no long stand alone, they are
surrounded by smiling faces. Laughing students
thankful for the time away from class.

Over the table secrets are whispered, friendships
are forged, gossip is gabbed and then the bell
rings again.

The maintenance staff comes back, folds the
tables and wheels them away.

The students have long gone, collected their
books and left again.

Mr. Telles, 9th Grade
Period 5

At My Dining Table
Kate G.

Season 4, episode 22. Gossip Girl. Never fully recovered. Chuck and
Blair just deserved eachother too much.

So much food tried at that table. Some good pasta. Salads.
Pasta salads. Some bad olives. Falafel. Pumpkin pie.

The slime of 2017 is still stuck there. thanks annie.
annie’s birth was announced there. maggie’s. billy’s. mine.

pillow forts protected me there from the ever-looming threat
of school the next day.

My mom asked ‘if you could have dinner with any 3 people
living or dead, who would they be? Maggie responded
“ariana grande, pete davidson and dr. phil.”

many acceptances from every family member were introduced
Whitney Young. Lane Tech. Villanova University. Many to come.

So table, thank you for being a home to every laugh,
fear, joy and feeling or anticipation or new beginning.


Farayd M.F.

You came to me in a box
With a few tight screws and instructions
You were finally built with my own two hands
And you have stayed loyal to the hands that brought you life

A few pieces of the finest cherry oak there are
Standing proud and tall, defining all odds
Countless hours of homework and gaming, done on you
And not a minute of it went to waste

With a will stronger than iron, you shall stand with me
until the end
And in my toughest times,
You will always be the one I defend.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.