What Poems Can Do

I was so excited to get started with students at Perez Elementary in Pilsen today! I’ll be working with three classes of 7th and 8th graders and they are ready to go. I introduced myself by reading my poem, Ode to the Chancla and talked a little about how being introduced to writing poetry changed my life. Students asked questions about why I chose to write about a flip flop and we had a great conversation about how even ordinary objects can tell a story.

We shifted into discussing what students thought poetry is, and what it can do. Below, is a working definition of poetry that our Perez students will be working with in the coming weeks.

Somethings that Poems Can Do:

  1. Poems can rhyme (they don’t have to).
  2. Poems can sound like songs (including rap).
  3. Poems can be lighthearted and they can be dark and serious.
  4. Poems can have rhythm.
  5. Poems can be funny and fun.
  6. Poems can be like music.
  7. Poems can be about our feelings and emotions.
  8. Poems can tell our stories.
  9. Poems can be about the world around us.



“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.