What’s Eating You?

A discussion of food and memory began our class in preparation to study Gary Soto’s Narrative Style poem, Oranges. Nostalgia and feelings came up a lot in our talks. What emotions are attached to memory and food? Why? Do memories change as time goes by? How?  Below are some examples of student’s work.

Lesson Note:  This session included a student group performance/ Poet’s Theater presentation, of the poem. Here the young writers are asked to improvise, collaborate, utilize props, and present a performance to their peers in a very short amount of time. To ‘physicalize’ the poem quickly, removes the ‘inner editor’ and places the poem inside the body via muscle memory. It also allows a myriad of options for the poem’s interpretation.  At the end of the residency, ‘Oranges’ is usually the poem that is remembered most.


Mrs. Nazimek, 8th Grade
Group 1


Michelle V.

It hurts
laying in my hands

The Betrayal
Nadia B.

Emotions filled the room
The ‘tick tack’ on the floor
it seemed like a white blur
as this animal sped off with it’s treasure
The girl, filled with anger and comedy
sped towards the dog.
Trying to gain what she had lost.
And that was the time my dog stole my
sister’s toast.

Mrs. Nazimek, 8th Grade
Group 2

Burnt Toast
Alexa R.

Grabbing a loaf of bread
Putting pieces in the toaster
Patiently waiting for the toast
But easily distracted
Going to watch TV
30 minutes passed
I heard a ring in my head
Remembering about the toast
Taking it out
As hard as a rock
Pounding it on the table
As it turns into dust
Burnt Toast

Warm Fire In December
Stephanie C.

It tasted like a warm fire.
Minus the fire and heat, but with
a light warmth.
The smells of chocolate and
marshmallow spreading around
My grandmother handing me a
cup with hot chocolate inside
A warm memory of a cold
December snow falls before
January snow days.

Ashley G.

Unwrapping Raman noddle soup
heating it up in the oven.
“Beep” goes the oven
letting me know it’s ready
Out it comes onto the counter
out it comes into my bowl
I’m carrying it onto my kitchen table
then I slip and it spills all over me
I feel my skin slightly burning
that is when I know, I messed

Mrs. Nazimek, 8th Grade
Group 3

Matthew G.

expressive art lines the whole room
the smell of broth and wine
fill the open room
Hot cheese and dark Beer
get poured into a pan
the aroma reminds me of
dinners spent eating cheese
and making home made fondue
sizzling chicken broth
sticks pointing out of a pan.
The warm feeling of making food
The fondue



“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.