Poets’ Corner at UPE

A few weeks ago, the wonderful UPE English professor Zaira Cavalcanti asked me to bring some short poems to her evening class on Reading and Composition. Inspired, I spent a few hours searching through some of my favorite poems, like “This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams.

Students editing their poems in class.

I had a vague idea that I wanted this project to culminate in student-produced poetry, but at that point I had no conception of how brilliant the results would be. After reading and analyzing the poems I brought to class, I explained to the students a few different possible forms for their own poems: haiku, acrostic, found poem, etc. I told them that if they wanted to use their own form, they should feel free—having no major expectations for this option.

Alessandro posted the first poem on the poster I made for class.

The day that the students read their poems sticks out in my mind as one of the most inspiring I have yet experienced here. Looking back, I realize that I was silly to forget how powerful a tool poetry is for students who are learning to express themselves in a language. The malleability of a poem is such that students can lose their preoccupations about grammar and correct structure: the most important thing is simply to communicate a message in whatever way works. I was blown away by the depth and creativity of the poems that the students created; even those who struggle with English in other forms (like speaking) came to class with beautifully and creatively written pieces.

Below are two examples. I hope to use the 20 poems that the students created in a publication of English writing by students from the whole department, to be finished before the end of the year.

Mirror Play (an acrostic poem)

By Jessica

Football to girls

I invented a new form to play with 5 people

Verify first if you’re this five people

Everyone form a diamond and look at the mirror and pass the lipstick

Fifth period (juniors) at UPE after all their poems have been finished, shared and “published” on the wall!


By Renata

I came a place

There is a worker, farmer

Fighter and dreamer.

Dream in a good land

To plant and live

Sing to remove the sadness

It is a land’s singer.

There is forró, happy

There is a river, to dive

To fish and to walk

Call it Pernambuco

A good place to live.


To find some good web resources for poetry, check the English Language Resources page.

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