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!

Untitled

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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