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Heritage Poetry

Poetry as Experience

Can poetry help us understand the immigrant experience?

Read three poems by these authors:

Walt Whitman “I Hear America Singing”

Langston Hughes “I, Too, Sing America”

Maya Angelou “On the Pulse of the Morning”

Now think about it

How do different poets during different time periods view America?

1.    Read each of the poems.
2. In each circle ( in this tool RWT History Poetry  or this paper tool ) briefly summarize the main points of the poem and the
speaker’s tone.
3. Then in the area where the three circles intersect list what all three poems
have in common.
4. In the areas where two poems intersect list what the two poems have in

On the back of the graphic organizer:
5. What overall inference can you make about the perspectives (views) of America expressed in these poems? Support your answer with direct references to the poems.

Source: RWT Lesson

Create your own poetic experience from your research.

Write a poem or a song for two voices about an immigrant’s experience.

The poem should be modeled after the poetry in Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman (see our poetry shelf), and the song modeled after Neil Diamond’s lyrics in "Coming to America.”

The song or poem should accurately reflect historical information (or present-day information).

Work with classmates to present the song or poem as a dramatic reading and record it with a video camera. (SL.6.6)

Resource:  Analyzing Songs and Poetry

Thinking About Poems
Thinking About Songs