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Feminist Poetry


Written by: Abby-Ashford Grooms

Materials: four poems written by feminist poets

Consider including collections by: Rosario Castellanos, Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, Marge Piercy, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Adrienne Rich, Dorothy Parker, Julia Alvarez, Erika Jong, Anne Sexton, Sandra Cisneros, Gwendolyn Brooks, Rita Dove, Sylvia Plath, Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker

Guiding Questions: -      

  •   How are feminism and feminist poetry relevant to the lives of twenty-first century teens?
  •  What do twenty-first century teens already understand about feminism? Where does this knowledge come from? What should be done with it?
  •  How can K-12 teachers design curricula to engage students in conversation and analysis around issues of gender and power?




Intro: Having already read the poems the night before for homework, first choose one of the four poems that you read to work on. Great. Read through that poem again and cirlce words that resonate the most with you. 
As a whole group now we are going to think about the words we circled.
Poster Dialogue: Write up all of the words the student's circled on big paper. Ask them to call them out one at a time from their seats. Make sure everyone can see the paper.
Reflect on these words: Why did they resonate with the student? What do you think they mean to the author of the poem? Why? Create a definition of feminist poetry as a whole group. Write it up on big paper.


Split into groups, read poems. Create a persona that you think that poem encompasses. It could be the author or the subject of the poem. 
Each group should choose one person to represent their persona in the talk show. They should discuss how that person might answer questions. What are the characteristics of the persona they have created? How do they feel about their life, their situation? How might they wish it were different? How can they change their circumstances?
Additionally, each group should write one question that they would be like to be asked during the talk show.
Invite a student to be the talk sow moderator. THis person can collect the questions the groups write and write a few follow up questions while the groups work on creating their persona.
The Moderator invites the persona's from the four poems to sit at the front of the room. The rest of the class acts as the audience. The talk show moderator asks the students-in-role the questions they wrote. This is a dialogue, the students-in-role answer as their persona would. The audience and moderator can ask follow-up questions.


Questions to reflect on the lesson:
Describe: What did we do today? What role did you take on?
Analyze: How did it feel to be in-role as a persona? How did it feel to be the audience? What did you learn from each other? 
Relate: What did you learn about the authors of these poems? What are some of their beliefs and values? How does this effect our lives? Was there anything else you noticed?