Language

Persimmons by Li-Young Lee

‘Persimmons’ by Li-Young Lee is a beautiful poem that describes the poet’s interest in language. It explores how a persimmon comes to symbolize both his family connections and his feelings of alienation from his peers. 

Persimmons by Li-Young Lee Visual Representation

Immigrant Blues by Li-Young Lee

How does it feel when the body and the soul are not in conjunction? Read Li-Young Lee’s meditative piece ‘Immigrant Blues’ to understand what it really feels like.

Immigrant Blues by Li-Young Lee Visual Representation

Teaching English from an Old Composition Book by Gary Soto

Gary Soto’s ‘Teaching English from an Old Composition Book’ is about a teacher instructing some Mexican-American immigrant students in a night school. Soto portrays their harsh living conditions and the struggle to cope in a new culture.

Teaching English from an Old Composition Book by Gary Soto Visual Representation

At First by Amanda Gorman

‘At First’ by Amanda Gorman is a poem about language in the COVID-19 pandemic. The poem uses text messages to speak about how the pandemic changed everyone. 

At First by Amanda Gorman Visual Representation

The Language by Robert Creeley

‘The Language’ by Robert Creeley is an interesting poem that grows easier to understand with each reading. It discusses love and the way its conveyed and felt. 

The Language by Robert Creeley Visual Representation

Arabic by Naomi Shihab Nye

‘Arabic’, a thoughtful poem by Naomi Shihab Nye appears in Red Suitcase: Poems (1994). This poem features a speaker’s forgetfulness concerning her mother tongue (Arabic) and culture.

Arabic by Naomi Shihab Nye Visual Representation

Search for My Tongue by Sujata Bhatt

‘Search for My Tongue’ by Sujata Bhatt describes the speaker’s struggle embracing a new culture and “tongue.” While fearing they’ll forsake the core details of who they are in the process.

What is it? by Mary Majanja

‘What is it?’, by Mary Majanja, is a riddle poem that forces the reader to examine the definition of beauty and what it means to be beautiful.

Days by Philip Larkin

‘Days’ by Philip Larkin is a beautiful poem that contemplates life in the poet’s typical fashion. He asks the reader to consider “What are days for?”

Listen Mr. Oxford Don by John Agard

John Agard’s ‘Listen Mr. Oxford Don’ subverts traditional ideas about correct usage of the English language, immigration and cultural heritage.

Backdrop by Agha Shahid Ali

‘Backdrop’ by Agha Shahid Ali is a thoughtful poem that speaks about the Arabic language. It also reflects on the speaker’s connection to his ancestors.

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