“ dear white counselor ,” W r i t i n g

“ dear white counselor ,” W r i t i n g


In this block, we’ve focused our discussion on different aspects of poetry: as an act of resistance,
as a platform to make a statement, as a form of expression, and part of identity and human
experience. By looking at different poets, from Emily Dickenson, to Ginsberg, to Juan Felipe
Herrera, and to most contemporary poets like Amanda Gorman and Sy Stokes. All these poets
have something in common their way of negotiating with words and exploring style and
structure in poetry…

Part 1 (150 points)
Write a poem that follows the structure, form, style, and other elements of a poem of your choice.
Use that poem of your choice as a mentor text to write your own poem. It could be another poem
by Ginsberg, Dickenson, or any of the poets we discussed in class. Or you can use a poem from
an author we didn’t discuss in class. For example, if you chose “Sonnet 18,” you would write a
sonnet in a similar poetic form (number of stanzas, rhyme, meter, etc.). Of course, your poem
does not have to have the same themes or be about love, for instance. But it does need to follow
the structure of the poem you’re using as a guide.

Write a poem that follows the structure, form, style, and other elements of one of the poems we
discussed in class. Use that poem as a mentor text to write your own poem. For example, if you
chose “Americano” by Emanuel Xavier, you could use some of the lines from his poem (i.e., “I
look at myself in the mirror/ trying to figure out what makes me…”) Or you could use repetition
as a literary device to emphasize a specific point or idea in your poem. You can also use that form
to make a statement, a definition of what makes you who you are.

Write a poem that shows your style. It could be related to the previous poems; it could be
something you would like to try, or you could create something new that shows more about you
as a writer, a person, an individual. Use stanzas, white space, repetition, and punctuation
intentionally to make a statement. Remember that each line, phrase, word, and even white space
is intentional and specific. So, pay attention to the choices you make and keep in mind that this
poem reflects who you as a writer. Feel free to use visual aids such as a video, an image, or
something that goes with that poem. You can also use Stokes’s poem, “Dear White Counselor,”
as a mentor text if that is something you’d prefer. Be creative, have fun, explore your writing with

Helpful Tip
The goal of this project is for you to explore different styles and structures of poetry, using other poems as
mentor texts. There is no wrong or right way of writing your poems. The idea is that you use some
elements from a mentor poem as a starting point.

Poems Page Requirements:
3 poems total, from different styles and poetic forms
Doublespaced, Times New Roman, size 12
Title (no underlined, bolded, or highlighted)
Spellchecked and proofread
Clear and intentional punctuation

Part 2 (50 points)

Write a reflection page in which you answer the following questions:
Intention What motivated you to write about these poems? What are the poems about? What
do they reflect? What are the intentions behind each poem?
Ideas What are the literary devices you employed in each poem? How does each literary
device help you enhance the intentions that the poems convey? How effective do you think those
devices are?
Structure What is the structure and poetic form of each poem? What helped you make the
choices you made about line breaks, stanza forms, repetition, rhyme, punctuation (or lack
thereof)? How would you define that structure and poetic form for each poem?
Exploration Looking back at each of these poems, the choices you made, the process of
creating these poems, how do you think this project help you explore language and writing in
poetry? In other words, what did you learn from this project? How do you think this project help
you explore language and writing in poetry and literature?

Reflection Page Requirement:
Your Name, My Name, Class, and date of submission, in that order.
Double spaced, Times New Roman, size 12, oneinch margin
Spellchecked, proofread, and edited

Note: This reflection page goes before the poems.

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