Thursday, April 23, 2009

Poetry Break: Serious Poem

Poem: All Mixed Up

By Janet Wong

From the Book: Poems From Many Cultures

Compiled by Fiona Waters

Published By: Evans Brothers Limited; 2007 (Reprint)

ISBN # 978-0-237-52104-2


Have you ever been excluded from a group because you were not dressed the right way? How did it make you feel? Can you imagine being excluded from a group because of the color of your skin? At least with clothes, you can change them and try to blend in. Skin color can not be changed. What does it mean to be Multicultural? Does it mean your skin is a different color? Can you belong for your unique qualities and heritage? Have students think about these things as you read Janet Wong's poem to them.

All Mixed Up

What does multicultural mean?
Stuck int he middle
in between
all kinds of food
and clothes
and talk?
Listening to bamboo flutes
play rock?
Turning tortillas
over the stove,
burning the tips
of chopsticks?

Why does my teacher love that word?
Is it something she ate -
or something she heard?
Loud drums
beating in the park?
Does she call me
because my skin is


Tell students that the author of this poem is of American, Chinese and Korean descent. How do you think growing up with so many cultural influences affects her writing? Have students think about the poem from that perspective as you read it again. Challenge students to think of a time when they felt judged whether it was by their clothes or color of their skin and use those feelings to write a poem based on their experiences.

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