Teach This Poem: “In This Place (An American Lyric)” by Amanda Gorman

New Review

Amanda Gorman, the United States's first National Youth Poet Laureate, is featured in a resource from the Academy of American Poets. Class members first read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech and note what King wanted for the United States. Next, individuals read Gorman's "In This Place (An American Lyric)" silently, writing down words, phrases, and structures that catch their eye. They watch a video of Gorman reading her poem several times and again list things they notice. After sharing their list with a partner, peers discuss how Gorman's poem relates to what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted for the country.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Have groups identify and research the many allusions in the poem, then report their findings to the class 
  • Combine the lesson with a study of Gorman's poem delivered at President Biden's inauguration
  • Use during April's Poetry Month or during February's Black History Month
Classroom Considerations
  • Younger learners may need help recognizing the many allusions in the poem
Pros
  • Includes extensions for grades 7-8 and 9-12
  • It also includes a link for teachers to a video from a 2018 TODAY show in which Gorman shares her views on poetry
Cons
  • None