“I planted him in this country/like a flag” writes Margaret Atwood in “Death of a Young Son by Drowning”, a poem that explores a mother’s grief and her forging of identity in the Canadian landscape. Physical and human geography often play an important role in poetry. From Fred Wah’s visceral evocations of dust storms in Swift Current Saskatchewan in “Breathe Dust” to Lee Maracle’s racial politics in “War”, landscapes become an anchor for memory, ideas and action. We have all planted a flag to claim and name a territory that resonates in our lives. It’s time to write a poem about it! In this unit, students write their own geo-poem and turn it into a geo-video that captures in words and images a personal geography that bears witness to our earthly lives.
In this lesson, students will have opportunities to:
- Read and discuss a selection of poems.
- Locate language in poems that they find striking and memorable.
- Write a poem that explores a personal and meaningful geography.
- Use art and digital literacy to write a poem.
- Recognize how literary elements, techniques and devices enhance and shape meaning and impact in a poem.
- Use design processes to plan, develop and create an engaging visual and oral text to perfect intonation, volume and pacing as well as memorization.
Materials and Resources
To teach this lesson, students will need:
- access to video recording software (iMovie)
- class projector and speakers
- access to Poetry In Voice online anthology
- geo-poem analysis template