This assignment has two parts. The first part is a poem of between 100 and 150 words (we will look at some of the poems from previous quarters to get a sense for an appropriate length for a poem). The second part is an analysis of the poem that identifies causes for the experience represented in the poem.This poem should be about a time when you have felt unwelcome, when someone or something was telling you to “go home.” You will most likely be transforming one event from your Telling Your Story assignment into a poem. In other words, in contrast to the Telling Your Story assignment, you will be using a poem rather than a narrative in order to communicate your experience. You will have to be creative because of the formal limits of your poem. You will not be able to provide a great deal of background, you cannot rely on concepts, and you will probably not be able to refer to repeated actions. You will only have 100-150 words.

Instead, your poem should focus on a crisis-moment and your poem should be descriptive. Use details to generate meaning. Where were you when you had the experience? What were people wearing? What were people doing? Was food, drink, technology, or unspoken rules or expectations involved? What were the facial expressions, gestures, and postures of people who were there?

I will be expecting the poems to be similar to each other with regard to aesthetics. Here are some aesthetic guidelines:

  1. Do not use the words “Asian” or “Asian American.”
  2. Use ordinary language, not “poetic” language. In other words, you should aim for words that you have heard or used before in daily life. You can also use a small number of common words or phrases that are not in English as long as you give translation and romanization (if necessary) in parentheses.
  3. Do not rhyme.
  4. Although you should use ordinary and common language, you should aim to use the words to say things that have never been said before.
  5. Make your poem accessible to the senses. In other words, your poem should focus on things you can touch, taste, smell, hear, or see or on actions that involve the bodies of the characters. That is, your poem should focus on images and on the material world.
  6. Your poem should focus on images and not concepts.
  7. The poem should be told from your own perspective. In other words, the poem should be autobiographical. Because the poem is told from your perspective, you cannot put thoughts into the minds of other characters.

Remember that your poem should be written in verse. In other words, line breaks should be deliberate, not random. Think of lines (not sentences) as units of your poem. Refer to previous poems written for this class to get a sense of verse.

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