Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with 8th graders on poems inspired by memories. After brainstorming possible topics, they began drafting. I was in awe of the depth and range of emotions and tones in their writing, from witty to heartbreakingly serious.
As we began revising, it was clear that they needed some mentor poems to help them think about line breaks. After spending some time on The Poetry Foundation’s archive of poems for children, I found this beauty by Rita Dove.
“Fifth Grade Autobiography”
by Rita Dove
I was four in this photograph fishing
with my grandparents at a lake in Michigan.
My brother squats in poison ivy.
His Davy Crockett cap
sits squared on his head so the raccoon tail
flounces down the back of his sailor suit.
My grandfather sits to the far right
in a folding chair,
and I know his left hand is on
the tobacco in his pants pocket
because I used to wrap it for him
Read the rest of the poem here.
Please be sure to visit the lovely Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World For Kids for the Poetry Friday Roundup.