poem where no one is deported
by José Olivarez
Photo by Davon Clark
Workshop Title: Appreciation
Say, “Who is a person (or a group of people) you’ve personally known whom you’ve always appreciated? Why did you appreciate this person or group of people?” Then give your students time to discuss.
Read “poem where no one is deported” by José Olivarez. When ’re done, briefly discuss whom the speaker praises and how he goes about doing so.
Ask your students to choose somebody (or a group of people) from their past whom they greatly appreciate, for a variety of reasons. Then have them try to identify, in as much detail as possible, the different “things” that these people did which exemplify the reasons why they appreciate them so much.
Have your students write a poem similar in sentiment to José Olivarez’s “poem where no one is deported” to express their appreciation toward a person or group of people whom they have known.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Area of Focus: Various
This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are diction, selection of detail, syntax, figurative language, and tone.
Start by showing the following video, a trailer to Netflix’s Immigration Nation. When the video is over, ask your students to briefly discuss the tone of the trailer and how it depicts the lives of undocumented immigrants.
Read “a poem where no one is deported” by José Olivarez. When you’re done, ask your students to discuss the similarities in tone between the poem and the trailer. Then ask your students to discuss the ways in which Olivarez is able to convey his attitude and tone toward the undocumented workers in his life. What does he say? And how do his words express his attitude?
Have your students open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to have to identify the myriad of ways in which Olivarez appreciates the subjects of his poem, and then create “appreciation” letters that mirror/reflect the sentiment of the piece. Then give your students time to work.
When your students are done, have them share their appreciation letters with the rest of the class.
If time permits, share the exemplar essay with your students.
- Children / Youth
- Community / Culture
- Criminal Justice
- Food / Hunger
- Labor / Work
- Race / Ethnicity / Racism
- Figurative Language
- Selection of Detail
- Structure (Syntax)