Instagram Poems For ESL Students

Here are some of my favourite poems found on Instagram that I have shared, or would want to share, with my students – and I recommend you share them with yours. I’ve added ideas for discussion questions right below the poem.

1. Unnamed Poem by Diana Levy

  • How has the poet personified nostalgia?
  • How has the poet used the five senses to create evocative imagery?
  • Describe the memories of your childhood.
  • Which sensory images would you use to capture your country?

2. Have You Ever Noticed by Rudy Francisco

  • Comment on the form and structure of the poem (title, punctuation, stanzas, etc.)
  • How has the poet personified water?
  • What is the lesson conveyed through the poem?
  • Can you think of another lesson that one can learn from water? (e.g. its flexibility, transparence, life-giving nature, its paradoxical calm and force, etc.)

3. A Letter to the Playground Bully by Andrea Gibson

  • Comment on the title of the poem and how it relates to the content.
  • What is meant by ‘reading between the lines,’ and what information about the poet can we glean from reading between the lines of this poem?
  • What kind of people does the poet’s mother describe? Explain the metaphor of heartbeats used here.
  • Do stereotypes affect our self image – how?

4. The Problem of Writing Poems in the Shape of Deciduous Trees by Brian Bilston

  • Comment on the shape of the poem.
  • Why can we still read the poem in spite of the missing letters?
  • Where is the poet? How do you know?
  • Make a list of the missing letters. Where have they gone?

Do you use poems in class? Which poems do your students read and like?

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