Poetry Assignment 1

Due Wednesday, February 5

This assignment has two parts. The first part is a poem of between 100 and 150 words. The second part is a few sentences that interpret the poem. Type your poem and interpretation and hand it in during class on the 5th.

The broad topic of the poem is tradition, but do not use the word “tradition” in your poem. Select a particular traditional practice that have participated in or have been invited to participate in. For example, when I go to Filipino weddings, I always awkwardly refuse to dance. Instead, I just sit down, eat and drink, and chat with people around me.

Your poem should center on your specific relationship to a specific tradition. Aim for descriptions of concrete practices rather than abstractions. Your poem should refer to the senses--sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.

For your interpretation, identify conflicts. For example, is there a traditional practice that you do not want to participate in, but you are pressured to participate? Do you have family members who do not believe that traditions are as important as you do? Have you been prevented from participating in traditions because you have had to move or because of a lack of time or money? Have people around you looked down on traditions that you hold dear?

You might consider how tradition is related to the turning point from the Telling Your Story assignment. This might mean elaborating on family relationships because older generations might have different relationships to different traditions than younger generations.

Finally, the poem should not be about Asian Americans as a group. In fact, it could be bad for your poem if you try to make broad generalizations about Asian Americans.

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