Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Teaching with Sunday's Poetry Break: This Matter by Haymanot
If you haven't had the chance to read Sunday's poetry break, This Matter by Haymanot, I highly recommend it.
I write now with a quick follow up to offer an idea about how to incorporate this particular poem into your class.
In 2014, WaPo published this story: In a crowded immigration court, seven minutes to decide a family’s future. The article does a good job of humanizing the incredible time pressures facing immigration judges -- pressures that have only increased as the backlog of cases grows ever larger and immigration judges now have performance metrics to hit. (BTW, if you want an even more recent article than WaPo's 2014, check out this AP one from 2020.)
You could assign one of these newspaper articles alongside Haymanot's poem. Instead of offering facts and figures like the news articles, Haymanot's poem humanizes the same story, from the perspective of the migrant whose future is being decided within these constraints. The news articles are removed, detached. The poem is an explosion of emotion and feeling.