16 Intersectional Identity and Poetic Devices – Classroom Exercise

Authors: Mary Beth Cancienne, Brian Hannon, DaMaris B. Hill, Jim Smethurst

Target Group: Undergraduate

Objective: To analyze and write poems that demonstrate knowledge of poetic devices and theoretical perspectives of intersectional identity.

Goal: To demonstrate awareness of theories associated with intersectionality in poems from Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry.

Classroom Exercise One

  • Create a PowerPoint that is an assortment of images that represent you. Use objects, artifacts, music, photographs, and items of significance to describe yourself. You may also use words.
  • Introduce intersectionality as a term and define it (some useful readings linked below)”
  • Read Tara Betts’ “Another Clearing of the Land: Epitaph for Hadiyah Pendleton” (Furious Flower 2019, pp. 85-86).
  • Have students work in groups (4-5) to create a presentation about the intersectional identities of the poem’s subject. Students can then share their presentations and discuss how their presentations reiterate the intersectionality of the subject of the poem.

Classroom Exercise Two

  • Read Derrick Weston Brown’s “Melinated Merman aka Aquabruh Wants to Holler at You” (Furious Flower 2019, pp. 167-168).
  • In pairs, discuss the title of the poem.
  • Discuss the intersectionality of the speaker, the “Melinated Merman.”
  • Write a poem about sliding into someone’s DMs while trying to approach a love interest. Make sure your students integrate the speaker’s intersectionality while writing their “love letters.”
  • When your students are done, have a few of them share their pieces aloud. Then ask your students to briefly discuss how their pieces reflect the intersectionality of the “Melinated Merman.”


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The Furious Flower Syllabus Project: Opening the World of Black Poetry Copyright © 2024 by Anastacia-Reneé; allia abdullah-matta; Ariana Benson; Mary Beth Cancienne; Teri Ellen Cross Davis; Shameka Cunningham; Hayes Davis; Tyree Daye; Angel C. Dye; Brian Hannon; T.J. Hendrix; DaMaris B. Hill; Meta DuEwa Jones; Shauna M. Morgan; Adrienne Danyelle Oliver; Leona Sevick; James Smethurst; Dana A. Williams; L. Lamar Wilson; Carmin Wong; Dave Wooley; and Joanne V. Gabbin (preface) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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