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As an AP Literature teacher at an urban Title I high school, I am often limited to teaching books my school already has. Most of these books' writers are dead men, part of the canon of classic Western literature. Shakespeare is great and I always include him in my curriculum, but I would like to include writers who share my students' life experiences and that is why I am asking for class sets of Counting Descent by Clint Smith and Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez. Both Smith and Olivarez explore the theme of identity in their poetry and what it means to have others define your identity. Both poets explore what it's like to be "the other." Olivarez, in particular, deals with issues of immigration and what it's like to navigate two cultures, something most of my students can relate to. By sharing these poets with my students, I will show them that their stories matter.

About my class

As an AP Literature teacher at an urban Title I high school, I am often limited to teaching books my school already has. Most of these books' writers are dead men, part of the canon of classic Western literature. Shakespeare is great and I always include him in my curriculum, but I would like to include writers who share my students' life experiences and that is why I am asking for class sets of Counting Descent by Clint Smith and Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez. Both Smith and Olivarez explore the theme of identity in their poetry and what it means to have others define your identity. Both poets explore what it's like to be "the other." Olivarez, in particular, deals with issues of immigration and what it's like to navigate two cultures, something most of my students can relate to. By sharing these poets with my students, I will show them that their stories matter.

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