2: Poem excerpt, Vanessa Hidary’s “The Hebrew Mamita,” 2008.
The poem’s finale.
Suggested activity: Have students read the excerpt aloud, and then listen again to Hidary performing. How does Hidary’s performance add to the meaning or impact of the lines? Read with students a brief history of slam poetry from the Academy of American Poets, clicking through to the work of other slam poets, and comparing their work to Hidary’s poem. Have students write and perform their own slam poem describing an aspect of their identity. As they work on their poems, ask students to reflect on how they will use elements of performance—including vocal tone, accent, rhythm, dress, and gesture—to create meaning. You could even hold a poetry slam competition in the classroom, in which students perform their poems and collectively choose a winner.
Source: Vanessa Hidary, "The Hebrew Mamita," in The Last Kaiser Roll in the Bodega (Brooklyn, NY: Penmanship Books, 2011), 82.