Blind Boone's Vision
by Tyehimba Jess
Photo by John Midgley
Workshop Title: Talent
Say, “Think of somebody whom you find immensely talented. What makes this person “better” than the rest? What makes them unique? Discuss their extraordinary talent with the rest of the group.” Then give your students time to discuss.
Read “Blind Boone’s Vision” by Tyehimba Jess. When you’re done, briefly discuss how the poem is able to depict Boone as somebody of enormous talent, somebody whose legacy will continue to live on.
Have your students choose someone – like Tyehimba Jess did with “Blind” Boone – whom they admire because of their sheer talent and/or accomplishments. This talent can come in the form of their musical abilities, their athletic endowments, etc. Then, ask your students to come up with a brief anecdote (either real or fictitious) that provides a bit of context or backstory behind this person’s immense talents. Give your students time to brainstorm.
Ask your students to write a poem in a style similar to “Blind Boone’s Vision” by Tyehimba Jess in which they pay homage to somebody with extraordinary talents or accomplishments.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Area of Focus: Various
This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are: diction, tone, selection of detail, imagery, figurative language, and structure.
Begin by showing your students the following segment about a mural created in memory of John William “Blind” Boone.
When the video is done, read “Blind Boone’s Vision” by Tyehimba Jess. When you’re done, ask your students how the poem, like the mural, is intended to honor the legacy and brilliance of the musician. Briefly discuss.
Ask your students to open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students will have to create a “mural” of “Blind” Boone using only the text of the poem to support their creative choices.
When your students are done, have them share their final products with the class and have the class attempt to identify how certain elements of the murals were inspired by or reflective of the poem itself.
If time permits, share the exemplar essay with them.
- Body / Body Image
- Children / Youth
- Creativity / Imagination / Writing
- Disability Themes
- Education Formal / Informal
- Environment / Environmental Justice
- Health / Health Care / Illness
- Figurative Language
- Selection of Detail