Let's Get Married
by José Olivarez
Photo by Davon Clark
Workshop Title: Wedding
Ask your students, “What’s the best wedding speech you’ve ever heard? Or, if you haven’t heard one, what do you think you would want to hear in a wedding speech? Why?” Briefly discuss.
Read “Let’s Get Married” by José Olivarez. When you’re done, briefly discuss the wedding speech. What makes it appropriate and meaningful for the occasion? What makes it unique and special?
Say, “Think about what you would want to hear in your “ideal” wedding speech, either for yourself or for somebody you care about. This doesn’t need to be about somebody in particular you know, but rather a general idea of what would comprise a “good” wedding speech, in your opinion. Take a few minutes to brainstorm.”
Ask your students to compose a poem similar in sentiment to “Let’s Get Married” in which they compose a wedding speech. This can be directed toward somebody specific or one that can apply to anybody.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Lesson 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.
Start by jumping right into the poem, “Let’s Get Married” by José Olivarez. Read (or project) the title and the first two lines of the poem to the class:
- let’s get married on a Tuesday
with a six-piece from Harold’s as our witness.
Discuss the line. How does the line express the speaker’s feelings toward their partner? Field a few responses. Discuss as much as possible with what’s provided.
Ask your students to open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students will “Mad Lib” certain parts of the poem to match the style and sentiment of the rest of the piece. Then give your students time to work.
Stop your students when there are about 20 minutes left in the class period. Ask them to share a few of their responses with the rest of the class.
After your students have shared their pieces, share the full version of your poem with the class. Have them look through it for a few minutes to compare their Mad Libs with the way the poem was originally composed.
After a few minutes, ask your students to share their takeaways. Were there any similarities in content? If so, how? Have them briefly discuss.
If time permits, share the exemplar essay.
- Community / Culture
- Figurative Language
- Selection of Detail
- Structure (Syntax)