The Leash

by Ada Limón

Photo by Lucas Marquardt

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Earth

Step 1

Access Ada Limón’s “The Leash” by clicking on the link in the External Resources, then read the poem. Ask the students what they thought the speaker’s attitude of the world was, then let them discuss.

Step 2

When they’re done discussing, scroll to the bottom of the page and read the “About this Poem.”

Step 3

Give them a few minutes to come up with some of the different ways that they think the world is falling apart. Ask them, “What is your opinion of the world right now?” Give them time to think of some responses.

Step 4

Have them write a poem similar in style to Ada Limón’s “The Leash” in which they convey their perception of Planet Earth in its current state. Encourage them to provide as many examples as possible, something that should be “easy” to do considering our current state of affairs.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Diction

Step 1

If your students are not familiar with the concept of “diction,” review the introductory lesson.

Step 2

Have your students open the following document and go over the directions with them. In short, they are going to try to determine the point of the poem by simply looking at the list of words within. Then give them time to work on their assignment.

Step 3

When most of the students are done, have them first share what they thought the poet’s “complex attitude” was, then have them share their poems.

Step 4

Click on the link to Ada Limón’s poem provided in the External Resources, then read the poem. Ask the students what they thought her attitude was. Then, at the bottom of the page, read the “About this Poem.”

Step 5

If time permits, share the exemplar essay(s) for a more robust analysis of the poem.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Diction


  • Death / Grief
  • Philosophy
  • Violence
  • War

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Structure
  • Tone