Yolanda & Selena Don’t Talk Anymore
by Melissa Lozada-Oliva
Photo by Bridget Badore
Workshop Title: Selena
Ask your students, “Who is a celebrity who was “taken too soon”? Who never had the opportunity to live up to their full potential? And why?” Briefly discuss.
Read “Yolanda & Selena Don’t Talk Anymore” by Melissa Lozada-Oliva. When you’re done, briefly discuss the poem. How does the poet characterize both subjects of the piece?
Say, “Reflect on one celebrity who was “taken too soon.” Jot down everything that you saw in them when they were alive and what made their fate so tragic.” Take a few minutes to brainstorm.
Ask your students to compose a poem similar in sentiment to “Yolanda & Selena Don’t Talk Anymore” in which they write from the perspective of a celebrity (or other figure) whose fate was premature.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Area of Focus: Structure
If your students are not familiar with the general concept of a poem’s “structure,” go through the introductory lesson.
Start by showing your students the following video, an overview of the life and tragedy of Selena.
Briefly discuss the video. What drove Yolanda to kill Selena?
Ask your students to open the following document and go over both the introduction and directions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to look at the piece and analyze it as two separate halves before looking at the poem in its original published form. When you’ve gone through the introduction and directions, give your students time to work.
When you are done, ask your students about their analysis of the “first half of the piece.” How did the poet characterize Yolanda?
Then ask your students about the “second half” of the piece. How did the poet characterize Selena?
Then ask your students about the final piece of analysis. How did the structure of the piece complicate or widen our understanding(s) of the two characters? Have them briefly discuss.
- Criminal Justice
- Death / Grief
- Figurative Language
- Selection of Detail