Multiculturalism Poems

All poems are either linked to or cited from a particular book that is listed in the Resources section.  If you are having trouble tracking down a copy of a particular poem, comment below for help and I’ll get back to you ASAP. These poem lists are not full modules, but suggestions of poems that could be good to work with, with some jumping off points for philosophical inquiry. If you would like me to write up more suggested questions and activities for an Example Module for a specific poem below, feel free to request! If you would like to write up a module for a poem, please contact me at madeleinebella@gmail.com for guidelines for submission, and I would be delighted to feature your work on the site. List in progress. Please feel free to suggest poems using the Comment box below! Thank you!

“Under This Sky,” Zia Hyder (Bangladesh), translated by Bhabani Sengupta with Naomi Shihab Nye, This Same Sky, p. 124

“There’s an enormous comfort,” begins Hyder, “knowing/we all live under this same sky,” no matter what continent we live on. The poem cycles through stark images of cities all over the world, highlighting the differences and commonalities between our experiences. Do these differences matter? Why or why not? This can also be a springboard to discussing Social/Political Philosophy on community formation and roles. What makes up a community? Can we be a community with people we have never met? If I’ve never met someone, do I have to care about them? Why or why not? For further discussion, this could link back to the discussion raised by “Napoleon” on how we care more or less about someone depending on how well we connect to them/how real they are to us.

“Day-Dream,” Samarendra Sengupta (India), translated by Lila Ray, This Same Sky, p. 52

Though originally posted as a poem raising metaphysical questions, this poem can also be used to discuss multiculturalism. Children’s kite-flying is an important piece of Indian culture. A philosophy discussion around “Day-Dream” could easily be incorporated into a primary school unit on sharing different cultural activities and traditions.

For more on Social/Political Philosophy, community formation, and the role of poetry in a community (!), visit Nicole Giambalvo’s module on Leo Lionni’s Frederick at Teaching Children Philosophy.

“Greenland’s History –or the history of the Danes on Greenland,” Sven Holm (Denmark), translted by Paula Hostrub-Jessen, This Same Sky, p. 169

Holm explores the cultural history of Greenland/Kalaalit Nunaat from a Danish perspective, and the ethics of colonization.

 

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