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Persona Poem
If you were a person from a different time or place, what would you see, hear, taste, smell, or touch around you?

Brainstorm a list of what is going on around you and what is in your thoughts. Use strong verbs and distinct nouns for your details. Read through your list aloud. How does it sound? Does the character that you created have a strong, authentic voice? Work through your words to create your poem.

Here's a good example of a persona poem from Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Award-Winner, Jonathan C. Mentzer, Age 14.


"The Vessel of Death"
He is afraid of the white men,
But one of the lucky ones
On deck with air and light
For just a while.
He sees through the door
To the level beneath,
Spooning below the deck,
Head foot, head foot,
Chains cutting into flesh,
Groans and shrieking,
Dead people, waste, and rotten food.
Smells mingled together
Make him feel like vomiting.
Little ones strangling in the stinking slop,
Mothers screaming out their grief.
Suicide for some
Better than a ride on the vessel of death,
Stop eating,
Food crammed down the throat,
Be beaten,
Be forced to live,
No way out.
Remembers his home
Tantalizing smells of ripe fruit,
Where he could eat
Fresh roasted meat,
Peaceful sleep.
He sees his future,
Something worse than death,

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