Margin Notes



What I Was Reading:

I purchased Rupi Kaur’s most recent collection of poems home body and have been making my way through the book. The collection is divided into four sections – mind, heart, rest, and awake. Each section contains raw conversations that Kaur has had with herself, and although some of these poems may bring you face-to-face with parts of yourself or of your life you may wish to ignore, a few pages later you are sure to be hugged in all the right places and reminded of your unique place on Earth. And so, I came across this poem on page 96 and I kept going back to it. I thought – this is really something students could do, and do well!

 What moves I noticed the writer making:

-Kaur writes short and direct lines that bleed into one another.

-Kaur uses italics to represent dialogue and authentic speech.

-Kaur uses quotation marks around phrases such as “real job” and “stay-at-home mom” to emphasize the problematic connotations that surround these words.

-Rather than titling her poems, Kaur often ends them with a dash followed by a single word or phrase. The dash and use of the single word “ – value” at the end of the poem, sums up the central theme. It could also signify “value” itself as the figurative author of the poem.

-What captured my attention the most was Kaur’s elaboration on the meaning of “full-time caregiver”. Her mother’s job as a full-time caregiver is followed by a list that elaborates on all the other unsung roles her mother took on. I call this move a list of truths – it’s vulnerable in its ability to elaborate on the truth, in this case, the underappreciated or uncelebrated duties that a person takes on when assuming a role.


Opportunities for writers:

-Write about a time when you lied to hide the truth. What did you really want to say? Use quotation marks around a phrase to emphasize your apprehension toward its connotations.

-Create a list of truths within a poem – or another piece of writing – unpacking the truth surrounding a single thought or idea.

-Conversely, pick a poem you’ve read and highlight a word or idea in which the writer ‘dances around’. Make your own list of truths to emphasize what you think the writer is wanting to communicate.

-Use Kaur’s signature move: end a poem or piece of creative writing with a dash followed by a single word or phrase to encompass the theme of the piece or the figurative writer.

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