For the month of December, the librarians of The Reader's Den have decided to spotlight some of our very favorite poetry. To get things started, I'd like to take a look at the poem "Learning to Love America" by Shirley Geok-Lim Lin. You can read this and many other great poetry selections at The Poetry Foundation's website. Be sure to reserve and/or check of the other works by Shirley Geok-Lim Lin available through the library.
"Learning to Love America" (from What the Fortune Teller Didn't Say) by Shirley Geok-Lim Lin (b. 1944, Malacca, Malaysia)
Learning to Love America
because it has no pure products
because the Pacific Ocean sweeps along the coastline
because the water of the ocean is cold
and because land is better than ocean
because I say we rather than they
because I live in California
I have eaten fresh artichokes
and jacaranda bloom in April and May
...read the rest of the poem here... then come back for discussion questions below!
Here are some discussion questions about this poem for you to think about:
- In "Learning to Love America" by Shirley Geok-Lim Lin, the poet uses several "I" statements to explain her own experiences as an immigrant to the United States. Based on what she says, do you think that she has had an overall positive or negative experience?
- The majority of "Learning to Love America" uses visceral images involving the senses, specifically taste and touch. Why do you think these senses were highlighted in particular? Could these senses, for some reason, be somehow more important to the poet? Why?
Want to discuss what you think about "Learning to Love America"? Use the comments section below to begin the discussion! Be sure to provide suggestions to other readers on your favorite poems. We want to hear what you think about poetry!