Read, Discuss, and Do with MARI IN THE MARGINS

By Marci Whitehurst The best books make readers feel like they aren’t alone. They’re seen. Understood. Our very own  Rebecca J. Gomez  accomplishes this flawlessly in Mari in the Margins , her new middle grade novel in verse, published by Bandersnatch Books. It releases May 14 th !  Here’s a snippet about the novel, which you’ll surely want to READ:   For Marivel Jiménez, life in her big family is full of chaos. Feeling overlooked by her parents and overshadowed by her siblings is frustrating, and it's even worse to have the constant attention of her annoying, mischievous three-year-old sister, Susana.  Caught between her need to be noticed and her dream of having time to herself, Marivel pours herself into poetry and, eventually, art journaling. When she hears of a school-wide poetry contest, she sees winning as a chance to escape the margins of her family and finally be seen. Doesn’t that sound amazing? That’s because it is. I was honored to read the book ahead of its release—and

Poetry Challenge Week Two: Persona Poems

It’s Week TWO of the Weekly Poetry Challenge, and this week we are challenging you to write a persona poem. A persona poem is a poem you write while taking on the persona of another person (or animal or object). The idea is to pretend to be that person or thing and write from that perspective. Here is a persona poem I wrote from the perspective of my dog:

Discriminating Taste 

I scorned my breakfast this morning,
those dried bits of hard food you fill my bowl with.
I may snack on them later
if I’m hungry enough
but I’d rather wait until dinner
when I know you’ll stir in a spoon of gravy
or add some bits of chopped up beef fat
like sprinkles on a sundae.
The best part of my day.
Except for the walk after mealtime, maybe.

© 2024 Rebecca J. Gomez

A persona poem doesn’t have a lot of rules. It’s written in first person, can take just about any form, and it can rhyme or not. Sometimes called a mask poem, this type of poem is great as spoken poetry, and it does not include dialogue. Think of it as a speech in the form of a poem! Imagine writing a speech while pretending you’re a firefighter or a parrot. What would either of those voices have to say?

Read some persona poems!

  • Big Brown Moose from Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen. Read the poem and a review for the book at this post over at Picture Book Builders.

  • Hello, I’m Here! by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder. This is a picture book told from the perspective of a sandhill crane chick. The whole book is written as a persona poem!

  • Here’s a great post about persona poems at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Write a persona poem.

The first step in writing a persona poem is deciding who or what you want to be. You might imagine you are a famous person, an insect, or one of your pets. Once you’ve decided, remember these tips:

  • Your poem can rhyme, but it doesn’t have to.

  • Write in first person, using the pronouns “I, me, my, mine” etc.

  • Choosing a subject you know well will make it easier to write your poem.

  • Have fun, and don’t be upset if you struggle a little bit!

If you write a persona poem, let us know about it! You can share it in the comments, email it to us (readdiscussdo @ gmail dot com), or tag us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #RDDPoetryChallenge when sharing your poem on social media.