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PIZZAZ has been an Online Resource since 1995 from Leslie Opp-Beckman
For Scribblers and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)


Description for Persona Poem: A structured 8-line poem, biographical in nature. Adapted with permissiom from the materials of June B. White.

ESOL student level:
These activities scale well to beginner through advanced level proficiency and can be used with all ages.

For more activities:
Return to PIZZAZ!

Warm-Up Activities

Persona-poems make a good in-class writing assignment at the beginning of the term when students are just getting acquainted with each other. Students bring in photos or small momentos, collect pictures from magazines, and/or draw their own pictures of things which are self-representative. This becomes the basis for their poem and follow-up collage.


  1. In small groups or together as a class, look at the example poem about "Kate Thompson" and discuss the structure of the eight lines. What parts of speech or groupings of words form each line?

      Kate Thompson = title
      By Leslie Opp-Beckman = name of the author of the poem
    Line 1: Kate... = first name/nickname of the person in the poem
    Line 2: tall, energetic, happy, intelligent = 4 adjectives which describe the person
    Line 3: mother of Danny = X of Y formula, about an important relationship to the person
    Line 4: who loves music, books, and fresh air = 3 things s/he loves
    Line 5: who is afraid of President Bush, spiders, and heights = 3 things that scare her/him
    Line 6: who wants to see Latin America, the end of poverty, and summer = 3 things s/he wants to see
    Line 7: resident of this moment = resident of...a place or time or concept
    Line 8: ...Thompson. = last name of the person in the poem

  2. Using the template (below), students can work alone and write about themselves, or work in pairs and write about their partners.


Justify right, center or left for different effects.

Title of Poem:
Author's Name:

___________________ .....

___________________, ___________________, ___________________, ___________________

___________________ of ___________________

who loves ___________________, ___________________ and ___________________

who is afraid of ___________________, _______________ and ___________________

who wants to see ___________________, _____________ and ___________________

resident of ______________________________________

..... ___________________.

Follow-Up Activities (or Assessment)

Students finish their collages, including the poem. Persona-poems make good wall posters and/or a class anthology.

© 2010, Leslie Opp-Beckman, Ph.D., Distance Education Coordinator and ESOL Instructor
Email: leslieob@uoregon.edu
URL: http://www.uoregon.edu/~leslieob/
5212 University of Oregon, Linguistics Department, American English Institute Eugene, Oregon 97403-5212 USA
Permission to copy and distribute for educational, non-profit use only.
This page last updated: 24 March 2010
University of Oregon