Persona Poems, Monologue Poems

Persona Poems, Monologue Poems

  • offer a student-centered approach to learning.
  • lend themselves to performance and presentation.
  • are handy content memorization tools.
  • reinforce audience awareness.
  • place young perf-poets in the role of teacher by intrinsically asking, “What do I want my audience to learn?”
  • help students to organize, prioritize, and categorize content.
  • require close reading of any primary texts.
  • encourage the use of specialized vocabulary in context.
  • encourage text-to-self connections.
  • promote independent, supplementary research.
  • are useful across the curriculum.
  • provide a fun, engaging, and authentic way to assess learning.

Private Patrick Gass, the Carpenter, Makes His Case to Lewis and Clark

Welcome to Fort Kaskaskia, Sirs.
I know that you’ve had a rough journey thus far,
and I know that you have plenty soldiers to see
so I thank you for taking the time to see me.
Now Captain Bissell claims he can’t spare me
but with all due respect I’d like to plead my case.

Do I have any special skills?

Well, I’m a right handy carpenter.
With the proper tools and a few hands
I can clear you a field of trees in a week
and build you a cabin to boot.
Give me a broadax and a hewing dog
and I’ll square the logs if you choose.
Give me a froe
and I’ll build you a clapboard roof.
Give me a wedge and a maul
and I’ll split a hundred rails in a day.
I can saddle notch a log
or make a saddle for your horse.
Or a bed for to lay on or a bench for to sit on.
I know the ins and outs of raising a fort
which I know you’ll be needin’ up north
and with your permission, sirs, I’ve an idea or two
to expand the capabilities of your keelboat.
I can row and push a setting pole.
I can shoot a gun and throw a hawk.
I can swim like a fish. I can run like the devil.
I’m strong and I’m fit.
I’m a soldier’s soldier, Sirs.
I never shirk and I do my work.
And I do the other feller’s too.

What’s that? Why do I want to join?

I mainly . . . Mainly, I want to see the trees.

from New Found Land: Lewis and Clark’s Voyage of Discovery by Allan Wolf.
Candlewick Press (Cambridge, 2004), pp 77-78.