“Peaches” by Adrienne Su
It is very common in the United States, when meeting a new person to ask them, “Where are you from originally?” In her poem “Peaches,” Adrienne Su, a Chinese American who grew up in the state of Georgia, sheds light on the complexity of answering that question as someone who feels both “stranger and native.” This poem reflects upon the complicated identities many Americans grapple with—a critical factor to consider as our nation continues to evolve into a 21st-century American community characterized by wide diversity.
The following sequence of activities is designed to help students think about the connections between food and identity that Adrienne Su evokes in her poem. This lesson plan provides a sequence of activities that you can use with your students before, during, and after reading “Peaches.” Use the whole sequence, or any of the activities, to help learners enter, experience, and explore the meaning of the poem. Feel free to adjust each activity to meet the needs of your particular students. This lesson can be adapted for secondary students in grades 6–12.
This lesson is an adaptation of an original lesson by the Academy of American Poets' Educator in Residence, Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, as part of the series "Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community."
How are we connected to the past?
What role does food play in building and celebrating culture?
How is the experience of listening to a poem different from reading a poem?
Students will identify how food is representative of culture in different ways and express that through original poetry.
Students will explore a poet’s use of sensory imagery and rhyme scheme to bring a poem to life.
Students will empathize with Americans whose families have come to this country as immigrants and identify as both “stranger and native.”
Students will generate their own questions to further explore the meaning of the poem.