Introduction to the Topic
This Ebook lesson is centered on the poem “Remedios y Rarezas” from the poetry book They Call Me Güero by David Bowles. It is intended for a 9th grade class audience.
Before we get into the book and poem, let us establish some definitions of possibly unfamiliar words.
*Güero: a person with pale skin
*Rarezas: weird things
*Senryu: a 3-line unrhymed Japanese poem structurally similar to haiku but treating human nature usually in an ironic way
*Superstition: a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.
“Remedios y Rarezas” by David Bowles
Me and los Bobbys
compare all the strange beliefs
our families share.
Red rags around chair legs
so tricky little devils
don’t make moms forget.
If you hiccup
Abuelita licks a red thread,
sticks it to your forehead.
Fore the worst migraines,
rolling an egg on your head
takes away the pain.
Sweep a girl’s feet
and she’ll never get married–
my sister grabs the broom!
When nothing goes right,
bundles of burning sage
drive bad vibes away.
(to judge how much we drink)
must cure everything
At dinner tables,
you never pass the salt–
it’s just bad luck.
My tias’ purses
have never touched the floor
they think they’ll go broke.
I wore red chones
on New Year’s– a gift from Mom.
Love was on its way!
Objectives for the lesson:
- Students will know the definition of Spanish words used in the book (Ex. “Güero, Remedios, Rarezas, etc.)
- Students will know the definition of Senryu and will be able to recognize this style of poetry
- Students will know the definition of superstitious
- Students will talk about themes such as family superstitions or traditions and be able to relate and connect their own to the poem
- Students will create their own senryu poem centered around a personal quirky family superstition/tradition and share them aloud to the class
Here is a quick video on Senryu poems.
- What are some typical superstitions held in American culture?
- What are some superstitions held in your family or culture (outside of American culture)?
- Do you relate to any of the superstitions mentioned in the poem?
- Do you think superstitions are real and meant to be taken seriously or do you think they are more silly or not meant to be taken seriously?
- How do superstitions and traditions relate to each other? What are similarities or differences between the two concepts?
- How does the style of the poem (senryu) impact the content of the poem?
Time to write your own senryu poem based off a personal quirky family superstition or tradition. After you are done writing, you will share your poem aloud to your table group.