lesson plan

Teach This Poem: "Blackberry Eating" by Galway Kinnell

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Produced for K-12 educators, Teach This Poem features one poem a week from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. The series is written by our Educator in Residence, Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, and is available for free via email.

Featured Poem

Classroom Activities

Resource: Enough fresh blackberries so that each student in your class can have one or two.

  1. Tell your students that the poet Galway Kinnell liked to use words that he said had “mouth feel.” Give your students one or two blackberries to eat slowly. Have them think of words that describe what it feels like to eat the berries, paying close attention to the words that sound like what it feels like to eat them. Ask them to quickly write down their words.
  2. Project the poem “Blackberry Eating” in front of the class. Ask your students to read it twice silently. As they read it the second time, have them write down the words and phrases in the poem that jump out at them.
  3. Ask one of your students to read the poem aloud to the class. Ask the listening students to write down additional words and phrases that jump out at them. Repeat this process with a second student reading aloud to the class.
  4. Ask your students to gather in small groups and share their lists of words with one another. Which of their words have “mouth feel”? Which of the words they wrote down in Activity 1 have “mouth feel”?
  5. Ask your students to write a paragraph or poem about a favorite food using words that have “mouth feel” to describe the eating experience.
  6. Ask for volunteers to share their work (and maybe their food) with the class.