Teach This Poem, though developed with a classroom in mind, can be easily adapted for remote-learning, hybrid-learning models, or in-person classes. Please see our suggestions for how to adapt this lesson for remote or blended learning. We have also noted suggestions when applicable and will continue to add to these suggestions online.
Choose one of these love letters between the Brownings to read with a partner or small group.
The following activities and questions are designed to help your students use their noticing skills to move through the poem and develop their thinking about its meaning with confidence, using what they’ve noticed as evidence for their interpretations. Read more about the framework upon which these activities are based.
Warm-up: Choose one of these love letters between the Brownings to read with a partner or small group. What do you notice about these letters? How might they be the same or different from a modern-day, long-distance relationship?
Before Reading the Poem (think-pair-share): What does it mean to “FaceTime?”
Reading the Poem: Now, read the poem “Like an Auto-Tune of Authentic Love” by Carmen Giménez Smith silently. What do you notice about the poem? Annotate any words or phrases that stand out to you or any questions you might have.
Listening to the Poem (enlist two volunteers to read the poem aloud): Listen as the poem is read aloud twice, and write down any additional words and phrases that stand out to you. Or, you can opt to listen to the poem.
Small-group Discussion: Share what you noticed in the poem with a small group of students. Based on the details you just shared with your small group and the resources from the beginning of class, how would you describe the relationship between the speaker and the “you” in the poem? How does technology, especially FaceTime, impact their relationship? How does the relationship in the poem compare to the relationship in the letters? How might technology, or the lack thereof, impact relationships?
Whole-class Discussion: What do you think of these lines: “distance makes my heart go farther / into the terrain of heartfelt” and “Surprising love can happen at any part of one’s life / like the pixels deciding when to flicker into bursts?” Is long-distance love really possible?
Extension for Grades 7-8: What might the beloved say in response to this poem? Write it.
- Extension for Grades 9-12: Read a selection of contemporary love poems. Write a one-act play that embodies long distance love.
“Elizabeth and Robert, who was six years her junior, exchanged 574 letters over the next twenty months. Immortalized in 1930 in the play The Barretts of Wimpole Street by Rudolf Besier (1878-1942), their romance was bitterly opposed by her father, who did not want any of his children to marry.” Read more about Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning.
This week’s poetic term is alliteration, or the repetition of consonant sounds, particularly at the beginning of words. Read more.