Teach This Poem is a weekly series featuring a poem from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help K-12 teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom.

Featured Poem

Related Resource

Image removed.

Anna May Wong Certificate of Identity, August 18, 1924, National Archives at San Francisco (54099). 

Classroom Activities

  1. Warm-up: (whip around) What do you think that the word exclusion means? How and why might people be excluded? 

  2. Before Reading the Poem: (noticing) Look at the image of Anna May Wong’s identification card here. What do you notice? Look again closely. What else do you notice? What words can you make out? 

  3. Reading the Poem: Read the poem “Resurrection” by Sally Wen Mao silently. What do you notice about the poem? Annotate for any words or phrases that stand out to you or any questions you might have.

  4. Listening to the Poem: Listen as the poem is read aloud twice, once by a student and once by the poet. Write down any additional words and phrases that stand out to you. Call back the lines that you like by saying these lines aloud with a small group.

  5. Small-group Discussion: Share what you noticed in the poem with your small group. After reading the poem, what do you think was the purpose of the identification card you viewed at the beginning of class? 

  6. Whole-class Discussion: (Teachers, you may wish to provide background information on The Chinese Exclusion Act by viewing portions of this PBS and Center for Asian American Media documentary here.) How might hunger connect to both the speaker and Anna May Wong? How might the title, “Resurrection,” connect to the poem? 

  7. Extension for Grades 7-8: In honor of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, pick your favorite poem by an Asian/Pacific American poet from this selection. Lead your class in a reading of the poem. 

  8. Extension for Grades 9-12: In honor of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, pick an Asian/Pacific American poet to read and research. Write an imitation of your favorite poem by this poet. Or, watch the documentary “The Chinese Exclusion Act” and write an 0p-ed about the negative effects of exclusion. 

More Context for Teachers

In his essay “Making the Case for Asian American Poetry,” Timothy Liu writes, “We should not shy away from giving poetry a central place in the Asian American literature classroom—and, indeed, that we should not shy away from giving Asian American poetry a central place in the way we teach literature more generally. Rather than adopting a defensive position in which we read a few token poems that do the same kind of narrative work that stories and novels do, we should expose students to the most exciting and exploratory work.”