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.
Trikosko, Marion S, photographer. Grocery store signs about shopping bags. Safeway & Grand Union., 1974. February 6. Photograph.
Warm-up: Answer this question on the board: What does it mean to be old? (Teachers, if you do not have a set-up that allows students to write directly on the board, ask this question as a whip-around question and record student responses on the board.) After all students have responded, what answers stand out the most? Why?
Before Reading the Poem: Look closely at the image of the photograph of a grocery store in 1974. What stands out to you in the photo? Why? Look again. Who do you see? What’s happening in the image? How do you know?
Reading the Poem: Read the poem “Senior Discount” by Ali Liebegott 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.
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 partner.
Small-group Discussion: Share what you noticed in the poem with your partner and another pair of students. How does the poet describe old age? How does this compare or contrast with your class discussion about what it means to be old?
Whole-class Discussion: What is the significance of the title? How might the poem be different without this title? How is love expressed in the poem?
Extension for Grades 7-8: Discuss with a partner how this might be different if the speaker and the beloved in the poem were not imagined as old but as still young. Rewrite the poem with younger characters. Or, continue reading poets who identify as LGBTQIA+ here and select your favorite poem. create a classroom bulletin board of important LGBTQIA+ poets and include your favorite poems.
Extension for Grades 9-12: In honor of Pride Month, join with a partner and research a seminal figure in LGBTQIA+ history and create a presentation about this person’s life and accomplishments. Share your presentations with your class.
More Context for Teachers
In The Letter Q, Eileen Myles writes to her teenage self, “The world is open to you, unbelievably. You are great, funny, beautiful, and completely wild. And you are already big enough and strong enough and wise enough to make a go in it and become part of its story. So start talking now. Meet yourself. Meet the people. And if they can't listen to you and can't hold your attention, then go talk to someone else. And someone else again. You'll find the right ones.” Read several more letters from queer poets to their younger selves.