Dear Elizabeth Alexander,

My name is Hudson, and I am in 6th grade. I picked your poem “Tending” because I enjoyed listening to your poem, and how it seemed to explain all the things a child goes through while growing older and how one thing can tend to your stressed, growing brain, and how love can tend to your pain while it can also enforce the pain. I also liked it because the way you spoke painted the picture perfectly, and I could easily imagine what the experience must’ve felt like, sounded like, even looked like. I also liked the use of the metaphors, for example, “love a silent, mammoth thing / that overwhelmed me, that kept me awake…” That really gave me a taste of what love does to people, because it could be a big, friendly mammoth that treats you well, or it could turn into a savage beast that tries to tear you to pieces; therefore you have to run from it. Another poetic device i liked was the line “and prepare a hot meal / that can take us anywhere, and onward.” Because it showed that the grandfather's love for them goes beyond earth itself, that it would tend to their aching bodies.

Another reason I chose your poem was because it felt like the poem was speaking to me, even though my life was nothing like the life that you described. It really felt like you were speaking to me, even though you were just speaking to the camera. Though, the emotional effects also hit me a little bit because my grandfather died a day before my birthday and the first day of school from cancer. Your poem reminded me of how he was so kind and loving, that when kids called him “Santa” because of his beard he would smile and say, “What would you like for Christmas?”

But your poem also made me think of the meaning of the poem, which I think is about your life in the city with your grandfather and brother, and how it felt when you started to grow more, and your experience of it.

Yet another reason I chose your poem was because it really painted the picture of what happened, I really felt like I could see out of the main perspectives eyes, and I really did feel connected. My eyes felt like they had seen through another person’s eyes.

One question I have, though is what did it feel like to be younger? And another question would be, what did it feel like to read your poem again? I ask these questions because I have felt the pain of growing, and the pain is only beginning for me, so I would like to learn from someone who has felt maybe even more pain than me, because of where you lived. I too, have not been able to sleep sometimes because of the pain of growing. I also have one more question, which is: why did you choose to read this poem, of all the poems? I’m just wondering, because it was a really good poem in my opinion, and I would just like to know why you chose this poem in particular.

Other than that, I loved your poem and I will definitely look at more of them. You have great writing skills, and your poem really pulled me in asking for more.  

Thank you so much for listening!


Grade 6
Sacramento, California

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