Adding Latinx Poetry to Your Curriculum


January 27, 2023


In addition to exploring the work of many of today’s most notable poets, incorporating Latinx poetry into your curriculum can help students explore the stories of immigrant workers. The majority of these poets work in urban settings, and many focus on the lives of working immigrants in their own words. This type of literature can be an ode to the hard work of these individuals, who often go unseen.

Learning about poetry

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Sharing the company of other Latinx poets

Latinx poetry has a huge role in American poetry. The poems of ethnic writers of color engage with literary traditions, oral history, and history. They often deal with urgent issues of our day, such as immigration and inequality.

Latinx literature is also about double attachments to language and identity. Many contemporary works address issues of racism, body image, and immigration, as well as cultural heritage. However, many works of literature still omit the contributions of Latinx authors. In order to rectify this problem, educators must bring more of these works into classrooms.

Latinx poetry is available in community libraries, bookstores, and school libraries. There are a variety of forms, including sestina, villanelle, and pantoum. It is a great entry point for students to explore Hispanic culture and history.

Latinx poets also play with form in unique ways. Some have written their poems in Portuguese, Nahuatl, or Afro-Latinx. These forms are not always easily accessible in bookstores or libraries.

Latinx poets’ work tends to be more urban

Latino poetry has a long history in the United States, dating back to at least the 1700s. The latest incarnation of the art form has the requisite racial and socioeconomic diversity. Some of the better-known names include the likes of Martin Espada, Javier Garcia, Jose Antonio de la Paz, and the illustrious Angels of Bread poets. Many of these writers are published in small presses.

A recent spike in Latino literature has its roots in the Civil mentioned above Rights movement of the 1960s. During this time, many writers of color found their voices heard, and the mainstream embraced some. This has led to a lessening of disparities in class interests and the subsequent emergence of an edgy new school of thought. One of the most important aspects of the post-World War II era is that the United States is home to more than just Mexicans and Puerto Ricans.

Latinx poets’ work 

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we take time to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of our Latinx heritage and explore the stories of our past, present, and future. One way to do this is to learn more about Latinx poets, whose work is an ode to immigrant workers who largely go unseen.

Latinx poetry uses form, language, history, and documentary to tell stories that open a window to a Latinx perspective. These voices are diverse, but each of their works engages in social justice issues.

In this poem, Bobby LeFabre takes on the topic of the invisible workforce. He uses metaphors to highlight its importance and offers commentary on language. It would make a good poem for a coming-of-age unit or classroom discussion about identity.

The poem was published in the digital publication House Party #14 and was first performed in a performance series at the Poetry Project. This poem is a wonderful example of how spoken word can be used to elevate a community.