The latest book by Jasmin Mendez, Night-Blooming Jasmin, is an intriguing collection of poems. It’s an excellent read, a wonderful tribute to the beauty of nature. I highly recommend it. If you’re a fan of poetry, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this book.
Jasmin Mendez: Book review of Night-Blooming Jasmine
Jasmin Mendez is an award-winning author, playwright, translator, poet, educator, and community organizer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
Her debut novel, Island of Dreams, was named the Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book at the 2015 International Latino Book Awards. Currently, she lives in Houston, Texas.
Mendez is also co-founder of Tintero Projects, a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting Latinx writers in Houston.
In addition to writing, she is a performance poet, and a translator for The Houston Grand Opera. With her husband, Lupe Mendez, she manages two projects: Tintero Projects, and The Inkwell Podcast.
Mendez’s novel is divided into five sections. Each section focuses on a different aspect of the life of a Dominican-American. For instance, the “Mira Wiki” section is a list of notable facts pertaining to the life of a Dominican.
These include the location of the first Dominican American to be elected as mayor of San Antonio, the first Dominican American to teach English at the University of Texas, and the first to earn an MBA at the University of Houston.
Mendez’s book is also notable for being the first of its kind. It features a number of interesting techniques, including the use of a series of jigsaw puzzle pieces to illustrate the life of a Dominican.
Jasmin Mendez: From Page to Stage: Teaching Slam Poetry in the High School Classroom
Teaching slam poetry in the high school classroom can be an effective way to build confidence and foster creative expression. By preparing students for slams, you are setting them up to compete at a high level and develop an artistic voice.
In addition to teaching students to craft their poems for performance, you will need to help them develop their personal writing. Throughout the unit, you will want to encourage peer sharing and modeling of feedback. Using models like this will build students’ confidence and allow them to receive feedback in a student-friendly way.
Tim and Rochelle, his co-teachers, often engaged in conversations about pedagogical choices and structural features of the unit. For example, they dramatized the tension between language and audience expectations.
This created an alternative to authoritative discourse and helped students understand the importance of ongoing dialogue.
Both Rochelle and Tim worked to create an open space for students’ poetic expression. Students often wrote poems on topics they were passionate about. Some of them even added to their initial ideas. During their workshop, they annotated their drafts and discussed them orally.
When the unit concluded, students performed their poems in front of an audience. Performing in front of a live audience is an important part of slam poetry.