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Younger Readers: Poems for Fun
All Readers: Poems about Youth Issues DISCUSSION GUIDE
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  The discussion guide below is divided into two parts: (1) IMITATION and (2) DISCUSSION exercises. Teachers can use the imitation exercises to encourage students to write their own poems or stories. The discussion exercises are intended to spark students to think about applying the ideas in the poems to their own lives.  
  70. The Real Deal For the Love of Life  
Write a poem (or story) about your own experiences, heartbreaks, and mistakes in love. What have you learned about yourself, and about personal responsibility?

The discussion can center around the following questions: What is love? What is passion? Are they the same thing? What is the distinction, or difference, between them? Why do we value the impulsive, instead of the deliberative, in love? The most productive way to approach these questions may be to focus on how these questions are engaged in a love story from a novel, short story, poem, play, or film.

  75. A Shout Out About a Way Out – HIV For the Love of Life  
Students can write their own poems about protecting themselves from HIV. Try to be specific, and detail what situations might occur where risky behavior might occur. Write about, as well, what it means to have “safe” sex.

This poem and the previous one are about love, sex, risk, and responsibility. Students can discuss how to begin to re-think what they mean by the word “love,” so that they can love responsibility, and minimize risks to their health, lives, and futures. Discussion can focus on the long-term couples students know in their lives (either real couples—relatives or neighbors, for instance—or people in stories), and inquire into what qualities these couples have that make their relationships last.