Pizza Poetry Blog Post #5: Awake At Night

Teachers: Want to incorporate Pizza Poetry into your classroom, but not sure where to get started? From now until April 7th, we'll be posting bi-weekly poetry writing prompts here on our blog! Remember, anyone ages 6-18 in Greater New Orleans can submit poetry to be published on a pizza box. And don't forget: the deadline to submit poetry is April 7th.

Lesson Plan: Awake at Night (7th-12th grade)

Hanging Fire

I am fourteen
and my skin has betrayed me   
the boy I cannot live without   
still sucks his thumb
in secret
how come my knees are
always so ashy
what if I die
before morning
and momma's in the bedroom   
with the door closed.

I have to learn how to dance   
in time for the next party   
my room is too small for me   
suppose I die before graduation   
they will sing sad melodies   
but finally
tell the truth about me
There is nothing I want to do   
and too much
that has to be done
and momma's in the bedroom   
with the door closed.

Nobody even stops to think   
about my side of it
I should have been on Math Team   
my marks were better than his   
why do I have to be
the one
wearing braces
I have nothing to wear tomorrow   
will I live long enough
to grow up
and momma's in the bedroom   
with the door closed.

  1. Read Hanging Fire together as a class. Then ask students to read the poem silently a couple more times.

  2. Brainstorm both concrete and abstract things that keep students awake at night worrying. Encourage them to list things that might seem trivial (how come my knees are always so ashy) to grander things (will I live long enough to grow up?)

    Depending on the comfort level and culture of the classroom, this brainstorm might be more fruitful if done individually.
  3. Now encourage students to write their own poems modeled after Hanging Fire.












Email us at to let us know how the workshop went, and submit your students' poems. Are you especially proud of any of the poems? Let us know and we'll feature them on this blog! Click here to learn more about the Pizza Poetry Project.