Poetic identity in second language writing: Exploring an EFL learner's study abroad experience

The current study investigates the way in which an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) college student writes haiku - a three line Japanese poem with a specific number of syllables in each line in a second language (L2) to express his study abroad experience. This poetic inquiry which involved literary, linguistic, and content analyses of the collection of ten haiku poems written by a Myanmarese student documented some discursive identities in relation to his study abroad experience in Japan: a Myanmarese boy who struggled with his loneliness in Japan, a teenager who was challenged in making Japanese friends and tried to develop his friendships, an international student who explored a place of his ownin the society, and a college student who enjoyed his daily life with friends. This study illustrates the expressive ability of an EFL writer to communicate personal life stories through poetry writing. It also proposes the usage of poetry writing as a form of meaningful literacy learning in the EFL classroom from theoretical and methodological perspectives. © 2016 EJAL & the Authors. Published by Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics (EJAL). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY-NC-ND) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).


Bishop, W. (1997). Teaching lives. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.

Chamcharatsri, P. B. (2013a). Emotionality and second language writers: Expressing fear through narrative in Thai and in English. L2 Journal, 5(1), 59-75.

Chamcharatsri, P. B. (2013b). Poetry writing to express love in Thai and in English: A second language (L2) writing perspective. International Journal of Innovation in English Language Teaching, 2, 142-157.

Hanauer, D. I. (2004). Poetry and the meaning of life. Toronto, ON: Pippin.

Hanauer, D. I. (2010). Poetry as research: Exploring second language poetry writing. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Hanauer, D. I. (2012). Meaningful literacy: Writing poetry in the language classroom. Language Teaching, 45, 105-115. http://doi.org/ck442q

Hanauer, D. I. (2014). Appreciating the beauty of second language poetry writing. In D. Disney (Ed.), Exploring second language creative writing: Beyond babel (pp. 11-22). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Iida, A. (2008). Poetry writing as expressive pedagogy in an EFL context: Identifying possible assessment tools for haiku poetry in EFL freshman college writing. Assessing Writing 13, 171-179.

Iida, A. (2010). Developing voice by composing haiku: A social-expressivist approach for teaching haiku writing in EFL contexts. English Teaching Forum, 48, 28-34.

Iida, A. (2012). The value of poetry writing: Cross-genre literacy development in a second language. Scientific Study of Literature 2, 60-82. http://doi.org/bfdt

Iida, A. (2016). Exploring earthquake experiences: A study of second language learners' ability to express and communicate deeply traumatic events in poetic form. System, 57, 120-133. http://doi.org/bfdv

Iida, A. (in press). Expressing study abroad experiences in second language haiku writing: Theoretical and practical implications for teaching haiku composition in Asian EFL classrooms. In H. J. Widodo, A. S., Wood, D. Gupta, & W. Cheng (Eds.), Asian English language classrooms: Where theory and practice meet. New York: Routledge.

Ivanic, R. (1998). Writing and identity: The discoursal construction of identity in academic writing. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Kramsch, C. (2006). Preview Article: The multilingual subject. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 16(1), 97-110.

Langer, C. L., & Furman, R. (2004). Exploring identity and assimilation: Research and interpretive poems [19 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research 5(2), Art. 5, Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1QjW5Ex

Norton, B. (1997). Language, identity, and the ownership of English. TESOL Quarterly, 31, 409-429.

Norton, B., & McKinney, C. (2011). An identity approach to second language acquisition. In D. Atkinson (Ed.), Alternative approaches to second language acquisition (pp. 73-94). New York: Routledge.

Norton, B. (2013). Identity and language learning: Extending the conversation (2nd ed.). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Park, G. (2013). My autobiographical-poetic rendition: An inquiry into humanizing our teacher scholarship. L2 Journal, 5(1), 6-18.

Pavlenko, A. (2001). "In the world of the tradition, I was unimagined": Negotiation of identities in cross-cultural autobiographies. The International Journal of Bilingualism, 5, 317-344.

Pavlenko, A. (2007). Autobiographic narratives as data in applied linguistics. Applied Linguistics, 28, 163-188.

Sky Hiltunen, S. M. (2005). Country Haiku from Finland: Haiku meditation therapy for selfhealing. Journal of Poetry Therapy, 18(2), 85-95.

Spiro, J. (2014). Learner and writer voices: Learners as writers and the search for authorial voice. In D. Disney (Ed.), Exploring second language creative writing: Beyond babel (pp. 23- 40). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kaynak Göster