Episode 28 | Quién Soy Yo (Who Am I) w/ Ummi Modeste

If you dig poetry then you are in for a treat! This is part one of a 3-part poetry series w/ author Ummi Modeste. In this episode, Ummi reads the poem Quien Soy Yo from her book Because I Knew. We then had the opportunity to analyze the poem and discuss ways to apply it in the classroom.

R. Ummi Modeste is a native of Brooklyn, NY where she attended and graduated from the New York City Public School System. She retired from that same school system in 2021, after nearly 30 years of service as a teacher and college and career advisor at City-As-School High School, a unique public school in Manhattan. Ummi holds one bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, another from the State University of NY Empire State College in Human Relations: American Sign Language, and a Master’s degree in Special Education from Hunter College of the City of New York. Ummi is the mother of Adunni and second mom to Tarence, mom-in-law to Jean-Marie, and Grammie to Nasir and Skyler. No matter how old she gets, she’ll always be “Baby Sis” to her brothers, Leon and Keith.

Ummi is an active member of the Breadloaf Teacher Network, an international group of teachers who strive to provide innovative and engaging ways for their students to become stronger readers and writers. Every summer, she is one of the facilitators of the Andover Bread Loaf Writing Workshop (ABL), a two-week professional development workshop held in Andover, MA that focuses on social justice work through literacy. ABL provides professional development for teachers and others who work with youth, as well as workshops for students in cities all over the US. ABL has also held international conferences for teachers and students in Karachi, Pakistan; Nairobi, Kenya and Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (For more information about ABL, here).

A founding member of the former East Brooklyn Poets, Ummi seeks to create opportunities for herself and her friends to grow in their own creativity and share it with others. EBP performed in Brooklyn, Harlem, Lawrence and Andover, MA, and its members continue to facilitate workshops, coach other performers and work with young writers. She gives honor to the memory of fellow founding members and dear friends, Tray Jackson and Keith “Just Sayin” Richards.

Upon retiring, Ummi fulfilled a long-held dream of owning a home in a quieter place, and she now happily resides in Laurel, MD, where she reads and writes every day, with the sun streaming through her kitchen window.

You may connect with Ummi for speaking engagements, poetry readings and to facilitate workshops at: [email protected] or [email protected].

To purchase Because I Knew, go to the online bookstore at thebookpatch.com and search “Because I Knew”.

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