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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

HOMECOMING, by                 Poet's Biography


"Homecoming" is a poem by Julia Alvarez that explores the themes of identity, belonging, and the immigrant experience. The poem was first published in 1984 as part of her collection "Homecoming."


The poem is narrated by the speaker, who reflects on the experience of returning to her homeland after being away for many years. The speaker describes the various sights and sounds of her home, and the ways in which they evoke memories and emotions.

As the poem progresses, the speaker contemplates the complexities of the immigrant experience, including the challenges of reconciling one's new identity with the cultural heritage of one's homeland. The poem ultimately concludes with a sense of hope and possibility, as the speaker embraces both her past and her present and looks towards the future with renewed clarity and purpose.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: "Homecoming" is a free verse poem without a set rhyme or meter. The poem consists of three stanzas, each with varying line lengths and no consistent pattern of rhyme or rhythm. This form allows the poem to flow freely and naturally, with the language and imagery serving as the primary focus. The use of enjambment creates a sense of continuity and fluidity, reflecting the theme of homecoming and the journey of self-discovery.
  • Imagery: "sugar cane," "tobacco," "sea breeze"
  • Allusion: None
  • Metaphor: Homecoming as a journey of self-discovery and reconciliation
  • Symbolism: None


"Homecoming" is a moving and evocative poem that invites readers to reflect on the complex and often challenging experience of immigration and cultural identity. The poem challenges us to embrace both our past and our present, and to find hope and possibility in the journey of self-discovery.

Poem Snippet:

"My mother's voice sings in my ear,

'We are here. We are here.'"


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