Titanic Remembers April 16, 1912

Students will learn about point of view and personification in this powerful poem about the sinking of the Titanic.

By Irene Latham
From the September 2017 Issue

Learning Objective: Students will learn about point of view and personification in this powerful poem about the sinking of the Titanic.

Topic: History,
Audio ()
Activities (3)
Answer Key (1)
Audio ()
Activities (3) Download All Activities
Answer Key (1)
Can't-Miss Teaching Extras
Titanic Today

Your students will be fascinated to see what the wreck of the Titanic looks like today, over 100 years since it sank. This video shows footage shot at a expedition to the wreck. We recommend starting at the 0:53 second mark, as the first minute is full of scientific jargon that will go over kids’ heads. Be sure to pre-screen it to make sure it won’t be too scary for your students!

A Ship in the First Person

We asked poet Irene Latham why she wrote her poem from the perspective of the ship itself. You can share her response with your students: “One of the challenges when writing about something about which much has already been written, like the Titanic, is to find a fresh angle from which to approach the subject. So I started thinking about perspective – whose perspective had been overlooked in previous stories about Titanic?  What voice could I assume in my poem? The answer became almost instantly obvious. BE the ship! So that's what I did. And it gave me an opportunity to use imagination and empathy, two of a poet's best tools.”


Some of your eagle-eyed students might have noticed that the date in the title of the poem is not the date the Titanic actually sank. Ask: Thinking about what poet Irene Latham said above, why do you think she made that choice?

More About the Article

Key Skills

point of view, personification, vocabulary, author’s craft, connecting texts

Step-by-Step Lesson Plan


Set a Purpose for Reading (25 minutes)

First, read the nonfiction feature on pages 4-9 in this issue.

Ask: Based on the title of this poem and the photograph that goes along with it, how is this poem related to the nonfiction article?

Read aloud the Point of View bubble for the class.

Ask a student to read the Personification bubble aloud and prepare the class to look for examples of personification in the poem.

Project or distribute the vocabulary activity and discuss it as a class. 


Read the poem for the class or play our audio version.

Project or distribute the close-reading and critical-thinking questions and discuss them as a class.

Close-Reading and Critical-Thinking Questions (15 minutes)

  • Who or what is speaking in this poem? Why do you think the poet wrote it this way? (point of view, author’s craft) The poem is told from the point of view of the Titanic. Answers will vary but may include that it gives a voice to the Titanic, and it makes the poem more emotional.
  • What does the ship do in this poem that makes it seem like a person? (personification) The ship is shown to be sad about its failure, and it is shown hiding and mourning the lives lost when it sank.
  • How does this poem connect to the nonfiction in this issue? How did it help you understand the sinking of the Titanic? (connecting texts) The poem and the nonfiction are both about the Titanic. Answers will vary but may include that the poem offers a new way of looking at the disaster.