Mediating Poetry in the ESL Classroom: A Study of Swedish ESL Textbooks for Junior High School

Elin Käck


This article situates the ESL textbook within current scholarship on intermediality and multimodality and, with poetry as the main focus, considers how the media ecology within the covers of the ESL textbook, as well as that implied outside those covers, e.g. web pages, workbooks, audio files and so on, affects the literary text. This qualitative study of how poetry figures in the Swedish ESL textbook series Wings 7, 8, and 9 analyses the case of Emily Dickinson’s poem “I heard a Fly buzz – when I died,” included in Wings 9, at length to uncover the rich textual web of which a poem in a textbook forms part, as well as the resources it asks learners to mobilize in the emergent event of classroom learning.

The inclusion of poems in ESL textbooks typically requires no editorial interventions in terms of abridgement, which makes this genre useful for considering the implications of the medium on the text itself. Poems in ESL textbooks continuously interact with other texts, themes, images and tasks within the textbook. Thus, the medium of the textbook has a transformative effect on the original literary texts it comprises.



poetry; ESL; textbook; intermedial; multimodal; literary studies

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ISSN: 2000-3560