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

Atsushi Iida
Gunma University
Keywords: Second language poetry writing, haiku, identity, study abroad experience, EFL learners


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 own in 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.